Agent Fidelio: A Picnic Operetta

When one is selecting an operetta to be performed alfresco, Beethoven's Fidelio is far from an obvious choice. For one thing, the work isn't typically considered an operetta at all: That form tends to be lighter in music, mood, and theme than full-scale operas. Though not without its buoyant passages, Beethoven's famed composition (his one and only opera) revolves around a devoted wife who disguises herself as a jailer in order to free her political-prisoner husband. Recognizing uncanny parallels to contemporary debates over such issues as government transparency and civil liberties, Mixed Precipitation has adapted the unlikely source material into Agent Fidelio, the centerpiece of its fifth annual picnic operetta. Slated for performances at 14 community gardens throughout the Twin Cities, the production will be guided by the experienced creative team of director Scotty Reynolds, music director Marya Hart, and choreographer Nancy Nair. While retaining the compelling narrative of Beethoven's original work, the production has been custom-suited for a relaxed atmosphere, offering undercover agents infiltrating the audience, a 16-person cast backed by a live orchestra, and a cleverly re-imagined score that blends in the reggae stylings of Jimmy Cliff. This being a picnic, guests should also bring their appetites for a locally sourced tasting menu prepared by chefs Nick Schneider and Chris Roberts to cleverly coincide with the storyline. For more information, dates, and locations, visit www.mixedprecipitation.org. (Photo by Travis Chantar)
Sat., Aug. 10, 4 p.m., 2013

 
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