Opera returns to EC with 'The Medium: A Haunted Opera'

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Madame Flora (center), played by Sandra Krueger, offers to tell the fortune of guests attending the October First Friday ArtWalk at Arts of the Albemarle, Friday, Oct. 5. Krueger was dressed in character to promote Music Off Main's upcoming presentation of the opera, "The Medium: A Haunted Opera." The opera will be presented by Music Off Main at AoA's The Center, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $50.


By Chris Day
Multimedia Editor

Friday, October 26, 2018

Madame Flora has foreseen an entertaining night at the opera in Elizabeth City. That’s likely the medium’s only prediction you can trust.

“The Medium: A Haunted Opera” takes the stage Saturday at Arts of the Albemarle’s Maguire Theater.

Presented by Music Off Main, the one-night-only, English-sung performance will feature a cast of professional actors from as far away as Ontario, Canada.

Originally written by Gian Carlo Menotti, “The Medium” takes place in the southern United States, said Kelly Balmaceda, owner and director of Music Off Main. The opera is accompanied by piano.

“The Medium” tells the story of a woman named Madame Flora who cons customers by holding bogus seances in her house and feeding them made-up tidbits from beyond the grave about their loved ones.

“Obviously, her patrons don’t know it’s fake,” said Balmaceda, who will perform as Flora’s daughter, Monica. 

During one seance Madame Flora, performed by Sandra Krueger, has a frightening experience that causes her to believe she’s truly being haunted by the supernatural. The moment drives her to insanity.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an opera if not for one commonality: “Like all great operas, someone dies,” Balmaceda said. 

The stage will be constructed to appear as an abandoned Maguire Theater that Madame Flora has taken up as her studio. 

“We have some incredible antique pieces, rustic columns,” Balmaceda explained. “It sets the scene for an abandoned Maguire Theater used as Flora’s shop.”

Another interesting aspect of the performance is it will mark the return of opera to Elizabeth City in nearly 100 years, said Balmaceda.  

“It’s really exciting to have opera in our community again,” she said. 

While the performance features all professional singers, it will also include local talent.  

“We’re featuring one of our local high school stars,” Balmaceda said, referring to William Brickhouse. 

Brickhouse, a senior at Camden County High School, partnered with fellow alumni at Arts of the Albemarle’s Center Players in presenting this past summer’s “Main Street Cabaret.” He will play the role of Toby, Flora’s mute servant. 

“The Medium” has already generated so much community excitement that a three-course dinner set for before the show has already sold out, Balmaceda said. The dinner will include food from Hoppin’ Johnz, Cypress Creek Grill and Flour Girls Bakery. There also will be a cash bar hosted by Elizabeth City’s own Ghost Harbor Brewing Company. 

Show time is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are still available but Balcameda says don’t wait too long to buy them. 

“We recommend tickets in advance,” she said. 

Tickets range in price from $15 to $50 and can be bought online at Music Off Main’s website ecmusicoffmain.com. 

“The Medium” will also star Nicole Percifield, as the grief-stricken mother Mrs. Nolan, according to Balmaceda. Standing in as Mr. and Mrs. Gobineau, who lost their baby son years earlier, will be Scott Williamson and Kimberly Christie. Accompanying as pianist will be Rachel Gragson and directing is Jennifer Blades, from Baltimore. 

“I say come ready for a great night of singing,” Balmaceda said.