National award-winning UAB Opera presents Mozart’s “La finta semplice”

UAB Opera will perform Mozart’s comedic opera “La finta semplice” in Italian with English supertitles at 7:30 p.m. Nov 21-22.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s national award-winning UAB Opera program will present Mozart’s “La finta semplice” Nov. 21-Nov. 22 in the original Italian.

music la finta semplice sUAB Opera will present “La finta semplice” at 7:30 p.m. both nights in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Directed by Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk, DMA, the performance will be in Italian with English supertitles. Tickets are $10, $15 and $20, with $5 tickets available for any college student with an ID or anyone under 18. Call 205-975-2787 for tickets. Visit the UAB Department of Music at

“La finta semplice” is loosely translated as “The Sly Girl,” said Hurst-Wajszczuk. This comedy tells the story of two brothers, and two soldiers who are staying with them. The soldiers — one a captain and the other his lieutenant — are dating the brothers’ younger sister and their maid, unbeknownst to the brothers. Convinced that the older, hotheaded brother will refuse to allow them to marry the girls, they conspire to bring the captain’s sister to town. This sly girl, Rosina, will entice each brother to fall in love with her and play the two against each other until the soldiers get what they want: the freedom to marry the girls they love.

“Mozart’s comedic opera was written when he was only 12 years old, and it features all of the hallmarks of the young prodigy,” Hurst-Wajszczuk said. “The singers in this production are top winners in state and regional competitions.”

The all-Alabama, undergraduate student cast has been in rehearsals for the show since the second week of class this semester.

“The Italian has been a challenge to which these students rose admirably,” Hurst-Wajszczuk said. “All of them have sung in Italian before, but never a full opera. We brought in Juilliard coach Reed Woodhouse for some Italian assistance.”

The cast includes Shane Bloemetjie of Huntsville as Polidoro, Valencia Callens of Montgomery as Rosina, Jake Preston Hemminger of Montgomery as Fracasso, Jonathan Lyons of Tuscaloosa as Cassandro, Nole Jones of Prattville as Simone, Cindy Spellman of Montgomery as Concetta, Amberlyn Richardson of Tarrant as Giacinta and Mary Katherine Whatley of Birmingham as Ninetta.

The orchestra for the production will feature student players from the UAB Department of Music and graduate students from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa campus, as well as professionals in the area, conducted by Les Fillmer.

The production’s set and lighting design is by Ed Zuckerman, MFA, associate professor in the UAB Department of Theatre, who has designed many shows for UAB Opera in recent years. The set was built over the summer by students in the set design class taught by Zuckerman, with technical assistance from Lee Adlaf, scene shop supervisor in UAB Theatre.