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Opera Workshop: Three Rare Opportunities Rolled into One

The latest opera workshop offers chance to hear a seldom-performed Mozart opera, La Finta Giardiniera (The Pretend Garden Girl), an unusual blend of  serious and farcical operatic work and two other rare opportunities.

  • A chance to hear this opera in Italian
  • A chance to see the show conducted by an accomplished female Italian opera director, guest conductor Nicoletta Conti.

Like other early Mozart operas, La Finta Giardiniera is difficult to sing; though the young composer could imagine melodies, he was not as familiar with the limitations of the voice as an instrument, according to Guenko Guechev, chair of the voice department and opera studio director at the Mary Pappert School of Music.  As a result, this opera is rarely performed.

When it is staged, the opera revolving around unrequited love and assumed identities is usually performed in German. Mozart wrote two versions of the opera, the first in Italian and the second in German. The Italian version was lost for years and recovered only in 1979 in Czechoslovakia.

Having this distinctive work led by a female Italian conductor makes the performances even more special. Conti has risen to prominence in her field, which is especially male-dominated in Italy. Her repertoire includes Mozart as well as Italian opera greats Puccini, Verdi and Leoncavallo. Conti, an award-winning conductor, has performed with the Orchestra Filarmonica Italiana, Orchestra Verdi of Milano, Tokyo Philharmonic and many other orchestras across Europe and in Japan.

The show, with Sidney Harth, director laureate, will be presented at 8 p.m. Friday, April 24, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 26, at Carnegie Music Hall in Carnegie. Suggested donation is $10. A reception with the cast will follow the Sunday performance.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.