October 2, 2012

More Information:
For Media Only: Helene Snihur (585-274-1057, hsnihur@esm.rochester.edu)

Eastman Opera Theatre Presents Britten’s ‘The Rape of Lucretia’ (Updated Oct. 23)

Friday, Oct. 26, Performance Sold Out

The Rape of Lucretia, Benjamin Britten’s 20th century treatment of a tragic ancient tale of power, corruption, violence, and virtue, will be presented by Eastman Opera Theatre Thursday, Oct. 25, through Sunday, Oct. 28, at the Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince St.

“Lucretia’s story is relevant today; we don’t have to look far into our society or today’s sensational news to find all of the themes and ideas addressed in Britten’s opera,” said Steven Daigle, the production’s director and chair of Eastman’s Voice and Opera Department. “It deals with complex issues of politics, suppression, institutional authority, and sexual dominance, and shows people wrestling with questions of religion, of right, wrong, and evil – all topics of contemporary public concern and discussion.”

Set in and around Rome at the end of the Etruscan period, the story opens with military men discussing the unfaithfulness of military wives. Only Lucretia, the wife of the Roman general Collatinus, has not betrayed her husband. The Etruscan prince Tarquinius, egged on by the Roman general Junius, decides to test Lucretia’s virtue and forces himself on her. Lucretia’s shame at being violated is too painful for her to bear, and she kills herself. Junius uses her death as the impetus to overthrow Etruscan rule and establish the Roman republic.

Central to the opera are the Female and Male Choruses, each a single character, who in the prologue describe Rome’s corruption and set the scene for the story. Throughout the opera, they describe and comment on events as they unfold. But rather than detached observers, Daigle noted, the choruses are also emotionally connected to the story because of their own relationship and their shared revulsion at the violence.

As staged by Daigle, the Female and Male Choruses are a couple living in the 21st century Hamptons and members of established Long Island families. Lucretia’s story, which the Female Chorus is reading, still takes place in the 5th century B.C., which allows the audience to draw parallels between the two worlds, time periods, and families, Daigle explained.

The Rape of Lucretia is a chamber opera, written for production in a small setting, with only eight characters accompanied by an ensemble of just 13 musicians. With two acts, the opera comes in at just under two hours. Musical director is Benton Hess, Distinguished Professor of Voice at Eastman. Eastman Opera Theatre’s production will be sung in English and is designed and arranged to seat an audience of 120, which will increase the intimacy of the setting and the powerful intensity of the story, said Daigle.

The Rape of Lucretia is being presented at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25, Friday, Oct. 26, and Saturday, Oct. 27; and with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Oct. 28. Pre-performance talks will be given on-site in the performance hall one hour before each show  of the Visual Studies Workshop.

Tickets to The Rape of Lucretia are $20 general admission (discounts with UR and student ID), and are available at the Eastman Theatre Box Office in the Eastman East Wing, 433 East Main St.;  by phone at 585-454-2100, or online at http://www.esm.rochester.edu/concerts/tickets.php

Parking Information: 10, 15, 19, 21, and 31 Prince Street are allocated parking lots for the opera production.

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Note to Editors: Below are calendar listings for the individual production dates; information in red are updates to the Eastman School of Music concert listings that were sent on August 16.  

Thursday, Oct. 25

Eastman Opera Theatre: Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia

7:30 PM

Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince St. (Please note: seating is limited for this opera production.)

Tickets: $20 general admission (discounts with UR and student ID), and are available at the Eastman Theatre Box Office in the Eastman East Wing, 433 East Main St.;  by phone at 585-454-2100, or online at http://www.esm.rochester.edu/concerts/tickets.php Pre-performance lecture: 6:30 p.m. in the performance hall, Visual Studies Workshop

Friday, Oct. 26– SOLD OUT

Eastman Opera Theatre: Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia

7:30 PM

Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince St. (Please note: seating is limited for this opera production.)

Tickets: $20 general admission (discounts with UR and student ID), and are available at the Eastman Theatre Box Office in the Eastman East Wing, 433 East Main St.;  by phone at 585-454-2100, or online at http://www.esm.rochester.edu/concerts/tickets.php

Pre-performance lecture: 6:30 p.m. in the performance hall, Visual Studies Workshop

Saturday, Oct. 27

Eastman Opera Theatre: Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia

7:30 PM

Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince St. (Please note: seating is limited for this opera production.)

Tickets: $20 general admission (discounts with UR and student ID), and are available at the Eastman Theatre Box Office in the Eastman East Wing, 433 East Main St.;  by phone at 585-454-2100, or online at http://www.esm.rochester.edu/concerts/tickets.php

Pre-performance lecture: 6:30 p.m. in the performance hall, Visual Studies Workshop

Sunday, Oct. 28

Eastman Opera Theatre: Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia

2 PM

Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince St. (Please note: seating is limited for this opera production.)

Tickets: $20 general admission (discounts with UR and student ID), and are available at the Eastman Theatre Box Office in the Eastman East Wing, 433 East Main St.;  by phone at 585-454-2100, or online at http://www.esm.rochester.edu/concerts/tickets.php

Pre-performance lecture: 1 p.m. in the performance hall, Visual Studies Workshop