Giulio Cesare: Cleopatra's Needle

George Frideric Handel - Autumn 2017

Handel’s greatest creation and a thrilling story of passion and revenge in the midst of bitter power struggles over the succession to Egypt’s throne.

Director 
James Conway
Conductor 
Jonathan Peter Kenny
Designer 
Cordelia Chisholm
Lighting Designer 
Mark Howland

English Touring Opera has assembled an outstanding cast for this prestige production, dominated by a performance from Soraya Mafi as Cleopatra that verges on the divine. Artistically, it has a worth beyond rubies.

Whatsonstage ★★★★

Giulio Cesare is Handel’s most celebrated opera: a thrilling story of passion and revenge featuring a treasure trove of great arias of immense dramatic intensity.

The opera follows the events surrounding Julius Caesar’s conquest of Egypt, as well as his uneasy alliance and then romance with fabled Egyptian queen Cleopatra.

English Touring Opera is presenting this 4-hour masterpiece as two separate shows, The Death of Pompey and Cleopatra’s Needle: either makes for a great night out, so book for just one if this is your first baroque experience, or book for both to hear every note in the score.

In Part II, most of the protagonists are at their lowest ebb: Pompey’s family is enslaved, Caesar is presumed dead, and Cleopatra is made captive by her brother. When their fortune changes, Caesar and Cleopatra are changed also, in ways they never expected. This evening starts with the last 5 scenes from Part 1 repeated with variations, to give audiences a complete and rounded experience.

New production, sung in Italian with English surtitles
Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes, incl. one interval

Showing At

  1. Hackney Empire
    5th Oct 2017 - 7:30 pm
  2. Hackney Empire
    7th Oct 2017 - 8:00 pm
  3. New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth
    14th Oct 2017 - 7:30 pm
  4. Norwich Theatre Royal
    17th Oct 2017 - 7:30 pm
  5. Buxton Opera House
    21st Oct 2017 - 8:00 pm
  6. Gala Theatre, Durham
    24th Oct 2017 - 7:30 pm
  7. Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden
    28th Oct 2017 - 8:00 pm
  8. Theatre Royal Bath
    31st Oct 2017 - 7:30 pm
  9. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    9th Nov 2017 - 7:30 pm
  10. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    11th Nov 2017 - 8:15 pm
  11. Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
    15th Nov 2017 - 7:30 pm
  1. Hackney Empire — 5th Oct 2017 - 7:30 pm

    291 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 1EJ

  2. Hackney Empire — 7th Oct 2017 - 8:00 pm

    291 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 1EJ

  3. New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth — 14th Oct 2017 - 7:30 pm

    20-24 Guildhall Walk, PO1 2DD

  4. Norwich Theatre Royal — 17th Oct 2017 - 7:30 pm

    Theatre Street, Norwich, NR2 1RL

  5. Buxton Opera House — 21st Oct 2017 - 8:00 pm

    Water Street, SK17 6XN

  6. Gala Theatre, Durham — 24th Oct 2017 - 7:30 pm

    1 Millennium Place, Town Centre, Durham, DH1 1WA

  7. Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden — 28th Oct 2017 - 8:00 pm

    Audley End Road, Saffron Walden , CB11 4UH

  8. Theatre Royal Bath — 31st Oct 2017 - 7:30 pm

    Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose, Bath, BA1 1ET

  9. Exeter Northcott Theatre — 9th Nov 2017 - 7:30 pm

    Exeter Northcott, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QB

  10. Exeter Northcott Theatre — 11th Nov 2017 - 8:15 pm

    Exeter Northcott, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QB

  11. Theatre by the Lake, Keswick — 15th Nov 2017 - 7:30 pm

    Lake Rd, CA12 5DJ

James Conway

James Conway

Director

General Director of ETO, James Conway has directed 24 new productions and 4 revivals for the company, including Donizetti’s The Siege of Calais (to be revived in 2015), Maria Stuarda and Anna Bolena and Handel’s Alcina, Ariodante, Teseo, Tolomeo, Flavio, Xerxes and Agrippina. Other notable ETO productions include Eugene Onegin, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Simon Boccanegra, The Emperor of Atlantis and the world première of Alexander Goehr’s Promised End. For RCM he directed L’incoronazione di Poppea and Le nozze di Figaro, and for the Canadian Opera Company Don Giovanni. His production of The Cunning Little Vixen is in repertory at the Moravian National Theatre in Janacek’s home city of Brno. He has written original libretti for 2 operas and translations for 5 others, as well as several works of fiction; his most recent translation was last season’s Agrippina. Upcoming productions include Giulio Cesare (Lucca) and Ottone (ETO).

Jonathan Peter Kenny

Jonathan Peter Kenny

Conductor

Jonathan is from Liverpool and studied at the University of Exeter and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He is a founder of the Old Street Band.

He has performed a wide range of music from Monteverdi to the present day, including 14 Handel operas, 13 oratorios and numerous premieres for composers such as Michael Nyman, Jonathan Dove, Pawel Mykietyn, Fabio Vacchi, Deirdre Gribbin, Thomas Ades and Roxanna Panufnik. He has sung for the Royal Opera Covent Garden, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, English National Opera, English Touring Opera, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Royal Opera Copenhagen, Salzburg Festival, Halle Handel Festival, Badischestaatsteater Karlsruhe, BBC Proms, Glimmerglass Festival NY, Teatr Wielki Warsaw, Opera du Rhin and in Australia and Japan.

