Having gone on an unscheduled rant about opera and higher education let us return to the performance of Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief by Point Loma Opera Theatre.
Director, Jordan Miller, placed the show in a radio studio setting. Menotti composed Old Maid for the radio so this made good sense. What was surprising was how effective this was.
Almost-inspired aria, "Steal me, sweet thief."
Miller himself played the role of radio host inserting narration and sound effects into the show. The four singers sat facing the audience, concert style, and stood behind microphone props to sing for the radio.
I found this radio style to be superior to any staging which the company may have been able to scrape together. There is more freedom in having a narrator describe the setting.
When the narrator gives us the setting then I see the whole thing as in a way which isn't dictated by a set designer. It helps when the narration is done well as was the case here.
So far as the music goes, the only section which approaches the level of inspired is the soprano aria "Steal me, sweet thief."
The rest is clever and cheeky but clearly not a tour de force of operetta.
There are some funny moments. How about this gem? "It's better to be murdered by a man then to live without one."
Point Loma Opera Theatre continues to produce shows, despite Point Loma Nazarene University slashing their budget. Old Maid closed April 13, but the group usually puts on a production or two over the summer. I'd recommend seeing one. You can find them on Facebook.