Old river money, Mardi Gras mayhem, occult practices and a scheming rogue promise evening of fun at Natchez Festival event

Published 2:16 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2022

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Thursday night at the opera in Natchez promises to be filled with Mardi Gras mayhem, occult practices, the nouveau rich and “old money” shysters.

In short, it will be a Weird and Wacky Halloween Night at the Opera when the Natchez Festival of Music presents an evening of two short operas — “The Medium,” a tragedy and “Gianni Schicchi,” a comedy.

The night of opera fun will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Natchez Community Center on Franklin Street.

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Admission is $30 per ticket and both performances will be presented in English.

Audience members are encouraged to wear costumes!

Tickets can be purchased at https://www.natchezfestivalofmusic.com/.

“The Medium” by Gian Carlo Menotti was originally composed for the Broadway stage. It is one of Menotti’s best and celebrates its 75th Anniversary this season…along with another noted—or notorious—event, that of The Great Hurricane of 1947 that crippled Louisiana.

To commemorate both events, New Orleans has been chosen as the location for the story where Cold War horrors, occult practices, Mardi Gras mayhem, an immoral underbelly, escalating crime, and Louisiana’s storm tragedies always loom.

The second presentation of the evening will feature an adaptation of Giacomo Puccini opera “Gianni Schicchi,” which, thanks to Dante’s poetry, was originally set in Renaissance Italy.

This adaptation, called “Johnny Skeeky,” will be set in 1992 Mississippi and performed in English. In 1992, casinos were “born” on the river, and—like it or not—they changed things in our state, and you can’t get much sunnier than Mississippi. The plot in a nutshell is: “old money” shysters consider nouveau riche and “rustics” crashing their community (threatening their security, their wealth, and their way of life) a nuisance, until one of these clever outsiders saves them. Here we find the wealthy Rosco McNutty lying dying. Relatives gather around his bed to “mourn his passing”; however, they are really only there to learn how his enormous wealth will be divided. When they find the will, they realize that they have been completely disinherited! In a panic, they swallow their pride and enlist a notorious local rogue, Johnny Skeeky, to come up with a scheme. Though this clever work begins with a death, it ends in comedy!

The evening promises to be filled with weird and wacky holiday fun.