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ASU’s Herberger Mainstage Lyric Opera Theatre series opens season with The Impresario and Riders to the Sea double bill

September 10, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. – Mozart’s comedic The Impresario and Vaughan William’s Riders to the Sea, a tragic opera about lives lost at sea, will open ASU’s 2003-2004 Herberger Mainstage Lyric Opera Theatre season on Oct. 3. Now in its 40th year, the award-winning Lyric Opera Theatre is part of the musical theatre/opera academic program in the ASU School of Music. The program’s associate director, Dale Dreyfoos will direct the double bill.

“The two works couldn’t be more different,” says Dreyfoos. “The Impresario is an effervescent slapstick comedy and Riders is a dark compelling drama. This is a double bill that has something for everyone.”

The Impressario pokes fun at operatic stereotypes and is based on a rivalry between two prima donnas vying for the leading role in a new opera company. Dreyfoos said he changed the original setting from 1786 Vienna to New York City in the 1940s because “the story is a timeless one in its picture of backstage conflicts and egos gone wild.” Mozart’s Impresario was written at the same time as one of his most popular works, The Marriage of Figaro.

Riders to the Sea is considered Vaughan Williams’ best work and combines the composer’s background in choral and orchestral works with his interest in folksongs. Riders is a heartbreaking story about a woman who loses her husband and six sons to the sea. Subtle orchestration and a powerful chorus of women tell this story of sorrow.

“The pervasive sense of gloom and imminent tragedy is told in a way that is extremely powerful and moving,” Dreyfoos said. 

Oct. 3, 4, 10, 11 and 12, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 5, 2 p.m.
The Evelyn Smith Music Theatre in the ASU Music Building, 40 E. Gammage Pkwy., Tempe

(per show):

$14 adults; $12 seniors, faculty, staff and ASU alumni; $5 students

Lyric Opera Theatre is part of the ASU Herberger Mainstage Season featuring theatre, dance and music performances. For a complete Mainstage schedule, go to

Media Contact:
Denise Tanguay