McKenna, Edward (M.A. 1973)

The Reverend Edward J. McKenna presented the first western hemisphere performance of the 1668 Roman opera, La Comica del Cielo (La Baltasara), libretto by Giulio Rospigliosi (Pope Clement IX) with music of Antonio Maria Abbatini, on Sunday, October 11th at 3:00 P.M. at Our Lady of Pompeii Shrine (1224 W. Lexington Ave., Chicago). The three-act opera was staged with costumes and accompanied by the McKenna Ensemble of which Father McKenna is founder/director. According to Margaret Murata’s “Operas of the Papal Court” (U of C dissertation), Rospigliosi was one of the great librettists of early opera and first to conceive of opera buffa (comic opera). Andrew Schultze (of Rockefeller Chapel Choir) sang the comic character, Biscotto, and Farida Weller, in the title role of Baltasarathe – actress who forsakes the stage, her lover and the world in pursuit of a divine calling. The performance will be followed by a celebration of Father McKenna’s 70th birthday.

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