Long Beach Opera Presents US Stage Premiere of MEDEA

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Medea-lbo.jpgUS Stage Premiere of MEDEA based on the original 1797 version by Luigi Cherubini
Libretto by François Benoît Hoffmann and Nicolas Étienne Framéry

With a site-specific setting and a strong cast, LBO’s 2011 season begins with the dramatic opera MEDEA by composer Luigi Cherubini, a story of passion, rage, and revenge. LBO will be the first opera company in the United States to stage Luigi Cherubini’s MEDEA based on his original 1797 version. Always innovative, the company will perform the opera at the old EXPO Furniture Warehouse in Long Beach. The audience will be seated in the round thus providing each person with an intimate view of the action. Combining non-theatrical space and “nowhere to turn” seating insures that the audience will be immersed in the drama. Sung and spoken in English with English super titles.

LBO regular, singer-actress Suzan Hanson, will create the title role of Medea alongside rising tenor star Ryan MacPherson as Jason. They, along with a cast featuring the powerful voices and acting talents of Roberto Gomez, Ani Maldjian, Peabody Southwell, Ariel Pisturino, and Diana Tash, guarantee this production will be an emotionally charged, transporting experience. MEDEA will be directed, designed, and conducted by LBO Artistic and General Director Andreas Mitisek. Christine Cover Ferro will create the costumes.

MEDEA opens at 7:30 PM on January 29, 2011 at the EXPO Building, 4321 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA 90807

TICKETS: $25-$110. Tickets can be purchased online at www.longbeachopera.org or by calling the LBO Box Office at 562-432-5934. Group and Student Group discounts are available thru the Box Office only. First-time subscribers receive a 50% discount on season tickets.

As this evening has been almost sold out since tickets went on sale, LBO has added an extra performance on February 5. The final opportunity to see MEDEA will be on February 6. Tickets can be purchased online at www.longbeachopera.org or by calling the LBO Box Office at 562-432-5934. See “Tickets” at the end of this release for more details.

ABOUT MEDEA: Cherubini based his groundbreaking tragédie lyrique on plays by Euripedes (Medea 431 BC) and Pierre Corneille (Médée 1635). Médée premiered in Paris in 1797 as an opéra comique, a term used for operas which intersperse musical interludes with spoken dialogue regardless of whether the story is a comedy or tragedy. The stark contrast between the sung and spoken parts conveys not only the horror of Medea’s deadly crimes, but the anguish and pain, which drove her to commit her devastating acts of revenge.

“With its stylistic diversity, its dark grandeur and sublimity as well as its grand, self-contained musical scenes, Médée points far beyond the operas of Cherubini’s contemporaries. Hence the acclaim for the work expressed by Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Wagner and Brahms does not come as a surprise; indeed, Brahms went so far as to praise Médée as the „highest dramatic art.” (Boosey and Hawkes)

The score was later altered and recitatives unauthorized by Cherubini replaced the spoken dialogue. This revised version was later translated into Italian and became the MEDEA known to most modern opera audiences. In 1955, the American premiere of the Italian version was staged at Carnegie Hall and, in 1958, San Francisco Opera gave a touring performance in Los Angeles. Today, the opera is mostly remembered for the performances of the title role by Maria Callas and other famous sopranos in the 1950‟s and early 1960‟s.

LONG BEACH OPERA
Andreas Mitisek, Artistic and General Director 507 Pacific Ave., Long Beach, CA. 90802. Tel. 562-432-5934 www.longbeachopera.org.

Long Beach Opera (LBO) goes where most other opera companies dare not go. From traditional theaters to parking garages, swimming pools, hip hop clubs, and the depths of ocean liners, LBO productions are unique theatrical experiences.

“highly innovative” – Wall Street Journal • “daring” – The New York Times • “beloved wildcard of a west coast opera company” – Opera UK • “lbo remains an increasingly rare bastion of operatic innovation on the west coast” – Los Angeles Times • “opera at its most imaginative” – LA Weekly

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