The diva wars have never changed!” Vocal coach and pianist Isabella Aubin explains the dramatic plotline of the Music Department’s rendition of Mozart’s comic opera, “Il Impresario.” Originally composed in 1786, this brief but humorous story follows Madame Goldentril, played wonderfully by Eileen Plunkett, a shining opera star who is frustrated and wants to make some changes before the next season opens. However, a wrench is thrown in her plans when Miss Silverpeal, played by Therese Brown, barges in announcing that she wants to be the ‘prima donna’ in the next performance as well. A duel ensues between these two divas, each vying with tremendous sass for the lead role and showcasing their extraordinary musical talent. After much back and forth with Mr. Vogelsang, played by Matteus Bressan, who is helplessly caught in the middle, the two young ladies come to realize that as artists, they must put their work above all else and strive to create beautiful art rather than petty complaints. The moral of the story was that “while all artists seek recognition, selfish ambition devalues even the finest artist,” which was eventually realized by the two young stars.
Although originally written in German as a “singspiel,” which means singing and playing, “Il Impresario” was wonderfully transformed to fit the modern day by director Michael Pinkerton. Contemporary dress was used to show that even though the times have changed, the people have remained relatively the same– performers are never going to lose their competitive spirit and love for their art, which was emphasized by Madame Goldentril and Miss Silverpiel singing in German yet wearing modern garb. Mr. Pinkerton is exceedingly well-known in the musical world, being a singer himself, as well as an actor, coach, director, producer, and administrator. At the Music and Arts University in Vienna, he established an Opera Studies program, and has pioneered much of theatre training in Europe. Mr. Pinkerton has directed over 60 operas of all sorts, and he is well-known for producing lively and vivid performances, which “Il Impresario” clearly reflected. He currently resides in Austria with his wife, and Ave Maria University was beyond blessed for the opportunity to collaborate with him. The talent on campus here at Ave Maria is extraordinary– it is absolutely delightful to listen to the songs and to witness the acting that Eileen, Matteus, and Therese, accompanied by Cassie Schultz, Robert Gotschall, and John Pettingill, are capable of and through which they excel.