Cavalleria Rusticana & La Curandera
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Victoria Webb

Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma is now playing two delightful short operas: Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni and La Curandera by Robert X. Rodriguez. Cavalleria Rusticana is set in a Sicilian village and is full of all the passions of forbidden and unrequited love. The music is so beautiful it brings emotions to the surface you never knew you had.

The opera opens with Turiddu (Will Hart Meyer) singing: “If paradise calls, I’ll enter only if Lola (Cary Ann Rosko) stands before me.” Lola is the girl he loves and whom he had promised to marry before he had left to do his military service. But when he returns, he discovers that she has married Alfio (William Neely). As a consolation he promises to marry Santuzza (Patricia Barboza). But he and Lola can’t resist each other.

From the melancholic songs of the spurned Santuzza comes some of the most beautiful music of the opera. Barboza has a great yet subtle voice, which blends well with Mascagni’s composition. She has performed in many United States veterans’ ceremonies including the Rolling Thunder ceremony onboard the USS Hornet.

The libretto of Rodriguez’s comic opera La Curandera is based on an original story inspired by Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne. With a Mexican setting, Rodriguez replaces the sorcerer with a curandera, a faith healer who uses folk magic and potions. The change adds a touch of magical realism to this opera rich in Mexican folklore. But the comic axel this comedy turns on is the familiar story of a jealous woman who accuses the man she’s engaged to of seeing another woman. The fun really starts when Alba (Angela Cadelago) goes to the curandera (Valentina Osinski) to try to find a cure for her problems. The resulting comedy of errors brings plenty of laughs and lively music ranging from classical to mariachi with a playful mix of other folk songs. The lesson learned is: “amor es locura” (love is madness), but it sure is lively and a lot of fun.

For tickets or more information call (707) 763-8920 or visit www.cinnabartheater.org.

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