Opera company HGO has announced details of its summer opera. The Hampstead, north London-based company will perform a fully staged new version of Handel’s Agrippina at London’s Jacksons Lane Theatre in May.
Performances take place at Haringey’s Jacksons Lane Theatre. Tickets are available from the theatre and cost from £25. The shows are at 7pm on 13 and 16-20 May and at 4pm on 14 and 21 May.
Handel’s baroque masterpiece tells the story of Agrippina, the mother of Nero, as she plots the downfall of the Roman Emperor Claudius and the installation of her own son as emperor. The opera features a libretto by Cardinal Vincenzo Grimani. It was composed for the 1709-10 Venice Carnevale season.
Agrippina is the fourth wife of Emperor Claudius. She learns that her husband has died in a storm at sea and begins to plot to have her own son, Nerone (who is Claudius’s adopted son), installed as the new emperor.
She secures the support of the toadying Narciso and Pallante. But their plans are thwarted when Agrippina learns that Claudius has survived – saved by the gallant Ottone, whom Claudio has rewarded with a promise of the crown.
To confuse matters, Claudius, Ottone and Nerone are all in love with the beautiful and cunning Poppea. As all three men pursue the young woman, Agrippina tries to steer Nerone back into the line of succession. Politics, satire, deception and intrigue combine in an opera of comic and serious moments.
HGO’s new production is directed by London-based director and playwright Ashley Pearson. The HGOAntiqua Orchestra is conducted by Thomas Payne.
HGO aims to support young singers, so the main roles are shared between two performers. Belgian soprano Astrid Joos and German soprano Anna-Luise Wagner sing Agrippina. Chinese soprano Biqing Zhang and British soprano Lisa Daffyd share the role of Poppea. A trouser role, Nerone is sung by British mezzo-sopranos Katie Macdonald and Phoebe Rayner.
British baritone George Robarts and Hong Kong bass-baritone Jacob Bettinelli share the role of Claudio, while part of Ottone is sung by Italian countertenor Francesco Giusti and Israeli countertenor Eliran Kadussi.
“We’re delighted to present Handel’s sparkling opera with its dramatic (and farcical) scenes and its brilliant music, accompanied by an orchestra of period instruments,” HGO said in a statement.
North London-based opera company HGO is set to stage a new production of Handel’s political satire Agrippina at Jacksons Lane Theatre in May.