Bethel College presents “Operatic Irregulars,” including the world’s shortest opera

Erin Kinzel

Bethel College will present “Operatic Irregulars,” a performance filled with fast-paced comedy, on Sept. 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Everest-Rohrer Chapel/Fine Arts Center – Auditorium, 1001 Bethel Circle, Mishawaka, Ind. Admission is free.

Students will present two mini-operas, both sung in English. Opening the evening will be the world’s shortest opera, “Little Harlequinade” by Antonio Salieri (rival of Mozart). It tells the story of a love triangle, resolved to the satisfaction of all in just eight minutes.

The second opera is an American classic, “The Old Maid and the Thief.” Written for radio in 1939 by Italian-American composer Gian-Carlo Menotti, it is among the most often staged operatic works by small colleges and performing groups. Written for just four singers, it is about a small-town old maid and her younger housemaid, who entertain a brief random visit from a hobo. The lovelorn women are so delighted by the handsome young man that they immediately invite him in and make him feel at home, offering him the guest bedroom. The next day, though, a gossipy neighbor shares news about a dangerous escaped convict in the area. The two, still attracted to but now also frightened by their guest, resolve to be overly friendly and generous to him, so that he won’t murder them. The scrapes they get into, and their final confrontation with him, are truly hilarious.

For more information, contact the Bethel College Music Department at 574.807.7575. For a list of upcoming fine arts events at Bethel College, visit