Opera comes to Featherstone

—Randi Baird

Produced by Wendy Taucher Dance Opera Theater, Opera at Featherstone 2018 presents Donizetti’s La Fille du Regiment Friday, July 27, at the 6 pm gala in honor of Dee Stevens, artistic director of the MV Chamber Music Society, with a performance, award ceremony, and supper. Performances at 7 pm Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29, complete the three-day run. Tickets for the Friday gala range from $175 to $500, for the Saturday and Sunday performance from $45 to $100.

This season’s offering has an orphaned heroine, class wars, long-lost relatives and forbidden love, all sung in the original French. In order to help out the uninitiated while still featuring the original music, the story is propelled by English-speaking spiritualist Madam Fortune, divining the operatic future through her crystal ball. Think a mash-up of Lady Bracknell, Madame Arcati, and RuPaul. Add a tenor with plenty of high Cs (in the role that made Pavarotti famous), a petulant teenager whose music lesson goes south, dancing soldiers and one very bossy mezzo. The nights at the opera promise a galloping 70 minutes of big fun under the Featherstone/Tilton opera tents, rain or shine.

Continuing a tradition begun in 2012, the Inspiration Award will be presented Friday July 27, at 6 pm as part of Opera at Featherstone’s opening night. The Inspiration Award celebrates a Martha’s Vineyard leader who has maintained extraordinary commitment to Island arts and artists. This year’s celebration chairs are David Behnke and David Rhoderick. Previous Inspiration Award recipients include Peter Boak, Deborah Brown, Anne Gallagher, Francine Kelly, and Judy Belushi Pisano. Behnke, MVCMS board member, says of Stevens: “Dee is literally an Island institution. Since first putting together an impromptu chamber music event 48 years ago, she has brought world class musicians to the island every summer. Her own artistry contributes mightily to the performances.