Jonathan has performed with Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, English Baroque Soloists, Gabrieli Consort, Ulster Orchestra under such conductors as Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Richard Hickox, David Parry, Ivan Fischer, Thierry Fischer, Jane Glover, Andrew Parrott, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Ivor Bolton, Paul McCreesh, Harry Bicket. Recordings include Mattheus-Passion (Miller/Goodwin); Agrippina (Gardiner); Buxtehude/Cantatas (Immerseel); La conversione di Clodoveo (Gester); Israel in Babylon (Fontaine).

Jonathan is baroque specialist at the Royal College of Music International Opera School and prepared singers for Handel’s Poro, Atalanta, Alessandro, Il pastor fido and Rodelinda, as well as Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea with Michael Rosewell whom he also assisted on Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen. For Trinity-Laban, Jonathan worked on Giustino and Rinaldo.

Jonathan’s performing edition of Tamerlano has been performed in London, Melbourne, Lisbon, Dublin and Prague.

After many years leading his own ensembles, Jonathan made his operatic conducting debut in 2005 with a staging of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater on Valentia Island for artist Dorothy Cross and OTC Dublin. The film was shown at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and in Los Angeles. In 2007 he conducted a new production of Handel’s Teseo for ETO, touring the UK, and in 2009 a new production of Flavio which opened to great enthusiasm as part of the HANDELFEST marking the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death. From these performances, a new period instrument orchestra, the Old Street Band, was formed, making a highly acclaimed debut in autumn 2011 in a new production of Xerxes. Other appearances include a staging of Carissimi’s Jephte for the National Churches Trust; Monteverdi: 1610 and all that at the RCM and a highly praised The Duchess of Malfi Webster/Gesualdo at the Royal and Derngate Theatre Northampton.

Plans include a revival of Flavio, a production of Alcina in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, where Ariosto (author of Orlando furioso on which Alcina is based) was governor, in summer 2012, a reconstruction of Muzio Scevola (Amadei/Buoncini/Handel) and a new production of Agrippina.

Cordelia Chisholm

Cordelia Chisholm

Designer

Mark Howland

Mark Howland

Lighting Designer

Cast

Christopher Ainslie

Christopher Ainslie

Giulio Cesare

Soraya Mafi

Soraya Mafi

Cleopatra

Benjamin Williamson

Benjamin Williamson

Tolomeo

Catherine Carby

Catherine Carby

Cornelia

Mezzo soprano Catherine Carby studied at the Canberra School of Music and the RCM, London. In her native Australia, she has performed with the major opera companies including Opera Australia, Opera Queensland and Victoria State Opera. UK engagements have included performances with BFO, ENO, ROH and SO. She sang Messiah at the 2013 Three Choirs Festival; other concert work has included performances with the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, the Hallé, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. For ETO, she has previously sung Aurelio L’assedio di Calais.

Kitty Whately

Kitty Whately

Sesto

Winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award 2011 and the 59th Royal Over-seas League Award for Singers, British mezzo soprano Kitty Whately trained at Chetham’s School of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal College of Music International Opera School. She was also a finalist at the Les Azuriales International Singing Competition 2010.

Kitty has recently sung Rosina The Barber of Seville for English Touring Opera, Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro, Dorabella Così fan tutte and Eduige Rodelinda for RCMIOS, Kate Owen Wingrave for Nuremberg International Chamber Music Festival, and Edith in Arne’s Alfred for the Classical Opera Company. She has also sung cover roles in the world premiere of Peter Etvos’ Love and Other Demons for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and Idamante Idomeneo for Buxton Festival Opera. Other operatic roles include Nancy Albert Herring, Juno Semele, Second Lady The Magic Flute, and Johanna Sweeney Todd.

On the recital platform, Kitty has worked with Roger Vignoles, Malcolm Martineau, Gary Matthewman and Joseph Middleton. She has given recitals at Oxford Lieder Festival, Wigmore Hall, the Elgar Room (RAH), and Kings Place. A Samling Foundation Scholar, Kitty has also participated in a workshop week with Sir Thomas Allen and Roger Vignoles in 2010.

Highlights in 2012/13 season include her debut at the English National Opera, playing several roles in The Pilgrim’s Progress, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius at St John’s Smith Square, Messiah at RAH, the Verbier Festival Christmas Concert, Dorabella Così fan tutte for English Touring Opera, Canteloube Chansons d’Auvergne with RPO at RFH, and a recital of Shakespeare settings at Wigmore Hall.

Kitty Whately was awarded the Cuthbert Smith prize, the Ted Moss and Bertha Taylor-Stach lieder prize and 1st place in the Joan Chissell Schumann competition. She is also supported by the English Touring Opera Young Artist Programme.

Benjamin Bevan

Benjamin Bevan

Achilla

English Touring Opera has assembled an outstanding cast for this prestige production, dominated by a performance from Soraya Mafi as Cleopatra that verges on the divine. Artistically, it has a worth beyond rubies.

Whatsonstage ★★★★

Without a doubt, the show’s star is Soraya Mafi, whose beguiling Cleopatra melts hearts… When Mafi is singing, we get lift off.

Telegraph

Showing At

  1. Hackney Empire
    5th Oct 2017 - 7:30 pm
  2. Hackney Empire
    7th Oct 2017 - 8:00 pm
  3. New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth
    14th Oct 2017 - 7:30 pm
  4. Norwich Theatre Royal
    17th Oct 2017 - 7:30 pm
  5. Buxton Opera House
    21st Oct 2017 - 8:00 pm
  6. Gala Theatre, Durham
    24th Oct 2017 - 7:30 pm
  7. Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden
    28th Oct 2017 - 8:00 pm
  8. Theatre Royal Bath
    31st Oct 2017 - 7:30 pm
  9. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    9th Nov 2017 - 7:30 pm
  10. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    11th Nov 2017 - 8:15 pm
  11. Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
    15th Nov 2017 - 7:30 pm

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