Tricks and treats served up Thursday with eerie tale and dark comedy hosted by Natchez Festival of Music

Published 11:59 am Friday, October 28, 2022

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The spirits were whipped into a frenzy Thursday night at the Natchez Community Center.

Performers with the Mississippi Opera delighted local music lovers with two operas, one filled with nefarious tricks and the other with hilarious treats — all just in time for Halloween.

The production was hosted by The Natchez Festival of Music Thursday night, before moving to Duling Hall in Jackson for two performance, one Friday night and the other Saturday night.

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The first opera, “The Medium,” by Gian Carlo Menotti, is a dark tale filled with mystery, mahem and murder.

In the one-hour production, Madame Flora is a “Psychic Medium.” With the help of her daughter Monica and Toby, a mute servant, she attempts to cheat clients through her faked seances. Monica pretends to be the spirits of those who have passed on while Toby controls the lights and moves the furniture. During one of these seances Madame Flora is suddenly touched by a spiritual hand that cannot be explained. This mysterious event drives her toward violence, insanity, and ultimately murder.

Madame Flora was played by Myka Murphy. Kelly Singer played the role of Monica, Madame Flora’s daughter.

Adams County Christian School student Keaton Ross made his professional debut as Toby a mute orphan.

Other roles were played by Kristen Marchiafava, John Siarris and JoAnna Pope.

Below are scenes from Thursday night’s performance.

The second opera was an adaptation of  Giacomo Puccini’s  opera “Gianni Schicchi.”

Following the eerie and tragic story of The Medium the group presented a modern-day production of Puccini’s only comic opera, “Gianni Schicchi.” The version is set in 20th-century Mississippi and is sung in English.

It is 1992, and the wealthy Rosco McNutty is lying dead in his bed. His relatives have gathered around him to “mourn his passing;” however, what they are really interested in is learning the contents of his will. All of them panic when they realize that he has cut them out! In order to come up with a scheme, they enlist the help of a notorious local rogue – Gianni Schicchi (Johnny Skeeky). While this hilarious comic opera begins with a death, it ends in comedy!