IF YOU GO:
What: “La Perichole”
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; and 3 p.m. April 17
Where: Ford Theater, Bliss Hall, on Wick Avenue on the YSU campus
Tickets: $15 ($10 for non-YSU
students, seniors and groups of eight
or more); call 330-941-3105
A comic operetta
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
It’s been a while since Youngstown State University Theater has done a French operetta. But the time is right for “La Perichole,” and not just because spring is the season for farcical comedy.
The melodious score by Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) wraps around a libretto to which many people today can relate.
“It is a recessionary tale, if you will, dealing with hunger and penury, albeit in a comic manner,” said Allan R. Mosher, director. “There is a serious underlying message of those in power oppressing the weak.”
“La Perichole” premiered in 1850 in Paris. University Theater will present the two-hour operetta Thursday through April 17 at Ford Theater, inside Bliss Hall. David Vosburgh is the stage director and Jon Simsic is music director. The cast includes Cory Davis, Molly Scherer, Kayla Wilson and Trevor Coleman.
The story revolves around La Perichole, a beautiful young street singer in colonial Lima, Peru. She and her singing partner, Piquillo, can’t earn enough to eat, let alone buy a marriage license.
La Perichole catches the eye of the viceroy, who offers to make her one of his ladies in waiting. Hungry, she agrees and writes a farewell letter to her love. In farce fashion, mysteries and misunderstandings unravel in a happy ending.
“The viceroy is caricature of a dictator, but he is a dictator nonetheless, and a most lecherous one,” said Mosher. “I also like the theme of artists who bring so much joy into our lives having to make ‘unholy choices’ just to survive. Things certainly haven’t changed much!”
“La Perichole” will also introduce local operagoers to the prolific Offenbach. Best known today for his sole grand opera, “The Tales of Hoffman,” Offenbach is unique in that he composed more than 100 operettas in a span of 27 years.