| Opera |

UH Launches the Opera Winter Season With Frau Margot and The Elixir of Love

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Unrequited love is a mainstay of opera. The heroines in Frau Margot and The Elixir of Love, presented by the University of Houston Moores School of Music experience potions, séances and more as each attempts to keep her suitors, romantic and intellectual, at bay.

Thomas Pasatieri's Frau Margot is a local premiere and the first performance of the work since its initial production in 2007 at the Fort Worth Opera. It tells the mysterious tale of a wealthy widow, Frau Margot, whose late husband was in the process of composing an opera when he died. Many musicians try to get permission to complete the work, but the scornful widow goes so far as to hold a séance to show them that her husband disapproves of the completion of his opera. Pasatieri's work is loosely based on the story of Austrian composer Alban Berg whose opera Lulu was unfinished at the time of his death. His wife did, in fact, hold séances to seek his counsel, just as Frau Margot does.

"The music, like the libretto, is reminiscent of an Alfred Hitchcock movie of the 1940's. It has a lush, lyric sound that we associate with scores by the great film composers of that era," said the Moores Opera Center's Artistic Director Buck Ross. "It's very accessible to a traditional opera audience."

This story continues on the next page.

Pasatieri is not a name known to most casual opera viewers and listeners, but the American composer studied at the Julliard School, where he was the first student to receive a doctoral degree, as well as the Manhattan School of Music and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory. For a while, he held the position of the artistic director of the Atlanta Opera."I've been wanting to bring Frau Margot to Houston since it premiered," said Ross, who is directing this production. "Houston Grand Opera's first new opera commission was The Seagull by Pasatieri back in 1974 and it seemed fitting to reintroduce the composer to Houston audiences."

Gaetano Donizetti's comedy The Elixir of Love returns to the University of Houston stage after an almost 30-year absence. Faculty member Lynda McKnight directs this show and chose to move the setting to a small Texas town. Nemorino, the tenor lead, is devastatingly in love (of course) with the soprano lead, Adina. His cause is hopeless, but with the help of a traveling snake oil salesman, he slips her a love potion and the hilarious revelry begins. Second year master's student Alexander Scheuermann is one of the singers playing the part of Nemorino.

"The show is funny, campy and heartrending all at the same time. I think almost everyone has experienced the heartache of unrequited love, and everyone has been an underdog at some point or another," Scheuermann said. "When Nemorino finally sings, 'M'ama, si m'ama!' in the famous aria ' Furtiva Lagrima, we get to experience the joy and triumph of winning the battle against all odds."

The Elixir of Love is sung in Italian; Frau Margot is sung in English. Both are accompanied by English surtitles. See The Elixir of Love at 7:30 p.m. January 31, February 1 and 2. See Frau Margot at 7:30 p.m. January 30 and 2 p.m. February 1. For information, call 713-743- 3313 or visit music.uh.edu/opera. $20.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.