Pacific Opera Victoria’s production of Countess Maritza brings a party atmosphere to the Royal Theatre in April and May. Photo by Jo-Ann Richards

Pacific Opera Victoria’s production of Countess Maritza brings a party atmosphere to the Royal Theatre in April and May. Photo by Jo-Ann Richards

Intrigue and romance in POV’s newest opera

Pacific Opera Victoria throws a party with Countess Maritza, featuring Kálmán’s beautiful music

By Robert Moyes

Monday Magazine contributor

After breaking our hearts in February with La Traviata, Pacific Opera Victoria breaks out the bubbly and puts on a party hat with Countess Maritza, an effervescent charmer from what’s known as the Silver Age of Viennese Operetta.

The second great success of Hungarian composer Emmerich Kálmán, Countess dates from 1924 and is a classic romantic comedy with a twisty plot full of deceptions and misunderstandings that inevitably culminates with loving hearts and a happy ending.

The star of the show is Kálmán’s gorgeous music, featuring a buoyant fusion of Viennese waltz with Hungarian folk tunes. Very much influenced by both Puccini and Tchaikovsky, Kálmán was a skilled composer whose many operettas brought him worldwide fame and a stature equivalent to that of Franz Lehar, the other great 20th-century master of these elegant musical confections.

The plot, worthy of a screwball comedy, centres on the bewitching Countess Maritza, a young widow who is so tired of the attentions of a multitude of pesky suitors that in order to get some peace she has invented an entirely fictional fiancé. But when she decides to throw a fancy dinner party at her country estate, the complications begin to pile up.

Most notably, along comes a Baron who is indulging his curiosity, insofar as he shares the identical name as the Countess’s supposed fiancé. Enchanted by the Countess, the Baron quickly shows an alarming interest in marrying this woman he has just met.

Further intrigue arrives in the person of a seemingly lowly bailiff, in actuality an impoverished Count who is working incognito to earn a dowry for his lovely sister, Lisa. Add in a gypsy fortune teller, then stir the pot with some gentle schemings and romantic misalliances, and the stage is set for a nostalgic, old-fashioned and highly entertaining evening of captivating music and fizzy frivolity.

Countess Maritza runs April 25 to May 5 at the Royal Theatre. For tickets, visit rmts.bc.ca, call 250-386-6121 or drop by the Royal or McPherson theatre box office.



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Live musicOpera

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Gettin’ Higher Choir will be performing alongside Wavelengths Community Choir and special guests during an online concert Jan. 30. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria choirs team up for online concert fundraiser

Valdy among performers for free concert

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Artist Jim Holyoak’s installation “Quagmire.” Holyoak will be the first speaker for the Artist Talk Online Winter 2021 series. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College Artist Talk goes online for winter 2021

The series invites contemporary Canadian artists to speak about their professional practice

Juno-winning Toronto dub poet Lillian Allen is VIU’s Gustafson Distinguished Poet for 2021. (Photo courtesy Karen Lee)
Juno-winning dub poet is VIU’s Gustafson Distinguished Poet this year

Lillian Allen will present online lecture, reading and Q-and-A

James Summer, the City of Victoria’s new youth poet laureate. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Slam poetry expert introduced as Victoria’s new youth poet laureate

Vic High alum James Summer will serve in the role for 2021

There are many options for enjoying a meal out locally during Dine Around and Stay in Town, on now through Feb. 7. (10 Acres Commons)
Dine Around Stay in Town Victoria carries added importance during pandemic

Special menu items for eat in or takeout/delivery, staycation deals available through Feb. 7

Peter Crema and Harmony Gray (from left), past participants of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Code Switching teen art group, at work in ArtLab in 2019. The NAG will be expanding the space thanks to a $75,000 arts infrastructure program grant. (Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre receive new arts infrastructure funding

Province announces recipients of funding through B.C. Arts Council program

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Canadian singer-songwriter-actor Joëlle Rabu will join her son, Nico Rhoades, for a livestream performance courtesy the Tidemark Theatre Jan. 29. Photo submitted
Mother/son powerhouses Joelle Rabu and Nico Rhodes join forces for Island livestream

Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre hosts online music revue

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

Dr. John Hooper to lead mid-Island based choir

Most Read