Comedy Tonight! A Comic Opera Double Bill
featuring Bizet's Doctor Miracle and Wolf-Ferrari's Susanna's Secret

James Janssen, Music Director
Sally Craige Christensen, Stage Director
Mark Crayton, Production Coordinator

Saint Matthew's Episcopal Church
2120 Lincoln Street
Evanston IL 60201

Friday, March 15, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm

Now Showing: A Video of the March 16 Performance!

Click  below to watch each opera:

Meet our fabulous cast!

Doctor Miracle (Le docteur miracle) by Georges Bizet

Synopsis: The mayor, his wife Véronique, and his daughter Laurette are awakened very early one morning by a raucous band playing beneath their window. Thinking that this is a serenade from the young officer, Silvio, whom the mayor -- who detests soldiers -- has forbidden to see his daughter, the mayor is about to pour wine on his head when he realizes that this is no suitor, but a quack doctor hawking his wares for the upcoming festival. Ironically, this "Doctor Miracle," as he calls himself, is in fact Captain Silvio in disguise.

While the mayor goes out to chase the charlatan away, Laurette sings of her passion for Silvio. When the mayor returns, he finds Laurette and Veronique engaged in an argument, and after vainly trying to interrupt them to explain that a new servant has arrived (to take the place of the previous servant, who had passed letters from Silvio to Laurette), he shuts the arguing ladies away in separate rooms. He then interviews the young man, named Pasquin, who was recommended by a friend of the mayor. Pasquin sings of his many attributes as a servant and the mayor is pleased with what he hears. The mayor is delighted to welcome him into the house, not realizing that Pasquin is in fact Silvio in another disguise.

The mayor brings the ladies back into the room and introduces Pasquin to his wife and daughter. Pasquin, to Laurette?s disgust (she has not recognized him yet), pretends to flirt with Véronique. It is time for breakfast, and the mayor asks Pasquin to prepare a meal. Véronique mentions that she has just bought some eggs, and Pasquin is told to make an omelet.

In the famous omelet quartet, Pasquin brings in the omelet with great pomp and ceremony and they all sing its praises. But when the mayor and his wife and Laurette taste it, they all start to choke -- it is disgusting. The mayor eats his portion anyway, and he and Véronique leave to go for a walk, after the mayor instructs Pasquin to watch over Laurette. Laurette resigns herself to her fate, but Pasquin eventually reveals himself as Silvio. They then sing a tender love duet which turns into a trio when the mayor returns and catches them together. Furious, he throws Silvio out of the house.

Soon after, a letter arrives from Silvio stating that the omelet was in fact poisoned. The mayor is terrified, but Laurette summons Doctor Miracle, who is once again stationed beneath her window. In a panic, the mayor promises to give this doctor anything he wants in return for the antidote to the poison. The doctor offers to cure the mayor in return for Laurette's hand in marriage. The mayor concedes defeat and agrees to the marriage, but is furious when he learns that the omelet wasn't poisoned after all and that Doctor Miracle is in fact Captain Silvio. When he sees that he has been thoroughly outwitted, the mayor agrees to Laurette's marriage to Silvio, and the opera ends in an ensemble in which they all agree that the phony doctor did after all have the cure for everything, which is love.

Susanna's Secret (Il segreto di Susanna) by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari

Synopsis: Count Gil returns home suspecting that he has seen his wife, Susanna, walking alone in the street, something he had forbidden her to do after their wedding. He is relieved when he discovers that she is playing the piano in the living room. However, it was the countess whom he had seen but she returned home shortly before her husband.

Gil's happiness is short-lived. The room smells of tobacco, and he is surprised since he does not smoke and neither does Susanna, nor the servant, Sante. Suddenly a horrible thought strikes him: is it possible that Susanna is unfaithful to him with a smoker? He speaks with his wife and is soon ashamed of having such suspicions. Gil wants to hug Susanna, but he notices that the tobacco smell comes from Susanna's clothes. She finally admits to having a secret, but does not want to tell him what it is. Gil becomes angry and starts to turn the house upside-down after she locks herself in her bedroom. Finally, as Gil is leaving the house to go to his club, she brings him his umbrella. He softens, they become reconciled, and he exits.

As soon as he leaves the house, she closes the door and opens the small packet she gave to Sante when she came home. She takes out a cigar and lights up while Sante takes snuff. That is her secret! But while she is smoking with Sante, Gil comes back. Smelling the tobacco he starts to search the house for Susanna's lover on the pretext of looking for the umbrella he forgot. Having no success, Gil furiously goes out again and Susanna relights her cigar. Once more Gil enters and, this time, he is sure that he will catch her in the act. Trying to seize her hand, he gets burned, thus finally unveiling her secret. They forgive each other and swear eternal love while smoking together.

Some production photos from our final dress rehearsal (Photos by Alan Teller):