You have to hand it to Kathleen Westfall. The founder of The 9th Ward Opera Company never gives in to the mundane. And, now in her third year of exposing New Orleans audiences to entertaining and accessible classical music, she has done it again.
“When I began the Lower Nine opera company, I scoured the internet for funny one-act operas,” she says. So, in her continuing efforts to give local opera singers the opportunity to develop their craft, she has chosen two one-act operas to be performed at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 24 to Sunday July 27 at the Marigny Opera House, 725 St. Ferdinand St. in the Marigny.
In Gisela in Her Bathtub, the American premiere of a comic opera by Canadians Neil Weisensel, composer and Michael Cavanaugh, librettist, Gisela is seen reading the final chapter of a rather risqué romance novel while lounging in her bathtub.
“Gisela is a non-singing role,” Kathleen explains. “On Thursday night, that role will be played by Fiona Delta. The remainder of the nights Gisela will be played by burlesque artist Cherry Brown.”
Gisela stays in the tub, says Kathleen, “until it’s time for her to take her bow. You’ll just have to come to see what she is not wearing.”
The second one-act piece, A Hand of Bridge, by American composer Samuel Barber, is a bit darker.
“Barber’s music is amazing,” Kathleen says. “It’s a contrast to the silliness of Gisela. It’s about a group of four unhappily married people who are playing a hand of bridge.”