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Where Art and History Collide

The inaugural season of the new opera initiative, Midsummer Night Opera, will culminate on August 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. at Gowanda's Historic Hollywood Theater with two performances of Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. Both shows are non-ticketed and free to the public.

This fully staged work will be sung in the original Italian, with English subtitles. First-time attendees and opera buffs alike will be treated to an updated staging of this timeless piece: this version is set in the late 1960's and embraces themes surrounding the sexual revolution. The story focuses on two young men who believe that their girlfriends are paragons of faithfulness. A friend wagers that he can prove that all women are fickle and can be easily tempted. Colorful staging and vocal fireworks ensure a vibrant experience of this classic comedic opera!

Gowanda's Historic Hollywood Theater takes great pride in hosting this event. The theater, which was built in 1926 by the renowned theater design firm of Leon H. Lempert & Son, is in the process of being historically restored. Although the audience will be seated in temporary folding chairs, patrons are encouraged to enjoy the other restored and intact historical details of the majestic building such as the stained and leaded glass panels depicting the masks of comedy and tragedy, original chandeliers, elaborate ornamental plaster surrounding the stage's proscenium, richly detailed ceiling and walls and the ornate 22 foot ceiling dome.

Midsummer Night Opera's collaboration with Gowanda's Historic Hollywood theater is compelling because of its juxtaposition of tradition and innovation. MNO presents a fresh, young, cutting edge approach to traditional opera in a timeless venue that invites high-quality musicianship and artistry. The setting in a historic theater, which once played host to such programs, is a powerful reminder of how art, culture and music transcend time. Listening to the brilliant work of Mozart seated in the last remaining Lempert Theater in Cattaraugus County is where Art and History will collide this month.

The performances are funded by The Community Foundation for a Greater Buffalo, a 501(c)3 organization established in 1919 to enhance and encourage long-term philanthrope in the Western New York community. The foundation's mission is: connecting people, ideas and resources to improve lives in WNY. For 95 years, the Community Foundation has made the most of the generosity of individuals, families, foundation and organization who entrust charitable assets to its care. (

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