Go Back to the 1930s with a Look at John Adams' Antony and Cleopatra at San Francisco Opera | Playbill

Related Articles
Photo Features Go Back to the 1930s with a Look at John Adams' Antony and Cleopatra at San Francisco Opera

The world premiere of Adams' take on the tale from ancient history finds its setting in the 20th century.

Amina Edris and Gerald Finley in Antony and Cleopatra Cory Weaver

Go inside the world premiere of John AdamsAntony and Cleopatra at San Francisco Opera. The new work, adapted from the Shakespeare, began performances September 10 and will continue through October 5. The production is also available on demand September 19-21.

Portraying political turmoil and passionate love affairs, Antony and Cleopatra tells the story of the Egyptian queen and her Roman lover as they face the wrath of Cleopatra's political enemy and Antony's brother-in-law Octavius, who brings the full might of Rome to invade Egypt as Caesar. The production puts a twist on ancient history with 1930s Hollywood glamor and the power of newsreels in creating larger-than-life personas.

Amina Edris and Gerald Finley in Antony and Cleopatra Cory Weaver

Starring in the cast are Egyptian soprano Amina Edris as Cleopatra, bass-baritone Gerald Finley as Antony, and tenor Paul Appleby as the young Caesar, Octavius. The leading trio are joined by bass-baritone Alfred Walker as Enobarbus, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong as Octavia, baritone Hadleigh Adams as Agrippa, tenor Brenton Ryan as Eros, bass-baritone Philip Skinner as Lepidus, mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven as Charmian, bass Patrick Blackwell as Maecenas, Gabrielle Beteag as Iras, and Timothy Murray as Scarus. Also featured is the San Francisco Opera Chorus under the direction of John Keene.

Adams consulted with director Elkhanah Pulitzer and Lucia Scheckner to create the adaptation, which is conduced by Eun Sun Kim. Pulitzer helms the production team, which features Tony-winning set designer Mimi Lien, costume designer Constance Hoffman, lighting designer David Finn, projection designer Bill Morrison, and sound designer and mixing engineer Mark Grey.

Paul Appleby, Hadleigh Adams, Patrick Blackwell, and Philip Skinner in Antony and Cleopatra Cory Weaver

“I am proud to continue my longstanding collaboration with the great San Francisco Opera with this, the fifth opera of mine the company has presented over the years," said Adams in a statement. "Antony and Cleopatra is a story that embraces not only the intimate and human but also the geopolitical and the clash of civilizations. As is always the case with Shakespeare, its themes mirror the realities of life even as we live it at this very moment.”

Antony and Cleopatra was co-commissioned and is co-produced with the Metropolitan Opera and Barcelona's Liceu Opera as part of San Francisco Opera's 100th anniversary season. It is sung in English.

For tickets and more information, visit SFOpera.com

Check out the full gallery below.

Production Photos: San Francisco Opera's Antony and Cleopatra


Blocking belongs
on the stage,
not on websites.

Our website is made possible by
displaying online advertisements to our visitors.

Please consider supporting us by
whitelisting playbill.com with your ad blocker.
Thank you!