Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) is for most New York operagoers the mystery man of Czech composers. The Met’s now reviving Dvorák’s gorgeous “Rusalka;” both leading companies have staged at least Smetana’s “Bartered Bride,” and some of Janácek’s masterpieces. Something like “Julietta” or “The Greek Passion” (not what you think!) would seem ideal for City Opera, but the musically cosmopolitan, highly theatrical Martinu operas have been left to the city’s smaller companies and conservatories.
The Manhattan School of Music’s Opera Theater presents the American premiere of the comic “Mirandolina “ (1959). The school’s David Gilbert will conduct. Martinu penned works in several languages; the sparkling “Mirandolina” is in Italian (with English supertitles of course), reflecting its source in Goldoni’s comedy “La locandiera” (“The Innkeeper”). The suitor-surrounded title character, abetted by the presence of some actresses disguised as noblewomen, sets in motion a scheme to win yet one other admirer, a haughty Cavalier.
Elaine Alvarez (April 28 and May 2) and Jennifer Marshall (April 30) as Mirandolina head the doubled casts. It’s a short hop from the Manhattan School’s Borden Auditorium to the wonderful late-evening Opera Nights at Café Taci (110 Street and Broadway), where many of the conservatory’s students sing for free on their way to the world’s opera stages.