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Livermore Valley Opera presenting Verdi's 'A Masked Ball'

Italian favorite is one of opera's most gripping tales

A tragic love triangle and a sinister conspiracy -- mixed with jealousy, betrayal, guilt and forgiveness -- describes Verdi's "A Masked Ball," the March production of the Livermore Valley Opera at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore from March 10-18.

A classic Verdi Italian opera, "Un Ballo in Maschera" is the tale of King Gustav who falls in love with Amelia, his best friend's wife, so he sends the couple away. The husband already suspects they are lovers and in a jealous rage joins a murderous conspiracy that climaxes at a masked ball in a moving finale.

This will be the first time LVO has produced this Verdi opera, which will be sung in Italian with English supertitles. Artistic director Erie Mills has sung the role of Oscar, the King's page, many times.

"This is a gorgeous opera by Verdi, yet not often performed," Mills said. "We are so excited to have back with us LVO favorites tenor Christopher Bengochea and baritone Eugene Brancoveanu, both of whom are powerful and charismatic singers. Also, Adler Fellow soprano Sarah Cambidge will make her LVO debut as Amelia."

Pre-opera talks will be held one hour prior to curtain time, and an artists' reception will take place in the lobby immediately following each performance.

Tickets for the opera are $42-$90, with $10 off for students 18 and younger. Purchase at LVOpera.com; at the Bankhead Theater box office, 2400 First St., Livermore; or by calling 373-6800.

Performances are as follows:

* 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 10

* 2 p.m., Sunday, March 11

* 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 17

* 2 p.m., Sunday, March 18

An opening night gala celebration dinner begins at 4 p.m. at Uncle Yu's at the Vineyard. Gala tickets are $95.

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