Fighting Irish vs. Golden Panthers; ‘The Wild Duck’ and ‘Così fan tutte’ on Local Stages (Sat., 11/7/15)

1) The Pitt Panthers football team take on the top ten ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish today. Pitt had been walking on rarefied air up until the North Carolina Tar Heels burst their bubble last week. Which caused Pitt’s breakdown, the poor offensive play calling or the lack of pressure on the quarterback that left Pitt’s defensive backs hung out to dry, or both. The good news is that the Panthers usually play Notre Dame very tough. Kickoff is at noon. Heinz Field, 100 Art Rooney Ave., North Shore.

2) Shall we compare the plays of Henrik Ibsen to chocolate brownies? They are dark and rich, and so good that once you try one, you want more. Just keep in mind that the Norwegian master differs from the popular dessert in that he does not provide happy endings. The Wild Duck, which is being presented by Point Park’s Conservatory Theatre, has one of the grimmest and most shocking. The story leading up to that end has some elements similar to Ibsen’s Ghosts: A prominent man turns out to have behaved badly in the past, and the secret of his affair with a household servant hovers darkly over the present. But in The Wild Duck, the resulting tensions and conflicts play out much differently, with a core question being whether the truth should be revealed to someone who maybe doesn’t need to know. 2 and 8 p.m. Continues through November 22. There is actually a duck in the story, and death, and it isn’t the duck’s. Studio Theatre at Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland.

3) Put into casual modern English, the title of Mozart’s Così fan tutte would be something like “That’s what they all do,” meaning women of course. But the men are the real cads in this comic opera that has become a fan favorite. The plot in a nutshell: Two soldiers agree to test the faithfulness of their fiancées by pretending to go off to war, then coming back in disguise so each can try to seduce the other’s betrothed. After many twists, everyone ends up happy, with plenty of laughs and good music along the way. The opera was formerly considered so risqué that for long periods and in many places it was withheld from the repertoire or presented only in sanitized form. Pittsburgh Opera is performing Così fan tutte as Mozart intended, with the memorable scenes and singing intact … because nowadays, that’s what they all do. 8 p.m. Performances through November 15. Benedum Center, 237 7th Ave., Cultural District.

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Rick Handler

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