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 Previews

Wednesday, January 17 at 7:00 PM ~ Capitol Lakes (CANCELLED)
Friday, January 19 at 7:00 PM ~ Oakwood Village (West)

Opera Up Close

January 28, 1-3 PM
Madison Opera Center

Pre-Opera Talk

1 hour prior to curtain
Wisconsin Studio

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

The gardens outside Léontine’s château, late 1770s.

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 lost after her 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 arrives and asks Valcour 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. Léontine, conflicted over the request, says she does not wish 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 peasant 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 another 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 moment as the other 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 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, Valcour reaffirms his resolve to make Léontine fall in love with him.
Separately, Léontine laments that Valcour is unlikely to understand her feelings, and wishes she could unburden her heart to him. Ophémon 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 secret admirer, Léontine reflects that her heart is now full of unexpected passion. When Valcour shows up, explaining that he is just there to be her supportive friend, Léontine pleads with him to leave before the anonymous lover arrives. As Ophémon and Dorothée listen in secret, Léontine and Valcour finally confess their love for each other. Unable to contain their excitement, Ophémon and Dorothee tumble into the room and reveal a secret love of their own. Dorothée sings an ode to love, laughing at the unlikely scene.

Both couples join the festivities and celebrate with a double wedding.



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 Zegner Sister, 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)

Abbott III, George
George Abbott III

Madison Opera Debut: Inmate #3, Dead Man Walking (2014)
Recently at MO: 3rd Jew, Salome
Recently: Tamino, Queen of the Night; Sorcerer, Rinaldo; Opera in the Gardens; Opera on the Point (Fresco Opera); DF and Romantic Fish, Fish Fry (Fresco Opera, Tapit / New Works)

Gloss, Megan
Megan Gloss

Madison Opera Debut: Bridesmaid, The Marriage of Figaro (2023)
Recently: Mother Abbess, The Sound of Music (Grand Opera House, Dubuque); The Queen of the Night, The Magic Flute; Juliet, Romeo & Juliet (Dubuque Symphony Orchestra); Mabel, The Pirates of Penzance (Main Street Players Light Opera)

Stepka, Lauren
Lauren Stepka

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Opera on Tap – Wisconsin, Wisconsin Dickens Carolers

Swenson, Doug
Douglas Swenson

Madison Opera Debut: Mr. Splinters, The Tenderland (2008)
Also at MO: Hortensius, The Daughter of the Regiment; Zaretski, Eugene Onegin; Imperial Commissioner, Madama Butterfly
Recently: Orpheus, Orpheus Returns (Opera for the Young)

White, Ryan
Ryan White

Madison Opera Debut: Quartet, i>The Abduction from the Seraglio (2018)
Recently at MO: Jailer, Tosca; Cappadocian, Salome; Ensemble, She Loves Me
Recently: Captain Corcoran, HMS Pinafore (Midwest Cornish Festival); Priest, Kristi and the Priest (Belle Ensemble)

Alexandra Zulauf

Madison Opera Debut: Ensemble, She Loves Me (2022)
Recently: Madison Choral Project; ad meliora

Rofrano, Michelle
Michelle Rofrano

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

Upcoming: Turandot (Fargo Moorhead Opera); Les Mamelles de Tirésias 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)


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