By Joe Hadsall
Globe Features Editor
JOPLIN, Mo. —
When Jade Leggott found out that the production of "A Little Mozart" would be held in the theater at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, she was thrilled.
"I saw an Easter show here when I was in high school," Leggott said. "The only theater in the area that compares to this is the Coleman in Miami."
The historic theater, with its 100-year-old scenery, makes the perfect setting for two classic operas written by Mozart, said Nicholas Gilmore, artistic director of Heartland Opera Theatre.
"A Little Mozart" features "Bastien and Bastienne" and "The Impresario." It will be presented at 7:30 p.m. today at the cathedral, located at Sixth Street and Byers Avenue.
The first opera is a comic opera that tells the story of two lovelorn youth and a magician who pairs them together. It features singers Stephanie Meyer, John Wilkins and David Feiertag.
The comic opera was written when Mozart was only 12, Gilmore said. "It's a really charming little piece," Gilmore said. "There's not a lot to the story, which makes it just plain fun."
"The Impresario," written when Mozart was older, features an opera company watching its established diva take on a vocal challenge from an upstart ingenue. Angela Shoup and Meyer sing the parts of the battling divas, and Feiertag, Larry Stotsberry and Greg Swartz round out the cast.
The production features a string ensemble that includes a harpsichord.
"This is Mozart chamber music, with a harpsichord backing up the singers," Gilmore said.
The cathedral's theater makes the perfect setting for the presentation, Gilmore said. Cast and crew are making use of the hand-painted props and scenery. Both of the operas are in English and are family friendly, he said.
"It's breath-taking," Gilmore said. "I knew the cathedral had an auditorium, but when I went in, I wondered why no one uses this. It's gorgeous."
Want to go?
"A Little Mozart" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. today at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, located at Sixth Street and Byers Avenue. Tickets: $20; $10 for students and children. Details: 417-782-4953.