The Anonymous Lover Title


A beautiful young widow is disillusioned with romance. Her dear friend is sending her anonymous love letters to express his feelings. Will true love prevail? (It’s a comedy, so of course it will.)

Premiering in 1780, The Anonymous Lover is the only surviving opera by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. A pioneering Black composer, conductor, and violinist, Bologne achieved great renown throughout 18th-century France. Brighten up winter with the Wisconsin premiere of this charming opera!

The Anonymous Lover Title

Friday, February 2, 2024 at 8 pm
Sunday, February 4, 2024 at 2:30 pm
Capitol Theater
Sung in French with English dialogue and projected English translations

approx. run time: 90 minutes without intermission

The Anonymous Lover

Music by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint Georges
Libretto by Desfontaines-Lavallée 
Based on the play L’Amant Anonyme by Stéphanie Félicité, Comtesse de Genlis

Premiered 18 March 1780
Private theater of Madame de Montesson

Madison Opera Premiere

Valcour has been hopelessly in love with Léontine, a beautiful young widow, for years. With the help of his friend Ophémon, Valcour has been showering Léontine with gifts, flowers, and love letters. He has done so anonymously; Léontine felt betrayed after her late husband’s death and Valcour is certain that she has no interest in romance. He tells Ophémon that he has lost all hope of winning her affections, while Ophémon responds that it is time for Valcour to reveal his secret. Léontine accidentally overhears this conversation and learns that she is madly loved by Valcour. 

Léontine, trying to conceal her new knowledge that Valcour loves her, asks him to settle a dispute she is having with her friend Dorothée. The anonymous lover has sent Léontine a bouquet of flowers along with a letter asking her to carry it at a wedding later that day; if she doesn’t, he will take it as a sign that he should leave her alone. Dorothée thinks that it would do no harm for Léontine to accept the flowers. Wanting to see Valcour’s reaction, Léontine claims she does not want to hurt her secret admirer, but doesn’t want to lead him on either. Valcour convinces Léontine to carry the bouquet. 

Jeannette and Colin, a young couple about to be married, express their thanks to Léontine for making their wedding possible. They hope that everyone might be as filled with love and joy as they are. Léontine is surprised, but this wedding seems to be one of the festivities the anonymous lover regularly organizes for her. The guests are enthusiastic to prepare the wedding and the joy is contagious.

Dorothée, Léontine, and Valcour find themselves alone for a brief moment as all guests start the festivities. Valcour tells Léontine that the anonymous lover might very well be watching them nearby, and convinces her to call out to and ask him to reveal himself. When she does so, Valcour overdramatically answers that he himself is the tormented anonymous lover.  Léontine feels overwhelmed, even dizzy.  Valcour and Ophémon quickly try to convince Léontine that it was all in jest, while Jeannette and Colin are sympathetic to Léontine’s obvious emotional distress.  

Later that evening, Léontine laments that Valcour is unlikely to understand her feelings, and wishes she could unburden her heart to him. Ophémon, pushed by Valcour, arrives and improvises news that he has spoken to the anonymous lover. Pressed by Léontine, Ophémon says the anonymous lover worries that it would be impossible for Léontine to love him, but wishes to reveal his identity anyway. Léontine agrees to the meeting. 

As she awaits the arrival of her not-so-secret admirer, Léontine reflects that her heart is now full of unexpected passion. When Valcour shows up, explaining that he’s just there to be her supportive friend, Léontine desperately tries to get him to confess his love for her. As Ophémon, Dorothée, and eventually the whole village listen outside the door, Léontine and Valcour finally confess their love for each other. Valcour is about to reveal that he himself is the Anonymous Lover when Léontine kisses him, putting an end to the conversation. 

Léontine and Valcour join Jeannette and Colin for what is now a double wedding. The two couples celebrate their happiness with songs and dances. 


