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Published: Sunday, 9/13/2009

Toledo Opera opens with Verdi's 'Falstaff'

Opera is the grandest, most over-the-top of the performing arts - a feast for the eyes, ears, mind, heart, and soul. This year's collection of live opera performances will sample the best of the standards - beloved works by Verdi, Donizetti, and Puccini - with some lovely diversions into newer and older compositions.

The Toledo Opera opens its season in November with Verdi's final opus, Falstaff, one of only two comic operas by the great Italian composer, and the only one to enter the operatic firmament. More Verdi will be presented by the Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit with Nabucco and Don Giovanni.

Donizetti, another of the great Italian composers, will be represented by the Toledo Opera's Elixir of Love in May, as well as the MOT's performance of Lucia di Lammermoor in June.

Student productions at Bowling Green State University will uncover more obscure works including Massenet's Don Quixote and Wolf-Ferrari's School for Fathers, one per term, both in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center.

Contemporary composer Benjamin Britten's tragedy, Lucretia, will center the TOA's season in March, after a winsomely titled gala the month before, April in Paris, in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle. (All other TOA productions are in the historic Valentine Theatre.)

In Ann Arbor, the Arbor Opera Theater enters its second decade presenting classics - this season includes Purcell's Dido et Aeneas at the University of Michigan League.

Here is what to look for:

Oct. 17, 21, 24: Nabucco by Verdi. Michigan Opera Theatre at Detroit Opera House. 7:30 p.m. Tickets $25-$115.

Nov. 6, 8: Don Quixote/Master Pedro's Puppet Show. Bowling Green State University Opera Theater. 8 p.m. Kobacker Hall. Tickets $9-$12 in advance, plus $3 at the door.

Nov. 7, 13, 15: Falstaff by Verdi. Toledo Opera, Valentine Theatre,

7:30 Nov. 7 and 13; 2 p.m. Nov. 15. Tickets $30-$95.

Nov. 14, 18, 21, 22: A Little Night Music by Sondheim/Wheeler. Michigan Opera Theatre. 7:30 p.m. all nights except Nov. 22 matinee at 2:30 p.m. Tickets $25-$115.

Jan. 30, 31: Dido et Aeneas by Purcell. Arbor Opera Theater, Ann Arbor. Place and tickets TBA.

Feb. 13: "April in Paris," Toledo Opera Gala. 7:30 p.m. Peristyle. Tickets $20-$80.

Feb. 27 and March 1: School for Fathers by Wolf-Ferrari. BGSU Opera Theater. 8 p.m. Feb. 27; 3 p.m. March 1. Kobacker Hall. Tickets $9-$13 plus $3 at door.

March 13-14: Lucretia by Britten. Toledo Opera at Valentine Theatre. 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. matinee Sunday. Tickets $30-95.

April 10, 14-16, 18: Don Giovanni by Verdi. Michigan Opera Theatre. 7:30 p.m. all nights except April 18 matinee at 2:30 p.m. Tickets $25-$115.

May 1, 7, 9: Elixir of Love by Donizetti. Toledo Opera at Valentine. 7:30 p.m. May 1, 2; 2 p.m. May 9. Valentine. Tickets $30-$95.

May 15, 16, 19, 21-23: Tosca by Puccini. Michigan Opera Theatre. 7:30 p.m. all shows except 2:30 p.m. May 16 and 232. Tickets $25-$115.

June 17-19, 20: Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti. Arbor Opera Theater. 7:30 p.m. June 17-19; 2 p.m. June 20. Lydia Mendelssohn Theater, Michigan League. Ann Arbor. Tickets TBA.

-Sally Vallongo

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