The Opera ‘Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot’ Brings Humorous Tragedy to Cal State San Bernardino

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– A musical story mixed with humor and tragedy hits the stage when the Cal State San Bernardino Opera Theatre, in collaboration with Brightwork newmusic and the LotusFlower New Music Project, presents “Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot” by Peter Maxwell Davies. The fully staged production will be held at the CSUSB Performing Arts Recital Hall on Feb. 2, at 7:30 p.m.

“Attendees can look forward to an evening of fantastic music making and storytelling,” said soprano Stacey Fraser, CSUSB music professor and the Opera Theatre director, who is co-directing the production and performing as Miss Donnithorne, the forlorn, eccentric main character.

“Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot” is based on a true story about an Australian woman who is abandoned by her lover on their wedding day in 1856. After she is deserted, Miss Donnithorne leads a reclusive life and remains in her wedding attire for the next 30 years.

The piece is a staged adaptation by Peter Maxwell Davies, who is known for his music-dramatic works that go beyond the conventions of traditional opera. “This piece not only incorporates singing, but also speaking, laughing, whispering and dramatic rants — so much fun to perform!” said Fraser, who has been working as a professional opera singer for more than 20 years.

The production will feature the talents of the CSUSB music and theatre arts departments, including Alastair Edmonstone, collaborative pianist; Andre Harrington, associate professor of the theatre arts department, on costume design; and Jason Mann, assistant professor of the theatre arts department, on lighting design.

“Andre Harrington has designed a simply fantastic costume for me — I can’t wait to wear it!” said Fraser. “Jason Mann is a brilliant lighting designer and will really make this production look gorgeous and intriguing.”

In addition, Terry Smith, professor and chair of the theatre arts department, is collaborating with Fraser on stage direction “to create an honest and humorous staging of this amazing character, Miss Donnithorne.”

“I am super excited to work with Terry again; he is terrific!” Fraser said.

The production is also in collaboration with Brightwork newmusic, a Los Angles based, Grammy-nominated music ensemble consisting of Grammy-winning players, and with the LotusFlower New Music Project, in which Fraser is the founding director.

“The music will be cutting edge and a real treat for our CSUSB campus community,” Fraser said.

Tickets are $10 for CSUSB students, $12 for special (military, senior and children) and $15 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased at the Music Box Office or online at cal.csusb.edu/music. Parking at CSUSB is $6.

“Come laugh, cry and experience some madness and fun,” Fraser said. “It will be a hoot, but also a testament to the fantastic music-making that happens on our campus!”

This production of “Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot” will also be shown at the Boston Court Performing Arts Centre in Pasadena on Feb. 9, at 8 p.m. Visit its website at bostoncourt.com for ticket information.

For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit inside.csusb.edu.

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