Something New for the Zoo
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Jeff Thomas

Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma has an interesting array of musical entertainment starting with the comic one act opera Something New for the Zoo. Set in Erma Leintraub’s apartment in Vienna in 1950, it is a story of how one woman turns most of the occupying Russian Army into the animals they appear to be. In addition to being an opera diva, Erma (soprano Eileen Morris) has magical powers that allow her to turn officers of the Russian army into pigs and apes suitable for the Vienna zoo. Though the story is full of laughs egged on by the comic expressions of the entire cast, especially tenor Michael Mendelsohn and mezzo-soprano Karen Carle, the music has a richness that echoes some of the best classic operas.

The rest of this musical night includes Ernst Toch’s Geographical Fugue and culminates with Johannes Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzer. Eileen Morris, Karen Carle, Michael Mendelsohn and Aurelio Viscarra sing the Brahms in German. An English translation of this down to earth love song is in your program. The following is a brief excerpt:

“The stream dashes against the stones,

violently propelled:

anyone who doesn’t learn to sigh at that

will learn it when they fall in love.

Oh, women, women,

how they distill rapture!

I’d have become a monk long ago

Except for women!”

Don’t miss this wonderful evening of musical entertainment that, in addition to making you laugh, will make your soul tremble, “overcome by love, pleasure and pain…”

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

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