published Thursday, March 6th, 2014

‘Opera’s Bad Boys and Girls’ - March 9

CSO salutes classical music’s gypsies, tramps and thieves.


■ What: Chattanooga Symphony & Opera presents “Opera’s Bad Boys and Girls.”

■ When: 3 p.m. Sunday, March 9.

■ Where: Volkswagen Conference Center, 7351 Volkswagen Drive.

■ Admission: $25 adults, $15 students with school ID.

■ Phone: 423-267-8583.

■ Website:

The good guys may get the girl in the end, but it’s opera’s villains who get the meatiest roles.

Chattanooga Symphony & Opera salutes these bad boys, gypsies, tramps and thieves on Sunday, March 9, in the Volkswagen Concert Series “Opera’s Bad Boys and Girls.”

While opera is sometimes stigmatized as high-brow music presented in a staid and formal atmosphere, this concert is presented in a much more casual atmosphere.

“The setting lends itself to the informality, because everyone is on the same level as the orchestra and singers. You’ll see some people dressed up, but most people come in casual clothes or jeans,” says Molly Sasse, CSO executive director,

Sasse says the concert theme produced a wealth of opera villains from which to choose.

“The duke in ‘Rigoletto’ is such a cad. Violetta in ‘La Traviata’ is a courtesan. Don Giovanni is a bad boy. Carmen is a gypsy.

“Most everybody likes the villains better than the heroes because they get better music,” she jokes.

Sunday’s concert includes 15 selections from 10 operas. They range from Carmen’s Seguidilla (“Pres des ramparts de Seville”) in which the gypsy seduces her captor, Don Jose, in order to free herself, to Don Ottavio’s “Il mio tesoro intanto,” in which he swears vengeance against Don Giovanni because Ottavio believes Giovanni killed Donna Anna’s father.

The arias will be sung by a quartet of graduate students from the University of Tennessee Opera Theatre. They are Sydney Gabbard, soprano; Dallas Norton, mezzo-soprano; Todd Barnhill, tenor; and Scott Beasley, baritone. They’ll be introduced with some background about the scenario they are presenting before each aria.

The visiting quartet will be joined by the CSO Chorus, which will perform notable choral works such as The Anvil Chorus from “Il Trovatore,” and “Va, Pensiero” from Verdi’s “Nabucco.”

Seating at these concerts is first-come, first-served, Sasse says, “and we always have people waiting for us to open the doors in order to get good seats.”

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfree or 423-757-6284.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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