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Arts & Life

Loveland Opera Theatre Stages The Challenging 'Kismet'

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Courtesy of Loveland Opera Theatre
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Senhica Klee and Lindsey French star in Loveland Opera Theatre's production of 'Kismet.'

Loveland Opera Theatre is preparing to open the rarely performed show Kismet, but the tale of mystery and romance in Baghdad isn't an opera – it's a Broadway musical. And it's not an easy one.

"I have been waiting for the right opportunity to take this show on," said Loveland Opera Theatre Executive and Artistic Director Juliana Bishop Hoch. "It's a beast."

The difficulty harkens from the show's origins, Hoch said.

The melodies of Kismet are based on the works of Russian composer Alexander Borodin. Robert Wright and George Forrest, the show's librettist and composer, paired the music of Borodin with the 1911 Edward Knoblock play based on tales from The One Thousand and One Nights.

"They took the play and adapted it, but the melodies are very classically oriented, which is why it works really well with opera singers," Hoch said.

It also requires strong vocal chops.

"The ranges are very, very wide for both of the (lead) female roles – low to very high – so it requires very special singers to be able to do it," she said.

Because of that requirement – as well as the need for a cast that's also light on its feet for the rigorous dance numbers – the show is rarely performed. Amongst large scale productions, Kismet was last performed by the New York City Opera in 1985 and by the English National Opera in 2007. In Colorado, Kismet hasn't been performed since 1990 with the University of Colorado at Boulder's College of Music production, Hoch said.

Despite that, songs such as "Stranger in Paradise," "And This is My Beloved" and "Baubles, Bangles and Beads," are well-known.

"Many people don't know the show, Kismet, but they do know the music from it," she said. "And if they don't, this is a good chance to hear it because who knows when the next time will be when it comes back to Colorado."

Kismet will be performed at Loveland's Rialto Theater, Feb. 20 through March 1. Visit LovelandOpera.org for more information.

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