A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

If you haven’t seen a POP opera, consider this: Pacific Opera Project presents “Salieri vs. Mozart” at the South Pasadena Library April 16-24. POP’s productions are creative, intelligent and always highly entertaining. You can join in the fun and be “Emperor for a Day” too! Oh, and POP tickets sell out fast.

Mozart and Salieri square off in this competition of delightful one-act operas.  While the rivalry between these two composers may be a bit overblown thanks to the hit movie “Amadeus,” this competition actually happened. Emperor Joseph II of Austria sponsored a contest between the two composers on Feb. 7, 1786, in the Orangery at the Schönbrunn Palace, the Emperor and his guests seated at a long table. Mozart’s German singspiel “Der Schauspieldirektor” (The Impresario) was staged first on one end of the room, then the guests turned in their seats to watch Salieri’s Italian buffo opera, “Prima la musica, e poi le parole” (First the Music, then the Words) at the other end.

POP will recreate this event in the beautiful South Pasadena Library, complete with patrons turning chairs at intermission. The Mozart will be updated to present day and sung in a new English translation, while the Salieri will be set traditionally and sung in Italian, with projected titles. Both operas will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra. Following in the footsteps of “Ariadne auf Naxos” and “Viva la Mamma!,” we’ll take plenty of “pop”-shots at ourselves in these two pieces, both of which are about making opera. Speaking of shots — don’t miss out on bottomless wine at this production. Get a $10 drink ticket at checkout when you buy your seats.

Seating for this production is very limited at 150 seats per night. There are multiple options for seating at different price ranges. If you want to have great seats down front for both shows, make sure to get the premium seats. And if you want the very best seat in the house, consider being “Emperor for a Day.” At each performance, one lucky patron and their guest will be given the royal treatment, complete with front row thrones, free drinks, ceremonial duties and maybe even a cape, crown and scepter. The majority of the ticket price for the Emperor seats can be written off as a tax-deductible donation and will help underwrite this fun-filled production.

For tickets and information ,visit www.pacificoperaproject.com.