By Merle Exit
Queens Opera Theatre will present its first full production at Flushing Town Hall as part of its inaugural 2017-2018 season.
“The Gift of the Magi” is a chamber opera in four scenes with music by David Conte and libretto by Nicholas Giardini. Based on the short story of the same title by O. Henry, the opera focuses on Jim and Della, a poor married couple living in New York City in 1905 who are can’t afford to buy each other presents for Christmas.
Opera company founders Brian Gill and Andy Anderson debuted their talents this year with a free college concert on April 15. Five singers — including soprano Megan King, tenor Benjamin Robinson, soprano Elizabeth Beers Kataria, mezzo soprano Kristee Haney, and baritone Ron Loyd — performed along with pianist Gloria Kim.
For “Gift of the Magi,” the classic Christmas morality tale about giving, King takes on the role of Della, while Robinson portrays Jim. Kim will once again be tickling the ivories. Actor John Thomas Waite will make a guest appearance reading the story prior to each of the two performances.
“We chose ‘Gift of the Magi’ not only for its Christmas value but as an affordable and family show,” said Gill. “Children will be able to appreciate it, first hearing the story being told and the opera is in English with no subtitles to have to read.”
The opera focuses on Della as she prepares for Christmas prior to Jim’s returning home. Letting her long, beautiful hair down, she sings of her love and happiness.
Della begs Jim to not get her a present for Christmas. Between them their only valuables are Jim’s treasured gold watch from his father and her cascading tresses.
Della calls her friend Maggie to help figure out how to buy Jim a Christmas present and decides she will sell her hair.
Despite their promises not to buy gifts for one another, the young couple exchange gifts. Jim had sold his watch to purchased ornate hair combs for Della and receives a gold chain from her for his father’s timepiece. Their mutual sacrifice shines forth as they sing of their love and renewed fidelity.
The opera has two scheduled performances: Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m. and Monday, Dec. 18, at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets cost $16 for general admission and $10 for students and Flushing Town Hall members. Tickets may be purchased online at www.flushingtownhall.com.