Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Rinaldo" Opens Saturday, July 11

The third and final offering in this summer's Central City Opera season is Rinaldo, a baroque masterpiece by G.F. Handel that first appeared onstage in 1711. Because of the period in which it was written, the opera's two primary male roles (Rinaldo and Eustazio) were filled by castrati. Nowadays, of course, these parts are sung either by countertenors or mezzo-sopranos.

In the accompanying preproduction photo by the incomparable Matthew Staver (who also supplied the earlier pix posted here for Lucia and A Little Night Music), we see (L - R) Phyllis Pancella as Rinaldo and Megan Hart as Almirena. Also, Kathleen Kim appears as Armida, with Jason Abrams as Eustazio.

The story uses as its backdrop the First Crusade, although the historical implications of those times act primarily as a vehicle for what is ultimately a love story. The libretto is loosely based on an epic poem by Torquato Tasso (Italy's most famous poet after Dante, and himself the subject of a rarely performed opera by Donizetti), whose title translates to "Jerusalem Delivered."

Central City Opera's production of Rinaldo is directed by Marc Astafan, and the conductor is Matthew Halls. Including this Saturday's debut (with its 8:00 p.m. curtain), the opera will be performed a total of seven times between now and August 1. Tickets still remain and may be purchased online as well as by phone.

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