Confusion at an opera

Miriam Pace – volunteer in Archives
April 11, 2011

Newspaper headline from M&G Feb.8, 1947

On February 12, 1947, the New York City Civic Opera Company came to Elon College to perform two operas, “Rigoletto” and “Carmen”. They came complete with an orchestra, singers and a corps ballet ensemble. At least 350 students and townspeople were in attendance for the first opera, ready to absorb some culture – even though they were really not too familiar with the genre.  Programs and librettos were available at the door of Whitley Auditorium, so the audience settled down to what was sure to be a real treat.

Newspaper headline from M&G Feb.22, 1947

As the arias and duets went on, the listeners finally decided they were not hearing “Rigoletto” which they thought was to be given, but something else. It took them a little while to figure this out, but whispers went all over the auditorium and the audience grapevine came up with “La Traviata” as the opera that was being performed. Sure enough, both operas were listed on the programs – the inexperienced opera fans just didn’t know which was which!


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