Gallantry - 1994

program cover

UCLA Department of Music
Opera Workshop and Chamber Orchestra

Two one-act operas

Abu Hassan



Friday & Saturday
December 2 & 3, 1994 at 8pm
Schoenberg Hall, UCLA

Abu Hassan
by Carl Maria von Weber

John Lawler
Stage Director

Greg Magie

by Douglas Moore

John Hall
Stage Director and Conductor


Abu Hassan

The story of Abu Hassan, an honest debtor who humorously foils his creditors, was very appropriately used by Weber as the basis for his one-act opera. During the years 1810-11, the time in which he composed the work, the young composer/conductor/pianist was struggling with serious debts himself. The story comes from the Thousand and One Nights of Arabia, and was put into the form of Weber’s libretto by Franz Karl Hiemer. Weber began work on Abu Hassan while he was in Darmstadt, just before he left on a concert tour. The work was ready by the time he reached Munich, and there it was premiered with great success. Not only did the premiere confirm in the composer’s mind his calling as an opera composer, but it also helped boost public enthusiasm for German opera.

Abu Hassan has been termed a “Turkish Opera,” in the tradition of Mozart, Haydn, and other 18th century composers. This refers not only to the setting, but to the prominent use of cymbals in the orchestra. Weber’s orchestration is dramatic, colorful and romantic in nature, but at the same time he adheres to traditional formal principles. Arias, duets, trios and choruses alternate with spoken dialogue, aligning this work with the Singspiel tradition.

The opera begins, following the overture, with Abu and his wife Fatima who are destitute but in good spirits, sharing a meager meal. The first duet consists of the two characters feigning playfully that they are feasting. They have reason for alarm, however, in spite of their merry-making. Abu must pay off his creditors, and Omar will help him do so only in exchange for the attentions of his wife. So Abu and Fatima contrive a plan. Abu will feign death so that Fatima can collect burial money from the Sultana, and then Fatima will pretend to die so that Abu can collect from the Calif.

While Fatima is gone to the Sultana, Abu is confronted by the creditors, and Omar arrives on the scene in time to pay them off, just to please Fatima. When Fatima returns with the burial money, Abu heads off to the Calif. While he is gone, Omar confronts Fatima at her home. Abu returns suddenly, and afraid of appearances, Fatima hides Omar in a closet. At this point Zemrud, the confidant of the Sultana, arrives to find out which one of the couple is really dead, and both Abu and Fatima feigh death. The arrival of the Calif and the Sultana quickly follows, and when the Calif offers 1000 gold pieces to whoever can tell which one of them died first, Abu rises and explains Omar’s attempt at blackmail. Omar immediately falls into disfavor, and Abu gets the gold as well as having his debts paid off. – Christine DeBoer


Born in 1893, Douglas Moore studied composition in Paris with Vincent D’Indy and Nadia Boulanger and in America with Ernest Bloch. It was a meeting with the poet Vachel Lindsay that encouraged him to see Americana as an artistic resource. His first success in music theater was his folk opera The Devil and Daniel Webster (1939) on the story by Stephen Vincent Benét. He became chairman of the music faculty at Columbia University in 1940 and held that position until his retirement in 1962.

His most famous work, The Ballad of Baby Doe (1956), established him as America’s most accomplished composer of American opera until his death in 1969. Tonight’s work, Gallantry, was written directly after the success of Baby Doe and is his one attempt to deal satirically with a contemporary subject in a contemporary fashion. His librettist, Arnold Sundgaard, was practically the house writer for G. Schirmer. Sundgaard wrote two other libretti for Moore as well as pieces for Alec Wilder and Kurt Weill. Sundgaard’s breezy style is well suited for this take-off on that most American art form, the soap opera. - John Hall

Abu Hassan

A Comic Operetta in One Act, based on the part of the tale of Abu al-Hasan the Eccentric, told by Shahrazad to King Shahryar on the 647th through 653rd nights of “The Thousand and One Nights.”

