old-maid-rehearsal-laurabowden-150.jpgWith distinctive set and sound designs, Meadows Opera Theatre presents the first opera written exclusively for radio, Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief, at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5-6 in the Meadows Museum. The opera, which premiered on NBC’s “Toscanini Hour” in 1939, is set in small-town America in the late 1930s. A handsome stranger is visiting a strait-laced spinster and her flirtatious maid when a nosy neighbor informs the ladies that a dangerous criminal is on the loose, creating ironic complications that lead to a surprising conclusion.

As a tribute to the opera’s broadcast roots, Opera Director Hank Hammett and the Meadows Opera Theatre recreate a radio studio performance venue, complete with sound effects, a radio announcer and a full cast of singing actors. Admission is free. (Right, Meadows Advancement Associate Laura Bowden hits a high note during a dress rehearsal.)