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Actors in the upcoming Northern Light Opera Company production "The Old Maid and the Thief" are, from left, Gail Haller, who will play nosy neighbor Miss Pinkerton; Mark Fulfs, the thief; Julie Kaiser, the Old Maid Miss Todd and Brinn Krabbenhoft, Miss Todd's servant Laetitia. (Riham Feshir / Enterprise)

Comic opera is a twisted, devilish tale

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A one-act, one-hour opera will portray years of small-town living.

The Northern Light Opera Company will present "The Old Maid and the Thief" in three performances the weekend of Jan. 15 at Hubbard's Long Lake Theater.

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The Old Maid and the Thief was originally written by Italian-American composer Gian Carlo Menotti. It was the first-ever radio only production that premiered in 1939. It later debuted on stage in 1941. Local actors in the production say they've enjoyed rehearsing for this one-act opera because it's unique. It's not as popular as other productions they've performed in the past.

"There is more music in one hour than any of the other musicals we've done," said NLOC artistic director Paul Dove.

The Old Maid and the Thief tells the story of Miss Todd (Julie Kaiser) and "nosy neighbor" Miss Pinkerton (Gail Haller) whose lives have been upset by men.

Miss Todd's servant, Laetitia, (Brinn Krabbenhoft), is afraid of becoming a spinster. She doesn't want to end up like Miss Todd, or Miss Pinkerton.

So she keeps Bob around. Bob is the "the beggar who's thought to be a thief" and is played by Mark Fulfs.

"To be killed by a man would be better than to live without one" is one of Laetitia's lines in the show.

Miss Todd (the old maid) is the popular, manipulative one in the small community she lives in. Miss Pinkerton is the gossip who spreads a rumor about Bob being a thief after hearing about a criminal on the loose whose descriptions matched Bob's.

The opera is a humorous tale of twisted minds and evil.

"'The devil couldn't do what a woman can - make a thief of an honest man' is the key line in this," Kaiser said, referring to Menotti's script.

The production may change the minds of those who think they don't like operas.

"A one-hour show can give you a different idea even if you hate opera," Krabbenhoft said. The four actors will represent a tiny community of a few hundred with all the gossip, rumors, competition and jealousy. All four put their own twist on the original characters.

"It's really a story about the manipulation that people experience in small towns," Krabbenhoft said. "And get what they want."

The Old Maid and the Thief will be staged at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 15-16 and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17 at Long Lake Theater. Tickets are $15 each. For more information, call 732-7096.

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