The Sunday Opera: Giovanni Bottesini's long-lost "Ali Baba" from Opera Southwest
We’re finishing our brief visit to Opera Southwest on this week’s Sunday Opera (10/3 3:00 p.m.) and a once-lost opera by Giovanni Bottesini about Ali Baba based loosely on the story found in “One Thousand and One Nights.” Here, however, Ali Baba is an older, now successful merchant who is trying to arrange a profitable marriage for his daughter, Delia. Delia, however, loves a poor man named Nadir who will do anything to win the hand of his beloved, and, like Ali Baba before him, he stumbles on the secret of the treasure cave of a band of thieves and amasses the fortune he needs, but it’s not all smooth sailing although it does have a happy ending when the pirates, who are hiding in barrels of moka (coffee) are “smoked out” when the contraband barrels containing the thieves are set afire. The thieves and their leader, Orsacane, are apprehended by Aboul Hassan, the customs officer who was trying to blackmail Ali Baba about the moka to gain the hand of Delia. Bottesini’s work was well-received after its premier in London in 1871, but the score was lost shortly thereafter, and it wasn’t heard for over a century. Opera Southwest has brought this lost work to life in 2019, and we’ll hear it this week under the leadership of Anthony Barrese. The cast includes Ashraf Sewailam as Ali Baba, Christopher Bozeka as Nadir, Monica Yunus as Delia, Kevin Thompson as Aboul Hassan, Darren Stokes as Orsocane, and Laurel Semerdjian as Morgiana.
Join Michael Kownacky after the opera for more music of Bottesini who wrote primarily for the double bass including his Double Bass Concerto No. 1 in in F sharp major, the Double Bass Concerto No. 4 in E major, the Gran Quintetto in C minor, and Concerto for Double Bass with Orchestra in B minor.