So the Trade Wind Opera Company concludes its first season with this singular Mascagni operetta in three acts is based upon Carlo Lombardo’s operetta La duchessa del Bal Tabarin and Felix Dörmann’s libretto for Majestät Mimi.


Portrait of Si wearing a strand of millefiore “trade wind” beads from the operetta by Pieto Mascagni (1863-1945) and librettist Carlo Lombardo (1869-1959), design by Meredith Eliassen, 2016

This design depicts, Si, a woman with the romantic spirit of a nomad, someone who is initially carefree in her romantic life. Inspired by the design concept of the “girl head” or “gypsy” tattoo, Si has a colorful, bold, pretty face with detailed adornments. According to tattoo historians, this form of tattoo design is traced to nomadic gypsies, also known as the Romanis that migrated to Europe.

Stay tuned for more operatic designs…




Turandot by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) is most nearly based upon Turandot by Carlo Gozzi that is in turn based on a story from the 12th-century epic The Seven Beauties by Persian poet Nizami about a princess Turan-Dokht how was the daughter of Turan. Set in China, the Prince Calaf, falls in love with aloof Princess Turandot. In order to obtain permission to marry Turandot, any suitor must solve three riddles correctly, and any wrong answer will result in death. The Calaf passes the test, but Turandot still refuses to marry him. He offers her a way out: if she is able to learn his true identity before the next day dawns, he will sacrifice his own life.


Pictured here are Turandot, the Calaf, and his slave Liù. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2016.

Turandot, with a libretto by Giuseppe Adami (1878-1946) and Renato Simoni (1875-1952), was unfinished at the time of Puccini’s death in 1924 and was completed by Franco Alfano (1875-1954) two years later. It premiered on April 25, 1926.

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) composed and wrote the libretto for Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg = Tannhäuser and the Singers’ Contest at Wartburg Castle (1845), which is based uponon two German legends that once again focuses on redemption through love.


Will our protagonist choose mortal love after being seduced by a goddess? Which face with Tannhäuser show? Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2016.


Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers) is an opera in three acts by the French composer George Bizet (1838-1875) with a libretto by Eugène Cormon (1810-1903) and Michel Carré (1821-1872) that premiered in 1863.


An imaginary seascape for Les pêcheurs de perles set ancient island Ceylon featuring to pearl fishers. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2016.

Set ancient island Ceylon, The Peal Fishers is the story of two men who vow eternal friendship, which is threatened by their love for the same woman who is conflicted with her emotions related to secular love and her sacred oath as a priestess.


Wagner Tonight

February 24, 2016

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) composed and wrote the libretto for Der fliegende Holländer, which premiered in early 1843. In the story, Senta, the bored daughter of a sea captain spins her own reality about a legendary Dutchman who is cursed.


In Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer, the cursed Dutchman cannot seem to escape Senta’s head. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2016. Flying Dutchman Notecard

I have wanted to see Mascagni’s Calalleria Rusticana for a while and since San Francisco Opera has not done it, I thought I would try the Metropolitan Opera in a theater. It was a wonderful experience that I would recommend. You feel like you are in the Met with a back stage pass. I will definitely go again. The production was fabulous and intelligent. I won’t do a critique other than to say they made it real.

Verismo (realism) refers to the late-nineteenth-century Italian movement of the giovane scuola (young school) in literature, art, and music towards naturalism by spotlighting the passions of working class men and women. Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945) ushered in the Italian verismo movement with his masterful one-act melodrama Cavalleria rusticana, which introduced audiences to the passions of Sicily. Mascagni’s success spawned other artists to produce similar one-act operas that introduced fierce and sordid emotions including lust, betrayal, hatred, and even murder.

Mascagni came from humble roots, he entered his composition for Cavalleria rusticana in a competition to write a short one or two-act opera and was the winner.


Introductory woman’s chorus: The orange trees in the green groves scent the air, the larks sing through the flowering myrtles; now is the time for everyone to murmur the tender the tender song which quickens the heart. “Cavalleria rusticana” composed by Pietro Mascagni, 1963-1945 with libretto by Guido Menasci and Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti. Drawing by Meredith Eliassen.


The drama is hot when Santuzza learns she has lost her lover to a married woman named Lola, and it gets hotter when on Easter morning Santuzza informs Lola’s husband of the affair.