The photo is an iconic image of post-World War II America: A bustling downtown main street lined with sturdy Chevys, Fords and Chryslers. Pedestrians strolling past a hodgepodge of storefronts with flashy light-up signs: Barbays Self-Service Market, King Drugs, Florsheim shoes, Coca Cola. This was Ferguson, Mo., in the late 1950s, just past the midpoint of its 120-year history.
Musicologists have had a field day divvying up the operas of the towering Italian genius Giuseppe Verdi. “Rigoletto” -- performed this weekend with artistic muscle and dramatic agility by Union Avenue Opera – is pigeonholed in his middle period, along with the Il trovatore and La traviata.