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BWW Feature: COOPERSTOWN – A JAZZ OPERA IN 9 INNINGS! at Windmill Library Theatre

BWW Feature: COOPERSTOWN – A JAZZ OPERA IN 9 INNINGS! at Windmill Library Theatre
From left: Athena Mertes, Lisa Elliott, and Travis Lewis

What do baseball, jazz, and opera have in common? It all comes together in Cooperstown-A Jazz Opera in 9 Innings! to be performed by Opera Las Vegas to open its season at the Windmill Library Theatre on Sept. 27 and Sept. 28.

"Take Me Out To The Ballgame," written in 1908, is still sung at baseball fields all over the country today. Jazz is a musical genre with its roots in America. Composer Sasha Matson has combined the two American traditions in a showcase featuring five solo singers and a jazz quintet with a 1950s influence. The show uses the game of baseball as an analogy of society and its members. For those who can remember the music of the stadium organ, Matson has scored that sound infusing it with the jazz stylings of the great Miles Davis.

Matson actually lives in Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, with each scene (inning) preceded by a jazz ensemble that sets up the tone.

"Songs are sung with proper operatic voices with a few jazz licks and very conversational and emotional," explains Jim Sohre, general director of Opera Las Vegas. "All of the operatic traditions are included with a love triangle or even quadrangle. There is a love interest and professional rivalries with the catcher jealous of the famous star pitcher. There is also a secret that propels the opera."

Jack Gaughan, from the Musicians' Union, was part of the panel selecting its seasonal program and introduced everyone in the company to Cooperstown. The composer was thrilled to have his work performed and will be in attendance on opening night.

The Windmill Library Theatre is one of the newest theaters build in the Las Vegas Clark County Library District seating 300 seats and excellent acoustics.

Opera Las Vegas celebrates 20 years as a nonprofit professional opera company featuring full-scale productions and outreach programs. The first professional performance was held in 2005 in a furniture storage warehouse. The owners, big supporters of the company, transformed part of the facility into a theatre with a stage, tables for dinner, an incredible sound system, and professional lighting. The audience was filled with anticipation for that first performance that took opera to new heights. Since then, Opera Las Vegas continues to produce high-quality opera performances with MET singers as guests in a variety of venues including The Smith Center, University of Nevada Las Vegas, libraries, mansions, concert halls, retirement communities, veteran's facilities, shopping malls, community centers, churches, and parks. Opera Las Vegas offers a number of performances in its season as well as outreach programs and other events.

Cooperstown - A Jazz Opera in 9 Innings! will be performed by Opera Las Vegas to begin its season at the Windmill Library Theatre. Showtimes are 7 p.m. on Sept. 27 and 2 p.m. on Sept. 28. Click here to purchase tickets.

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