BW Opera’s La Finta Giardiniera Well Recieved


Caitlin Schoemaker ‘18

The Cast of La finta giardiniera Lost in the Woods, losing Their Sanity.

Caitlin Sukalac, Features Editor

Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Students stepped up to the  the challenge of this year’s spring opera, La Finta Giardiniera,-by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
“The process was long and grueling.Auditions were held last April, and we and five weeks of lessons in Italian diction.  This transpired during the first semester, and the opera was staged for a full seven weeks,” junior Roxy Callan, who played Sandria, said.
La Finta Giardiniera, which when translated means “Garden Girl In Disguise”, is an Italian opera that has comedy and mad romance, with an added bit of insanity.  The show was double cast with four performances, which were staged in the John Patrick Theatre. The opera was directed by BW faculty member Benjamin Wayne Smith. Clinton Ryan Smith conducted the orchestra.
One of the main characters, Marchioness Violante Onesti, disguises herself as Sandria, a gardener. Onesti is keeping a secret from everyone. She had been the fiancée of Count Belfiore, but he stabbed her after an argument and left her for dead. She is now working with her own servant, disguised as a gardener, and living on the estate of the mayor.
Count Belfiore, believing Violante is dead, becomes engaged to the mayor’s niece who is named Arminda. The twist in the plot is that the mayor becomes enthralled with Sandria( who is actually Onesti) and is head over heels in love with her.
After a little bit of operatic madness and a night in the woods Count Belfiore and Violante recognize each other and remember how much they were in love.
In the end, the true lovers are united as everyone regains sanity and peace is restored. The couples all find love and get married.
“Without a doubt, my favorite part of the opera would have to be the “mad” scenes that my character, Contino Belfiore, experiences.”  junior vocal performance major, Josue Brizuela ,explained, “These few moments in the show allowed me to act freely and expressed everything and anything that came to my mind, which made me to go completely wild on stage.”
The Conservatory students have been hard at work for months, learning how to speak Italian and translating it into English.
“The task of learning an opera role is tedious, and there is a lot about learning a role in another language that I know now. I’ve learned a lot about what not to do in my preparation that will make this process easier in the future,” revealed junior Rayna Brooks, who played Arminda.
All of the cast members look forward to participating in future productions. “La Finta Giardiniera was such a fun process. This is what we work towards in this major [vocal performance]: a chance to implement everything we study in so many facets on a daily basis, and it was so gratifying to get a taste of what I hope to do with my life,” stated Emily Warren, a junior who played Ramiro.
The cast included Alexis Gill, Dominic Argon, Mary Mondlock, Sarah Tyhurst, James Hevel, Sean Burns, Rayna Brooks, Roxy Callan, Alyssa Holley, and Sarah Nadler.
“The reason opera is still around today is because it perfectly explains the human condition. Every opera is relatable, no matter how crazy the plotline may be,” Callan concluded.