2324 Headshot Keely Futterer
Keely Futterer

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Rodelinda, Rodelinda (Hudson Opera House); Armida, Rinaldo (Minnesota Opera); Armida, Rinaldo; Vanderdendur, Candide; Angostura, Tenor Overboard (The Glimmerglass Festival); Fiordiligi, Così fan tutte (Opera Memphis); Marie, The Daughter of the Regiment (Opera Saratoga)
Upcoming: Anna Sørensen, Silent Night (Wolf Trap Opera); Charlene, Service Provider; Jazz Trio Soprano, Trouble in Tahiti; Musetta, La Bohème (Minnesota Opera)

2324 Headshot David Blalock
David Blalock

Madison Opera Debut: Jaquino, Fidelio (2014)
Recently at MO: 2nd Jew, Salome; Opera in the Park 2019
Duke, Rigoletto (Opera Columbus); Macduff, Working for the Macbeths (American Lyric Theater); Gastone, La Traviata; Pong, Turandot (Metropolitan Opera); Alfredo, La Traviata (Opera Columbus, Arizona Opera); Tamino, The Magic Flute (Northern Lights Festival, Pensacola Opera); Don Ottavio, Don Giovanni (Pensacola Opera); Ferrando, Così fan tutte (Bar Harbor Music Festival); Younger Thompson, Glory Denied (Atlanta Opera)

2324 Headshot Yazid Gray
Yazid Gray

Madison Opera Debut: Sam, Trouble in Tahiti (2023)
Recently: Soloist, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (New Mexico Philharmonic); Dancaïre, Carmen; Baloo, The Jungle Book (Glimmerglass Festival); Homecoming Soldier, The Falling and the Rising (Intermountain Opera Bozeman); Woodcutter / Outlaw, In a Grove; Dancaïre, Carmen; Policeman #3, Blue; 2nd Priest, The Magic Flute (Pittsburgh Opera)
Upcoming: Mercutio, Roméo et Juliette; George Armstrong, Intimate Apparel (Arizona Opera)

Brianna Murray, Soprano. In a green dress in front of a stone wall.
Brianna Murray

Madison Opera Debut
Madison Opera Studio Artist
Recently: Pamina, The Magic Flute; Anne, A Little Night Music (Quisisana Resort); Adina, The Elixir of Love (Bloomington Chamber Opera); Papagena, The Magic Flute; Lay Sister, Suor Angelica; Barbarina, The Marriage of Figaro; Juliet, Star Cross’d Lovers; Street Singer, Bernstein’s Mass; Angelica, The Three Hermits (Indiana University); Soloist, Mozart’s C Minor Mass (Bloomington Chamber Singers)
Upcoming: Oberto, Alcina (St. Petersburg Opera Company)

Headshot of Hailey Cohen
Hailey Cohen

Madison Opera Debut
Madison Opera Studio Artist
Recently: Hattie, American Gothical (Cedar Rapids Opera); Sally, The Boy Who Wanted to be a Robot; K., Would You Eat Me? (Thompson Street Opera); Ember, Future Perfect (Bellissima Opera); Goddess of Hope, Droplet (Vizin Virtual Productions); Hansel, Hansel and Gretel (Vienna Summer Music Festival); Orfeo, Orfeo ed Euridice; Littler Daughter, Proving Up; Barbarina, The Marriage of Figaro (University of Michigan Opera)
Upcoming: Paquette, Candide (Madison Opera)

William Johnson Headshot
William Johnson

Madison Opera Debut: Spoletta, Tosca (2023)
Madison Opera Studio Artist 
Recently: Don Ottavio, Don Giovanni (Mozart in the Knobs); Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (Albany Symphony); Tamino, The Magic Flute; Rodolfo, La Bohème; Fabian, If I were You (Northwestern University Opera Theater)

2324 Headshot Michele Rofrano
Michelle Rofrano

Madison Opera Debut
La Cenerentola (Toledo Opera); La Traviata (City Lyric Opera);  Dream of the Red Chamber (San Francisco Opera); The Turn of the Screw (Curtis Institute of Music)

Upcoming: Turandot (Fargo Moorhead Opera); Les Mamelles and The Seven Deadly Sins (Curtis Opera)

2324 Headshot Stephanie Havey
Stephanie Havey
Stage Director

Madison Opera Debut: Orpheus in the Underworld (2022)
Albert Herring (Oberlin Conservatory); Aida (Finger Lakes Opera); Madama Butterfly (Opéra de Montréal); Rigoletto (Utah Symphony and Opera); Tosca (Arizona Opera); The Marriage of Figaro (Pittsburgh Opera)

Upcoming:  L’Orfeo (Oberlin Conservatory); Così fan tutte (Virginia Opera)


Sally and Mike Miley

Ann Lindsey in Memory of Chuck Snowdon

John Lemke and Pamela Oliver