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Bronxville Union Free School District

‘Don Trump, the Opera’ on Stage at Bronxville High School

Drawing inspiration from the political process and the national election, Bronxville High School senior Sam Arcano has composed an original Italian-language operetta, titled “Don Trump.” The production, which was staged at the Bronxville School auditorium on April 3, featured members of the high school orchestra, student-performers and a professional singer.  

The two-act satirical operetta tells the story of a man’s battles with his opponents and his own delusions. It is told from the perspective of Don Trump, who sets off in his ego-driven quest to become president and defeat the evil witch Hilaria.

“It all started with my confusion about the election or not understanding how this could be going on,” said Arcano, whose project combined his passions for politics, music and the Italian language. “Simultaneously being scared and thinking it’s hilarious, I had the thought of portraying that. Then, I pictured all these politicians singing opera in Italian and it was a really funny idea, so I went from there.”
 
Arcano, who started writing the libretto and composing the music for his operetta last February, premiered the first act last spring at the Spring Innovation Expo, a family-school partnership event that celebrated the creative spirit across the Bronxville School community, to receive feedback. The overture – an orchestral piece at the beginning of an opera – came from a sonata he had previously written for strings and reused for a full orchestra. He finished the second act in early March this year.

Music teacher Dr. Denise Lutter, who mentors the talented student as part of a music composition independent study, said staging an opera is incredibly difficult, but Arcano had done it with ease. He was involved in all aspects of the operetta – from the musical composition for each instrument and voice to the orchestral conducting and theatrical staging.

“He’s truly passionate about what he does,” Lutter said. “He’s making sense of the world and creating his own path and that’s really quite impressive for a high school student. This had been a game-changing political season and through his art, Sam has asked people to think about it in different ways.”

Arcano, who has been playing the guitar for years but only learned how to write and read music when he took an Advanced Placement music theory class with Dr. Lutter last year, said he never pictured staging his own operetta.

“Seeing my own music in full performance is a wonderful experience because it goes from something I wrote on a page in February last year to being a fully-staged performance in front of a huge audience,” he said.