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In Brief: "The Two Widows"

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By 1877, when he had completed the definitive version of his opera The Two Widows, Bedrich Smetana was deaf and on the road to madness. None of that can be heard in this quiet, warmhearted tale of how one high-spirited girl prods her more retiring cousin (both are widows) into marriage with the handsome landowner of a neighboring estate. The Manhattan School of Music did us a favor by reviving this lovable opera recently and giving it an enchanting production. Jay Lesenger’s direction, subdued but inventive, brought out all the gentle humor of the piece, and conductor Steven Crawford shaped the lyrically conversational score with real affection. The fresh young voices of Raquela Sheeran (soprano) and Georgia Jarman (mezzo) were nicely contrasted, while tenor Brandon Jovanovich melted all hearts as the lovesick suitor, and Matthew Burns provided just the right touch of rustic humor as the local gamekeeper.


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