Technically an American operetta, Sigmund Romberg's musical chestnut remains infused with the composer's distinctly Europeanspecifically Austro-Hungarianroots. The young Romberg studied composition in Vienna, moved to America in 1909, then scored Broadway hits in the 1920s, including this tuneful 19th century work. The show isn't produced very often, but that's just the kind of challenge that inspires Nashville Opera artistic director John Hoomes, who thrives in mounting unabashedly romantic fare. Here, Hoomes matches legit operatic voices with Romberg's more theatrical, character-driven score, including such tearjerker classics as "Deep in My Heart" and "Serenade." There's also the manly gaiety of "Drink," in which hearty male voices avow to "Let every true lover salute his sweetheart!" But not simply a schmaltzy tale, The Student Prince in fact balances a certain storytelling realism with its soaring melodies, wrapping up with what Hoomes calls "a brave, bittersweet ending." Lyric tenor Mark Panuccio and soprano Jennifer Aylmer make their NOA debuts in the leading roles.
Sat., Nov. 22, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 23, 2 p.m.; Tue., Nov. 25, 7 p.m., 2008