January 12, 2024

Fête Galante never before fully staged in U.S.

Susquehanna University’s departments of music and theatre are partnering to present two one-act operas, Fête Galante and The False Harlequin, in the Degenstein Center Theater in the Charles B. Degenstein Campus Center. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, and Saturday, Feb. 24, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25.

Both operas will be performed with a company of 20 music and theatre students and a full orchestra.

“Susquehanna’s performance of Fête Galante constitutes the first-ever, fully staged production of the opera in the United States, while The False Harlequin is staged very rarely,” said David Steinau, associate professor of music at Susquehanna. “The opportunity to enjoy a fully staged opera — with sets and costumes — is rare for our area, and we are excited to offer our region this unique experience.”

Fête Galante, written in 1923 by British composer Ethel Smyth, and The False Harlequin, written in 1925 by Italian composer Gian Francesco Malipiero, are very different operas unified by the traditional Italian commedia dell’arte acting-troupe characters that populate both stories. Jealousy, intrigue and mistaken identities lead to a happy conclusion in The False Harlequin and a shocking tragedy in Fête Galante.

The performances are underwritten by Susquehanna alumna Marian Shatto ’67, an admirer of Smyth who previously donated her collection of Smyth’s works to the Jane Conrad Apple Rare Books Room in Susquehanna’s Blough-Weis Library.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors age 60 and older and non-SU students. Tickets are available online now at www.susqu.edu/boxoffice. Beginning Jan. 23, the Degenstein Center Box Office will be open to purchase tickets by phone at 570-372-ARTS or in person. Located in the Degenstein Center Theater Lobby, the box office is open Monday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m. during the academic year. It is closed on holidays and during university breaks.