UCLA Department of Music Presents
UCLA Opera Workshop and Philharmonia Orchestra
Jon Robertson, Director
John Hall, Producer and Stage Director
with special guest conductor
Assistant General Director and Chief Conductor of the Cairo Opera
Two One-Act Operas
La Scala di Seta
(The Silken Ladder)
Music by Gioacchino Rossini
by Giacomo Puccini
Thursday, Friday, April 18, 19, 1996 - 8:00 P.M.
Saturday, Sunday, April 20, 21, 1996 - 3:00 P.M.
Schoenberg Hall - UCLA
We are pleased to present two very different operatic gems from the Italian repertory, Rossini’s The Silken Ladder and Puccini’s Suor Angelica. While separated by only slightly over 100 years, one represents a musical language familiar to Napoleon, and the other premiered when Woodrow Wilson was in the White House. With these two operas our students gain a very wide range of style, dramatically and musically. Thanks must go to the students in the Musical Theater Workshop and UCLA Chorale for their participation and support for their operatic colleagues.
We are also pleased to introduce Maestro Moustafa Nagui, Musical Director of the Cairo Opera, who conducts our students. This season, Maestro Nagui has also invited graduate students from UCLA to participate in professional productions at the Cairo Opera House, and we are proud to have our students participate in their productions of Aida and La Bohème.
These operas are produced witht the generous support of the Gluck Foundation whose interest in the Fine Arts extends from the artistic present to our artistic future by their belief in our young talent. Thank you. - Jon Robertson
Dr. Moustafa Nagui has conducted countless successful concerts and operas in Egypt and abroad. A talented Egyptian artist, he is also well known as a prominent cello soloist and composer, having received several prizes for musical scores at international film festivals. Maestro Nagui contributed to the inauguration of the Cairo Opera House in 1988 with his orchestrated AlGehad Anthem and Altyarann Anthem, originally composed by Egypt’s well known artist M. Abd Alwahab. As cellist he has recorded for Egyptian Radio and other foreign broadcasts and has presents recitals and symphonic concerts in Egypt, Germany, U.S.S.R., Yugoslavia, Italy, France, England, Austria, and the United States.
Nagui was born in Cairo in 1948, and studied at the Cairo Conservatory where he graduated in 1971 and was immediately appointed Assistant Professor for Cello. In 1972, he travelled to the former U.S.S.R. for further study in cello. In 1974, he was a contestant at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, receiving a Certificate of Recognition. In 1976, Nagui became the Resident Conductor of the Conservatory Orchestra, and four years later he founded the Alexandria Conservatory Orchestra.
In 1982, Nagui was appointed Resident Music Director for the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, and since 1990 he has been the Artistic General Director and the Chief Conductor at the National Cultural Center “Cairo Opera House.” In 1994, Dr. Nagui successfully founded the Cairo Opera Orchestra as a second orchestra to the Cairo Symphony Orchestra.
An Opera in One Act
Music by Giacomo Puccini
Text by Grovacchino Forzano
*Premiere: Metropolitan Opera, 1918*
In the cloister of a convent we hear the birdsong heralding spring. The nuns are singing an Ave Maria. Late for chapel, two Lay-Sisters and Sister Angelica join the refrain. After service, the Monitress assigns penance to the latecomers who did not prosrate themselves for their tardiness before entering chapel. She also punishes Sister Lucille for causing laughter during service and Sister Osmina for hiding roses in her habit.
Sister Genevieve notices the convent fountain has turned gold in the setting sun. The Monitress remarks that this only happens for three evenings in May. The sisters remember Sister Biance Rosa who died at this time last year. Genevieve, brought up as a shepherdess, confesses that she longs to hold a spring time lamb (’Soave Signor mio’). Sister Dolcina confesses that she, too, has a desire. The sisters tease her, knowing that her wish is for something good to eat. When Angelica is asked for her desires, she denies having any. The sisters are shocked because they know she longs to hear news from her noble family that has forced her to take the veil.
The Nursing Sister enters with news that one of the nuns has been stung by wasps. Angelica, known for her medicial skills prepares a remedy from her plants. The Alms-Sisters arrive with the provisions for the convent (including some berries for Sister Dolcina). They tell of seeing a magnificent coach outside the cloister.
The Abbess enters and announces that Angelica has a visitor. It is her Aunt, the Princess, who has come to ask Angelica to sign away her inheritance as a dowry for her younger sister, Anna Viola, who is to marry. When Angelica asks who her sister will wed, her Aunt replies; a man who can overlook the shame Angelica has brought to their family. Angelica calls her Aunt’s coldness inexorable.
The Princess says that she often visits the grave of Angelica’s mother where she communes with the spirits of the dead only to call for atonement for Angelica’s sins. Angelica agrees to sign the document but demands news of her illegitimate son. The Aunt replies that the child died of fever two years earlier.
Stunned, Angelica collapses then recovers her strength to sign the document. When her Aunt leaves, she allows her grief for her child who never knew a mother’s love to pour forth (“Senza mamma, bimbo, tu sei morto’). As the nuns retire to their cells, Angelica bids them farewell.
Alone, she enters the courtyard and prepares poison from her plants. She will join her child in heaven. After taking the poison she realizes that she has committed a mortal sin and prays to the Virgin for salvation. A vision of the Holy Mother with Angelica’s child comforts the dying Angelica.
Stage Director and Producer
Assistant Master Carpenter
Michelle D. Eckart
Russ Van Orten
Master Electrician, Lighting Design
Set and Props
Daniel Gary Busby
Event Manager Diane Connor
Publicity and Programs
UCLA Musical Theater Workshop
Daniel Gary Busby