FRIDAY 8/23-SUNDAY 8/25. 7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 2:30 p.m. Sun. The Studio Theatre, 320 W. 7th St. $35-$50.
The problem of updating opera for an internet generation, if indeed it is a problem, is at the very least not a new one. Take Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Old Maid & The Thief,” for example, originally conceived as a radio play in 1939, and only later adapted for the stage. The opera-buffa has become a staple of opera season programs for a lot of reasons: It’s a one-act. It’s in English. It doesn’t require expensive tenors or elaborately scaffolded stage sets. And, in the right hands, it can be clever and farcical and wickedly catty. Here, Opera in the Rock presents Menotti’s comedy with “larger-than-life actors, onstage music, live sound effects and commercial breaks,” a press release says, with Kevin Lambert as director, singer-songwriter/pianist John Willis as musical director, Erick Saoud on percussion, and two of Central Arkansas’s most respected voice instructors — Diane Kesling and Christine Donahue — singing. They’re joined by Shannon Rookey, Ron Jensen-McDaniel and Sarah Stankiewicz Dailey. A $50 VIP ticket includes a drink voucher and first-rate seating, and student admission is $25. See centralarkansastickets.com or oitr.org for tickets.