Everybody is familiar with the ax murderess Lizzie Borden. She's typecast in our collective memory as the classic example of a well-kept New England spinster, unloved and cold and so frustrated with her life that she was driven mad — mad enough to viciously murder both her father and stepmother one fine summer morning. But even though Borden is infamous as a killer, she was acquitted by the courts, and the crime has never been officially solved. Jack Beeson's opera Lizzie Borden approaches the story through a combination of historical fact, dramatic license and psychological analysis — and Lizzie's definitely the killer in this one. Beeson's Lizzie is trapped in the family home, suffering mental and emotional abuse at the hands of her parents but also buffering her sister, Margret, from the same abuse. When Margret is able to escape through marriage, Lizzie's mental state rapidly deteriorates, and famously bad things happen. The Washington University Opera presents Lizzie Borden at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (February 22 and 23) at Washington University's Edison Theatre (6445 Forsyth Boulevard; 314-965-6543). Tickets are $12 to $18.
Fri., Feb. 22; Sat., Feb. 23, 2008