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Friday August 18th, 2023

6:00pm & 7:30pm

The Cummer Museum

of Art and Gardens

Composed by Samuel Barber

Libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti

Presented under license by G. Shirmer, Inc., copywright owner.


Enter the minds of two unhappily married couples as they get together to play their

nightly game of bridge... all while disclosing their innermost unfulfilled desires

and shocking secrets.

At only about ten minutes long, this one-act opera by queer American composer Samuel Barber is perhaps one of the shortest regularly performed operas in the repertoire. Bold City Opera is proud to present two performances of this work at the free Summer at the Cummer event on the evening of August 18th. Additionally, local BCO artists will present a recital of well-known opera arias and art songs in between performances.




Sally, who is frustrated as a result of being "dummy," recalls a hat of peacock feathers she saw while window shopping and becomes absolutely consumed by the thought of purchasing it. She second guesses herself about wanting the hat by considering two others, a red one with a tortoiseshell rose and a beige with a fuchsia ribbon, before resolving once again that she wants the hat with peacock feathers.


Sally's husband Bill, the lawyer, worries that his wife's "dummy" outburst is a double-entendre and that she may have discovered his amorous relationship with another woman named Cymbaline. He continues his soliloquy describing Cymbaline's captivating beauty and contemplating her whereabouts, jealously wondering who she may be with tonight, and regretting that he is married to the neurotic Sally rather than her. 


Geraldine wonders why Bill is so distracted, deciding that it is neither by his wife Sally, whom she refers to as his "long discarded queen," nor herself, with whom he used to play footsie under the card table. Her inner-monologue is lamentful, asking who loves her and whom she loves. She lists the people she knows do not love her: "the foolish knave of hearts" in reference to Bill, her father, "my stock market husband" in reference to David, and their "football son." She then regrets not having a relationship with her dying mother when she had had the chance, begging her not to die now that she is "learning to love" her.


Finally, David, Geraldine's husband, expresses how unhappy he is with his life, stating that his epitaph will read, "Worked for Mister Pritchett ev'ry day and ev'ry night played bridge with Sally and Bill." He then fantasizes about what he would do if he were as rich or richer than his boss, whom he loathes and envies. He imagines his life in Palm Beach as "the King of Diamonds." 

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