Act I: Jonathan Jinks and his friends Willie and Charlie have come to welcome opera star Aurelia Trentoni (n‚e Johnson, from Trenton, New Jersey) to America. After hearing Impresario Mapelson tell reporters of her affairs with titled suitors, Charlie (deeply jealous of Jinks's success with women) provokes Jinks into betting he can seduce Aurelia. Jinks meets Aurelia and they are immediately attracted to one another. Jinks realizes that, contrary to Mapelson's description, Aurelia is a dedicated artist and a lonely woman. After Jinks extricates her from an awkward encounter with the "Ladies' Anti-French Literature League," she agrees to allow Jinks to call on her. Ashamed of the bet, Jinks tries to cancel it. Unsuccessful, he gives Charlie an IOU. In a gallant attempt to speed Aurelia's luggage through Customs, Jinks offers money to an amenable inspector. To his dismay (and Charlie's delight), he is arrested for bribing a United States official.
Act II: For two weeks, Mapelson has anxiously watched romance bloom between Jinks (out on bail) and Aurelia (who doesn't know of Jinks's arrest or impending trial). Mapelson is afraid his prima donna may abandon opera for matrimony. Jinks and Aurelia do, indeed, become secretly engaged. A rehearsal of La Traviata (Aurelia's debut opera) is in progress. Jinks's mother arrives and begs Aurelia to give up Jonathan. Aurelia promises to consider this if Mrs. Jinks, who has never seen an opera, promises to attend her debut that evening. "Papa" Belliarti (Aurelia's uncle, teacher, and mentor) enters with Charlie. Charlie, presenting the IOU as proof, claims Jinks is a fortune hunter who has wagered he would marry Aurelia. Confronted with the IOU, Jinks admits he signed it. Belliarti, refusing to hear Jinks's explanation, forbids him to see Aurelia again. (Caught up in these unexpected complications, Jinks fails to appear at his trial.) Aurelia, heartsick, tries to cancel her debut, but cannot. She agrees to perform.
Act III: Jinks and Willie, assisted by Aurelia's companion, conceal themselves in Aurelia's hotel suite. Aurelia returns from her triumphant debut too distressed to attend the party given in her honor. Jinks reveals himself, explains what has happened, and begs forgiveness for his insensitive behavior. Aurelia reproaches him for both the arrogance of his wager and for the suffering he has caused her. But when she realizes the depth of his remorse, and sees the wiser, humbler man he has become, she forgives him. A policeman arrives looking for Jinks. Aurelia, playing the dying Violetta Valery for the second time that evening, convinces the policeman that Jinks missed his trial in order to help her survive a sudden recurrence of an old lung complaint. Suddenly, all the principals enter, bringing the party to Aurelia. Jinks's mother, melted by the poignancy of La traviata, gives the lovers her blessing. The company sings a tribute to the powers of music.
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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)
Number of Acts
Tonal and tuneful to "twelve-tone," dialogue recitative and arioso with numerous arias and ensembles; the orchestra is used with discretion and transparency.
Vocal & Musical Forces
Lyric Coloratura Soprano(taxing role), Dramatic Soprano, Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano(plays piano), 3 Tenors, Lyric Baritone(plays violin), Bass-Baritone, 7 Basses; Female (non-speaking), supers, 3 dogs; bandmaster and 8-9 bandsmen play on stage (from orchestra); three or four dancing couples.
Carol Wilcox (Aurelia Trentoni, an opera singer)
Robert Owen Jones (Captain Johnathan Jinks)
Eugene Green (Colonel Mapleson)
Brian Steele (Willie)
Ronald Highley (Charlie)
Carolyn James (Mrs. Gee)
Walter Hook (Papa Belliarti)
Nancy Jones (Mary)
Linda Sisney (Mrs. Stonington)
Karen Yarmat (Mrs. Jinks)
With: George Alex Livings, Keith Harmon, William Latimer, James Ditsch, Ralph Klapis, Carl Packard, Mike Linderman,