The 2022/23 Eastman Opera Theatre (EOT) season continues with their interpretation of George Frideric Handel’s Alcina (1735) on January 28-29 and February 2-5, with Sunday performances at 2:00 PM and all others at 7:30 PM. The opera will take place in Eastman’s Opera Studio, an intimate black box theatre in Annex 804. Alcina tells a tale that pits love against lust and truth against trickery. It will be sung in Italian with English supertitles.
Alcina, written in 1735, is based on an excerpt from the epic poem Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto. It is a tale of sorcery, deception, and the triumph of true love over desire. On an enchanted island the powerful sorceress, Alcina, and her sister sorceress, Morgana, lure and seduce knights to be their lovers, only to discard them – transformed into animals, rocks, and vegetation – when they tire of their affection. As the opera begins, the heroic Bradamante arrives on the island in search of her fiancé, a knight who has been seduced by Alcina. With the help of her companion Melisso, Bradamante disguises herself as her brother Ricciardo to navigate the island in hopes of freeing her beloved from the clutches of Alcina’s magic, destroying the sorceress’ power in the process.
Eastman alumnus and current master’s candidate in Opera Direction, James Kenon Mitchell ‘09E, will direct, and EOT’s music director Timothy Long ‘92E (MM), will conduct. Eastman’s production of Alcina relocates the action from a physical island to the “island” of social media platforms – a landscape wherein Alcina and Morgana hold sway over their subjects through the manipulation of their image and the power afforded by communicating through a lens. Mitchell shares, “This production explores the ideas of magic and duplicity as they relate to para-social relationships with social media influencers. It reimagines the title character as a woman whose power and influence are dependent on her army of ‘subscribers’ and whose downfall is swift and terrible when she finds herself ‘cancelled.’” He adds that the audience can expect to enter an all-too-familiar world where “a filter, a ring light, and the right angles can turn anyone into a sorcerer.”
Eastman Opera Theatre’s performances of Alcina are scheduled for 7:30 PM on Saturday 1/28, Thursday 2/2, Friday 2/3, and Saturday 2/4, with matinees at 2:00 p.m. on Sundays 1/29 and 2/5. This shortened two-act version of Alcina is double-cast and runs for two hours.
Tickets are $20.00 for general admission. Internally, students, faculty, and staff may present their URID to receive one free ticket. Tickets can be purchased at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, 433 East Main St., or online at EastmanTheatre.org.
Looking ahead to EOT’s final show of this season, Daniel Catán’s Spanish-language opera Florencia en el Amazonas (1996), inspired by Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez’s novel Love in the Time of Cholera, will be presented March 30-31 and April 1-2. To read more about these performances, please see the EOT 2022/23 Season press release.
Visit EastmanTheatre.org for more information about this performance and other Eastman events.
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About Eastman Opera Theatre:
Eastman Opera Theatre offers a comprehensive program of training and performance opportunities for the modern singer-actor. Each year, productions feature a wide range of musical styles, unusual lyric forms, and both traditional and contemporary repertoire that prepare the motivated student for the professional lyric theater world of tomorrow.
Most productions have two complete principal casts (given an equal number of performances), are fully designed, performed in the original language, and depending on the venue, use full orchestral accompaniment. Studio productions, scenes programs, and outreach events are also offered to further enhance the variety of performance opportunities. Eastman Opera Theatre utilizes both undergraduate and graduate students in all roles for all productions.
Recent and past productions include Sondheim’s Into the Woods, Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea; Glass’ Hydrogen Jukebox and Les Enfants Terribles; Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza; Gordon’s The Tibetan Book of the Dead; Mozart’s Don Giovanni; and Puts’ Elizabeth Cree. EOT is committed to working with living composers and librettists. Recent production collaborators have included Anthony Davis, Adam Guettel, Jake Heggie, Gene Scheer, Ricky Ian Gordon, Kevin Puts, and Mark Campbell.
About Eastman School of Music:
The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training.
More than 900 students are enrolled in the Collegiate Division of the Eastman School of Music—about 500 undergraduates and 400 graduate students. They come from almost every state, and approximately 23 percent are from other countries. They are taught by a faculty comprised of more than 130 highly regarded performers, composers, conductors, scholars, and educators. They are Pulitzer Prize winners, Grammy winners, Emmy winners, Guggenheim fellows, ASCAP Award recipients, published authors, recording artists, and acclaimed musicians who have performed in the world’s greatest concert halls. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 900 concerts to the Rochester community. Additionally, more than 1,700 members of the Rochester community, from young children through senior citizens, are enrolled in the Eastman Community Music School.
About the University of Rochester:
The University of Rochester is one of the nation’s leading private research universities, one of only 62-member institutions in the Association of American Universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives undergraduates exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College, School of Arts and Sciences, and Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are complemented by the Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, and the Memorial Art Gallery.