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Sudden squall rains on Opera on the Lake

by MIKE BULLARD/Special to The Press
| July 22, 2022 1:00 AM

The wild ending to Sunday night’s opera on Lake Coeur d’Alene was not part of the script.

Two cruise boats, Mish-an-Nock and Coeur d’Alene, lashed together, set out under a beautiful blue sky, with only a 5% chance of rain. A sold-out crowd on top expected a sunset cruise of music, food and drink. Inland Northwest Opera has been producing this opera cruise for many years.

Through the first act of Donizetti’s comic opera, "Don Pasquale," sung in English, the audience was treated to gathering orange and pink glowing evening clouds. As the comedy progressed, a dramatic pair of rainbows appeared and the ship’s captain maneuvered away from an approaching light rain shower.

As food was being served late in the second half, gumball-sized graupel began to fall and turned to light rain, at first. The performers kept going, as the audience laughed even louder at their wet costumes and props.

At the first distant lightning, the boats wisely turned toward the dock, but the cast kept performing and most of the audience stayed to watch. Near the end of the show, hair started standing on end and the electronic piano shorted out. That was when the crowd was ushered safely below decks, but even that did not end the show.

Below deck, each group got a shortened version of the ending, with a tongue-ripping bass/baritone duet that would make any auctioneer proud. Sung without accompaniment, that piece was introduced appropriately as “The Lightning Duet.”

After bows, guests were invited to come back the next night for free, but no guarantee was made for a repetition of the dazzling special effects.

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