6 The Freeport Opera House

One of Freeport’s few bastions of cultural enlightenment, the opera house is a magnificent place for experiencing all sorts of entertainment. It hosts not just operas but also a variety of stage shows, from concerts to plays and everything in between. Prices for the shows vary widely; the wealthy can afford the best boxes, while the middle classes can vie for a spot in the nosebleed sections. A wide cross-section of Freeport’s inhabitants attend the shows, making this one of the few places where the wealthiest members of the community can rub shoulders with the less fortunate without fear of some kind of clash. People come here to be entertained, after all, not to rob or pick fights with each other.

History
A consortium of aristocrats built the Freeport Opera House just over a hundred years ago in an effort to bring some semblance of culture to Freeport. The Sea Lord at the time commissioned a brand-new opera from one of the greatest composers of the day, Fiarella Donadrien. This ancient elven songstress poured so much of her heart and soul into the composition that she died shortly after its first performance. Ever since, every time Donadrien’s masterpiece was played in the opera house, her ghost returned to listen to the tune. During the show, the ghost would hide backstage, swept up in the majesty of the notes; after the show was over, she would remain for a day and invariably kill a person or two involved in the opera’s production.

The 100th anniversary of the Opera House’s construction was to have featured performances of Donadrien’s opera every night for a month, surely dooming the city to a cultural bloodbath. Desperate to prevent a disaster, the opera house’s director at the time, Gorsky Glitterlights, had the Opera House exorcised and the ghost laid to rest. But before the commemorative performances could begin, Freeport erupted in the Succession Riots; Gorsky was killed in the riots, the Opera House closed its doors for several months, and the anniversary passed without any performances.

The Opera House reopened under a new director, actor Rickard Burbage, and since, it has focused less on opera and more on theater. But recently, the House’s patrons have indicated that they’d like to see a greater emphasis on opera at, well, the Opera House, and Burbage has sulkily fallen into line. The delayed anniversary performance of Donadrien’s opera is due to take place quite soon, and promises to be one of the cultural and social highlights of the season.

Description
The Opera House is an imposing three-story construction, featuring an altogether unnecessary array of gables, turrets, parapets, buttresses, cornices, and the occasional stone gargoyle. No amount of theatrical excess was too much for the original builders, and overly sensitive foreign architects have been known to weep in horror upon seeing the building. Large double doors at the front allow patrons to enter, while several doors at the back lead down alleys to convenient taverns and hotels.

A massive chandelier dominates the interior of the building, hanging above the stage and the orchestra pit. Box seats are arrayed along the sides of the auditorium, while cheaper seats line up from the pit nearly to the ceiling. Behind the stage are catwalks, cramped spaces for stagehands to manipulate props and the curtain, a few dressing rooms, and (it’s rumored) numerous secret doors and passages riddling the building and even leading to the roof.

Prominent NPCs
Rikard Burbage: Rickard Burbage was the most popular actor in Freeport before taking on the position of director of the Opera House. There are days he regrets that; taking responsibility for an entire theater is far more work than simply being the flamboyant center of attention. He’s compensated for this by commissioning, directing, and of course having starred in several plays and musical works since becoming director. The renewed focus on serious opera (of all things!) will take the spotlight off him, which has made Burbage increasingly irritable as the date for the anniversary show draws near. Burbage is a skilled actor, singer, and all-around performer, but his true passion is for seducing the wives and daughters of Freeport’s nobility. His personal charisma is formidable, and he backs up his romantic skills with a small talent for magic and enchantment. Behind the swashbuckling and seductive exterior, though, is a cold, callous heart that craves only fame, wealth, and adulation.

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