Some of the great stories of French opera are the subject matter for participants in the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance's "Opera 101" program on Sunday, March 14, at St. Mark's Church.

Music and stories of six of French opera's most famous ill-fated heroines, the alluring ladies of "Operatic Love in the French Style," are consumed by love gone awry as glorious music soars around them, a release said.

Carmen is done-in by the jealous Don Jose. Marguerite ascends into heaven as Mephistopheles hustles Faust off to hell. Manon talks Des Grieux out of the priesthood, only to die in his arms shortly thereafter. The three loves of Hoffman fare no better: Olympia, the doll, is smashed to smithereens, Giulietta drinks poison by mistake, and Antonia's mysterious malady causes her to die when she is persuaded to sing.

Veteran narrator Vivian Weede weaves the story around the musical creations of French composers Bizet, Gounod, Massenet and Offenbach.

All tickets are $15 adults and $5 for students between ages 8 and 18. Preferred seating is provided for those purchasing tickets in advance. Call 797-3959 or go online to

The March 14 "Opera 101" program will feature:

* Soprano Mary Paul, "hailed for her flawless coloratura and impeccable phrasing;"

* Baritone Lawrence Alexander, recipient of a William Matheus Sullivan Award and Venice Opera Guild Award for Artistic Achievement;

* Mezzo-soprano Robyn Rocklein, who debuted with Arizona Opera in 2004 in Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd;"

* Tenor Francisco Renteria, who has won many awards, including first prize in the Green Valley Concert Association Piano Competition in 1999;

* Pianist Bonnie Bird, who studied at Julliard Preparatory Division, later earning a bachelor's degree in piano from Westminster Choir College in Princeton.



Opera 101 —  "Operatic Love in the French Style"


3 p.m. Sunday, March 14

St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 1431 W. Magee Road

$15 for adults, $5 for students ages 8 to 18


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