Peabody Chamber Opera presents love stories for Valentine's Day

Two-part performance 'Love and Let Love' features cabaret-style popular music, U.S. premiere of Serbian-language opera 'Svadba'

Dave Alexander / February 12, 2013 Posted in Arts+Culture Tagged music, opera

The Peabody Chamber Opera's aptly named "Love and Let Love," which begins Thursday at Baltimore's Theatre Project, is a Valentine's Day inspired performance in two distinct parts.

First is "Conversations of the Heart," a cabaret-style set of classic and popular love songs, with each of the six singers choosing three that combine to tell a story. Their selections include tunes by Cole Porter, the Beatles, Taylor Swift, and Aerosmith, among others.

"It's their own personal views on love, and it's six unique stories," says Jennifer Blades, stage director for the performance and a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University's Peabody Institute. "It's a fun show."

The second part is the weightier Svadba (the Serbian word for "marriage"), a one-act a cappella opera written by Canadian composer Ana Sokolovic and first produced by the Queen of Puddings Music Theatre in Toronto in 2011. The story follows a Serbian bride and her bridesmaids on the eve of her wedding day.

"It's really about letting go and moving forward," Blades says. "To me it's kind of poignant, this sense of loss and gain at the same time."

The six-singer performance, making its U.S. premiere, features "incredible harmonies," Blades says, with a contemporary, sometimes percussive sound rooted in Slavic folk music. The opera is performed in Serbian, though one section, an argument between two characters, is entirely in gibberish.

Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, and at 3 p.m. on Sunday. On opening night, Sokolovic will give a pre-performance talk beginning at 6:45 p.m., and there will be a Q&A after the performance with the composer, stage and music directors, and performers.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. To purchase tickets, call 410-757-8558 or visit The Theatre Project is located at 45 West Preston St. in Baltimore.

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