When selecting its latest lineup of “pocket operas,” shorter works that aren’t normally presented together, the In Series opera company looked all the way back to 1918. Despite the turmoil surrounding the end of World War I in Europe in that year, both Stravinsky and Puccini managed to create L’Histoire Du Soldat (Story of the Soldier) and Gianni Schicchi, respectively. Stravinsky’s dance/dramatic reading is kind of like a Russian folk version of Back to the Future II: Biff’s stand-in is a soldier who obtains a book from the Devil that predicts the future and gets rich. Puccini’s opera is a farce about a clever peasant (here, a 1960s Philly con man) hired by a family to reclaim a disinheritance (in this version, a cheesesteak restaurant) from a deceased relative. With an English libretto and dance numbers by Jaime Coronado, who last choreographed The In Series’ great El Amor Brujo, the bill is a varied, if slightly incongruous mash-up.
The production runs June 15 to June 24 at GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St. NW. $21–$42. (202) 204-7763. inseries.org.