New England Chamber Opera Group

Igor Stravinsky Mavra
Gioacchino Rossini Marriage by Contract
(La cambiale de matrimonio)

Mavra
Parasha — Diane Caldwell
Mother — Sharon King
A Neighbor — Jane Struss
Vasily — Wayne Rivera

Marriage by Contract
Tobias Mill — Neal Frederiksen
Mr. Slook — David Arnold
Norton — Scott Brumit
Clarina — Barbara Winchester
Fanny — Sue Ellen Kuzma
Edward Milfort — Paul Johnson

Director — Lloyd Schwartz (Mavra)
Director — Michael Auclair (Marriage by Contract)
Conductor — Philip Morehead

"Later that same evening your reviewer witnessed a double bill of short operas by the New England Chamber Opera Group, Rossini's first opera, The Marriage Contact, was given a thoughtful performance by excellent singers, most oustanding of which was David Arnold, whose rich bass-baritone filled the small hall of Emmanuel Church on Newbury Street. The role he played was that of the original ugly American (Canadian), a wealthy man named Slook who is seeking a wife to inherit his property. Slook is distinguished as are all Americans in those days by his candor and lack of formality, and Mr. Arnold made him quite genial and a real hero when he struggles against outmoded British traditions. Sue Ellen Kuzma and Paul Johnson were realistically youthful as the lovers, Neal Frederickson played the stock eccentric with a real difference, and Scott Brumit and barbara Winchester were the usually canny servants of such places. The work was given splendid musical treatment by co-impresario Philip Morehead at the keyboard and it holds up better for modern performance than any first work by any other great operatic composer.

"The curtain raiser, Stravinsky's Mavra, was as carefully prepared musically and as well sung by Sharon King, Wayne Rivera, Jane Struss, and Diane Caldwell, but it is a slight piece that never gets off the ground and is most disappointing. Both works could have used stronger directorial talents than Lloyd Schwartz's in the opener and Michael Auclair's for the Rossini, though Mr. Auclair as designer of the latter made good use of the Tudor architectural elements of the church hall. This was a fine effort and most rewarding for a group that, although amateur, boasts a musical accomplishment on a professional level." (William D. Miranda, The Jewish Advocate, February 8, 1973)

The remarkable unit set for Mavra by artist Sheryl Ann Noonan