Morris, who offered his take on Rameau's Plat_e at City Opera in 2004, has a reputation for his unconventional retoolings of established source material. This remains the case with his King Arthur, which he describes as "a pageant‹a sort of vaudeville‹a sequence of production numbers sacred and profane....The setting is the stage. The Time is now. The performers are themselves."
By eliminating virtually all of the spoken text written by John Dryden, Morris has transformed the 4-hour complete work into a "variety show" that runs just under two hours. A minimalist set was designed by Adrianne Lobel, with costumes by well-known fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi. Jane Glover conducts.
The cast consists of Mhairi Lawson (Soprano I), Sarah Jane McMahon (Soprano II), Heidi Stober (Soprano III), Iestyn Davies (Countertenor), Steven Sanders (Tenor), Daniel Mobbs (Baritone I) and Alexander Tall (Baritone II).
Morris' version of the piece is a co-production of New York City Opera, English National Opera and the Mark Morris Dance Group. It had its world premiere in 2006 at the London Coliseum.
The production runs through March 15 at the New York State Theater.
For more information or tickets visit www.nycopera.com
Read more about this production in Nancy Dalva's feature article, Something Old, Something New.
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All photos by Carol Rosegg for New York City Opera.