Painted Sky Opera’s production of “The Medium” offer audiences a unique view of opera – one only a few feet away from the singers.
Painted Sky Opera’s presentation of “The Medium” by Gian-Carlo Menotti continued Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. and 2 p.m. Sept 25 in the intimate confines of the CitySpace Theatre at the Civic Center. The performance highlights the power of opera, which is typically performed in much larger halls and not in theaters like CitySpace, which has only 95 seats arranged around three sides of the stage.
“Opera singers are trained to sing without amplification in performance venues with hundreds of seats, so the fact that every audience member for this production will be within twenty feet of the singers is exciting to me,” said stage director Rob Glaubitz. “The close quarters will create a unique and immersive experience for the audience and will highlight the skill and power of the performers.”
“The Medium” is one of Menotti’s most dramatic works, and has been described by George Grella of New York Classical Review as “hard-hitting” with “genuinely chilling music”. The opera focuses on a fake psychic named Baba who takes money from people trying to communicate with their dead loved ones. During one of her séances, however, Baba feels the unexplainable touch of hands at her throat. In her frenzy to explain the event, she loses touch with reality and lashes out at her daughter and foster son who are her accomplices in the fake séances.
Playing the title role of Baba is soprano Barbara Fox DeMaio, an Oklahoma City University alumna who returns to the operatic stage in Oklahoma City after a long career as an opera singer in Italy. DeMaio is a familiar sight to Oklahoma City audiences, having performed Domina in CityRep’s “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” last November and winning “Best Featured Actress” for her depiction of Costanza in “Enchanted April” at Poteet Theatre. “
Baba is a wonderful role that I am finally the right age to sing. Menotti created a character with many facets; every time I work on the music I find something else out about her,” said DeMaio of the role. She believes that performing the work in CitySpace Theatre would “create the feeling that the audience is right there in the room with us, experiencing Baba’s slow slide into madness in a very visceral way.”
Preceding “The Medium” on the program is “An Incomplete Education”, a lighthearted comedic work by Emmanuel Chabrier. Originally in French, this 20 minute long operatic “short” will be performed with new English lyrics and dialogue written by Glaubitz.
Tickets are $30 for adults, with discounts for students, military, and seniors available in-person at the box office. Purchase advance tickets online at the Civic Center website or by visiting their box office, or calling 405.297.2264.