A chance meeting between two women in Italy is the focus of the latest West Virginia University Opera Theatre production,Roman Fever.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7-8 in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre in WVU s Creative Arts Center on the Evansdale Campus. A matinee will be at 3:15 p.m. Feb. 9.

The show will be directed by Robert Thieme, head of WVU s opera program in the College of Creative Arts. It will also feature the WVU Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mitchell Arnold.

The one-act opera was written by Robert Ward, who based it on a short story by Edith Wharton and works by Viennese composer Robert Stolz. The story line follows the chance meeting of two women and their daughters. The women are friends who first met 22 years earlier, but gradually lost touch with one another.

Both recently widowed, they meet again while bringing their daughters to visit Rome for the first time. As they reminisce about their experiences with the fatalRoman Fever,the women discover comic and tragic revelations about their lives that are universal to everyone.

The part of Alida Shade is performed by Sarah Lynch of Charleston, a WVU student who is studying for a masters degree in voice.

Other WVU music undergraduates, their hometowns and roles, are as follows: Dana Dalesio, Washington, Pa., as Grace Ansley; Sarah Grisso, Morgantown, as Barbara Ansley; Dorothy Smith, Broadway, Va., as Jenny Slade; and Justin Barclay, Frostburg, Md., as the waiter, Eduardo.

For the second half of the concert, the WVU Opera Theatre will be joined by the University Singers for performances of works by Stoltz, an operetta composer who worked during Viennassilver age of operetta.

As a composer, Stoltz was advised and encouraged by Johann Strauss. The catalogue of Stoltzs works numbers more than 1,400 with at least 60 being full operettas or musicals. Although he lived much of his life in Vienna, Stoltz also spent time in the United States in the 1940s, where he conducted orchestras and introduced America toA Night in Vienna.

For tickets and information, contact the Mountainlair Box Office at 304-293-SHOW.