Love Grows Poisonous For 'Rappaccini's Daughter'

May 15, 2017

The Alamo City Opera rolls out a new production this weekend. It's an opera with roots in a short story by one of the towers of American literature. 

"Rappaccini's Daughter is a story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. A haunting, chilling love story. And it's our first opera that's been adapted into Spanish," says director Mark Richter.

They're also taking the opera to an unexpected venue.

"We're taking this into the south side for the first time, and doing an opera in Palo Alto Performing Arts Center, which is a gorgeous, gorgeous place," he says.

Alamo City Opera's marketing calls it "Opera in the Garden of Good and Evil." Richter explains that Botanist and Scientist Rappaccini employs his daughter in his garden. And that's not without consequences.

"The more she deals with the poisonous plants in the garden, the more she develops an immune system where she can't really leave the garden. She falls in love with another young doctor and the only way they can be together is if he goes into the garden also," he says.

They say love conquers, but in this case it doesn't conquer all, and with tragic results. Richter says the music captures well the tragic love story.

"It's all wonderful, with gorgeous music. So this is actually being played by two pianos, a large percussion section, and a harp. So it makes this very intimate. Of course, Palo Alto is only 400 seats, so everything is very intimate. It's a small cast with about 8 people in it, but all tremendous singers," he says.

Performances take place at Palo Alto College on Saturday, May 20th at 8pm and Sunday, May 21st at 2:30pm for the matinee.

Find more on Rappaccini's Daughter here.