Opera Gone Wild

Opera Gone Wild

he Wild West might seem an odd setting for an opera, but Fresco Opera Theatre isn’t interested in doing the same old thing.

The group’s latest performance, The Good, the Bad, and the Divas, which runs Friday through Sunday at Overture Center, combines the western film genre with Italian arias.

Director Melanie Cain recently offered some details into this unique spaghetti western.

How did the idea for this opera come about?

We look for things that people would be familiar with, and the idea for a western really came from my grandpa. I used to watch them with him. We thought, how cool would it be to have a gang of divas?

How did you think to combine a western-style storyline with Italian arias?

Spaghetti westerns were often taped in Italy or named after directors, who often were Italian.

What is the storyline?

The story is based on six divas. They’ve all been hurt by a man and are out for revenge. We start with a shoot-out, of course. A girl shoots her ex and gets put in jail, and the others come to bust her out.

What arias did you choose?

We wrote the story first and then searched for arias. There’s the drinking song from La Traviata, the anvil chorus everyone knows from the Looney Tunes, Mozart tunes and some stuff that’s pretty far-fetched.

What’s been the most fun so far?

Writing the story and coming up with a new storyline, and seeing the singers buy into the story and their characters.

What do you hope audiences get out of seeing the show?

Our mission is to make opera more accessible, [to show] that opera can be beautiful and fun. We keep our things pretty fast and furious.

The Good, The Bad, and The Divas runs September 7–9 at Overture Center. For more information, visit frescooperatheatre.com.

Photo by Max Wendt.

An excerpt of this Q&A appeared in the September issue of Madison Magazine. Find other September events .