Gotham Chamber Opera Gives American Premiere of Handel's Arianna in Creta

Classic Arts News   Gotham Chamber Opera Gives American Premiere of Handel's Arianna in Creta
The Gotham Chamber Opera performs Handel's 1733 opera Arianna in Creta starting tonight at the Harry de Jur Playhouse on Manhattan's Lower East Side. The performances of the 1733 opera will be the first ever in the United States.

Arianna, the story of an Athenian woman who is condemned to be fed to the Minotaur on the island of Crete, premiered in London in 1734.

"Although [Arianna in Creta] is one of Handel's finest London operas, it appears to have never received a staging in the U. S.," Gotham Chamber Opera artistic director Neal Goren said in a statement. "The only theory I can proffer for its neglect is the sheer vocal difficulty of the principal roles."

According to the company, this staging is also the first anywhere of Handel's original version; the composer revised the work before its premiere to accommodate changes in the cast.

The production, accompanied by a 23-piece period orchestra, is conducted by Goren and directed by Christopher Alden, whose recent productions include Turandot at Welsh National Opera and The Mother of Us All at San Francisco Opera. The cast includes Caroline Worra as Arianna, Hanan Alattar as Alceste, Katherine Rohrer as Theseus, Jennifer Hines as Carilda, Alan Dornak as Tauride, Kevin Burdette as Minos, and Daniel Gross as Il Sonno.

The Gotham Chamber Opera, formerly known as the Henry Street Chamber Opera, also staged the American premiere of Mozart's early Il Sogno de Scipione.

Arianna in Creta runs through February 18.

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