13. November 2013 · Comments Off on This Sounds Like Fun! · Categories: Opera

Why is the death of a female character the recurring dramatic focus in opera?” Cahill asked recently, pointing out that male characters don’t perish at nearly the same rate. Whether she coughs her life away in a chilly garret, gets stabbed by a jealous boyfriend, inadvertently drinks poison or jumps off the Castel Sant’Angelo, the odds aren’t good for the leading lady.

Cahill eventually turned her question into “Fatal Song,” an evening of theater that throws together nearly 20 characters — played by five female and two male singers — in what conductor Jerry Steichen calls “a dressing room in purgatory.” The playwright fashioned a plot that strings together some of the most popular arias in opera history, from Carmen’s “Habanera” to Cunegonde’s “Glitter and Be Gay,” as the characters try to figure out who is killing them off and why. Some of them, aware of what’s about to happen, try to warn the others of their fates.

“They think singing is the thing that kills them,” said Cahill, who is Salt Lake Acting Company’s playwright in residence. “But music is like a drug that they want and need.” Mimì, for example, could escape and set up a gift shop in the south of France — but would it be worth giving up her celebrated death scene?


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