Music by Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber (1786-1826)
Libretto by Franz Karl Hiemer (1768-1822)

First performed in Munich, June 4, 1811

Translated from German into English
by Mark Herman and Ronnie Apter

Cast for Abu Hassan

(in order of appearance)

Abu Hassan
John Klacka

Rebecca Semrau

Jeff Calof

Jeff Rosenberg

Jaleh Bahador

Mandy Turpin

Phillip Stafford

Janelle Barreto
Brian Bethel
Chatchal Charusathiara
Megan Deakers
Juan Garcia
Holly Jurgensen
Audra Levi
Lesli Margherita
Trisha Rapier
Mario Rocha

Staff for Abu Hassan

John Lawler (graduate student
in Theater MFA Directing program)

Stage Manager
Djahari Clark

Assistant Stage Manager
Joseph Goldberg

Greg Magie (graduate student
in Music DMA conducting program)

Ana Hofling

Set Designer
Mark Taylor

Costume Designer
Alex Jaeger

Lighting Designers
Bobby Harrell
Jane Hall

Project Manager
Ed DeShae

Scenic Carpenter
Don Dyke

Faculty Advisors
Alan Armstrong
Neil Jampolis

Assistant Set Designer
Felix Cortes-Scholer

Assistant Lighting Designer
Chad Smith



“A Soap Opera”
Music by Douglas Moore (1893 - 1969)
Libretto by Arnold Sundgaard
(Premiere Columbia University, 1958)

Cast for Gallantry

(in order of appearance)

Erin Wood

Dr. Gregg
Brian Leerhuber

Catherine Webster

David Shukiar

Billy Boy Girls
Janelle Barreto
Megan Deakers
Audra Levi
Lesli Margarita

Staff for Gallantry

Conductor/Stage Director
John Hall

Scenic Design
Bob Demann

Lighting Design
Felix Cortes-Scholer

Production Manager
Diane Connor

Running Crew
Jessica Wodinsky (Master Electrician)
David Gregg (Master Carpenter)
Richard Hodge (Deck Hand)

Opera Workshop Orchestra

Violin I
Yuko Ishikawa
Zakarias Grafilo
Jennifer Takamatsu
Liliana Filipovic
Amanda Post
Susan Perry

Violin II
Regino Madrid
Jerry Wang
Dennis Choe
Sara Marzullo
Theresa Chen
Alex Li

Matt Nabours
Yun Jung Kim
Chandar Wood

Elizabeth Wright
Marian Chang
Charlene Chang
An-Jye Lee
Jamie Lin

Todd Sickafoose
Colin Shipman
Arpi Anderson
Christine Fischer

Kim Brashear
Derek Mohachy

Dan Hagerty
Lea Fiedler

John Mills
Dottie Burkhart

Armando Castellano
Daniel Werren

Matt Cody
Carolyn O’Keefe

Rocky Waters

Susana Huang

Timpani and Percussion
Peter Park
Tino Novellino
Stephanie Simms

The UCLA Opera Workshop

John Hall

Musical Coaching
Mona Lands
Judy Hansen

Student Accompanists
Masha Dubravin
Judy Huang
Vania Lee

Graduate Student Assistant
Susan Roe

Programs and Publicity
Kathleen Moon

UCLA School of Arts and Architecture

Robert Blocker

Chair, Department of Music
Jon Robertson

UCLA School of Theater, Film
and Television

Gilbert Cates

Co-Chairs, Department of Theater
Robert Israel
Rich Rose

Director, Theater Productions
Daniel Ionazzi

Teri Bond Michael

Chair, Theater MFA Directing Program
Michael Hackett

Faculty, Theater MFA Directing Program
Michael McLain
Bill Reichblum

Department of Theater
Production Staff

Theater Operations
Bridget Kelly

Project Managers
Kent Conrad
Ed DeShae
Jeff Wachtel

Scene Shop Supervisor
Hugh Scott

Properties Supervisor
Chuck Olsen

Costume Shop Supervisor
John Brandt

Wardrobe Technicians
Dick Magnanti
Minta Manning

Audio Engineer
Rob Miller

Master Electrician
Ves Weaver

Student Crews and Faculty Supervision

Aspects of this production have been executed by students enrolled in UCLA Department of Theater courses in scenery, costuming, lighting, sound, and advanced laboratories. Their supervisors are: Costuming – Alan Armstrong, Dunya Ramicova, David Paul, Alex Jaeger; Lighting – Neil Peter Jampolis, Jane Fitzgerald Hall, Bobby Harrell; Scenery and Properties – Marsha Ginsberg, John Chris Kerins, Kevin Basham, Eric Larson; Sound – William Ward, Kevin Goold, Joel Schonbrunn.


(The following photos are from Gallantry)

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