Ethan Peck, Florence Lozano, and Steven Rattazzi Set for THE HEIRS OF TANTALUS, 9/19
Gregory Peck's grandson Ethan Peck (Ten Things I Hate About You), Florencia Lozano (One Life to Live, Red Dog Howls, Dirty Story), and OBIE-award winner Steven Rattazzi (The Venture Brothers) join soprano Jessica Gould,countertenor José Lemos, Grammy-nominated harpsichordist Jory Vinikour, and members of The Sebastians Chamber Orchestra to open the fifth season of Salon/Sanctuary Concerts with an expanded run of the critically acclaimed site-specific opera-theatre project, The Heirs of Tantalus: From the House of Atreus to the Palace of Nero. Director Erica Gould (Neil LaBute's autobahn and Stand Up,Dirty Paki Lingerie) stages the piece environmentally at the monumental Broad Street Ballroom--a repurposed bank originally designed to replicate a Roman temple. The script (constructed by the director), is drawn from text by Aeschylus, Euripides, and Suetonius. The music is by Handel, Monteverdi, and Scarlatti.
The interdisciplinary piece (conceived by Jessica Gould, Jose Lemos, and Erica Gould), explores the symmetry between the mythic characters of The Oresteia and the actual lives of historical figures living centuries later, illuminating the ways in which the political corruption and family intrigue of Nero's depraved court was eerily prefigured in the plays of the Greek tragedians, exploring the parallels and resonances of both Greek Tragedy and Roman History with the American political landscape of today. With the Truman Capote-like Roman historian Suetonius as our entertaining no-holds-barred witness and guide, his bitingly funny First century reportage intertwines with the soaring language of Aeschylus and Euripides and hauntingly beautiful music from operas and cantatas about Nero to create a funny, thrilling evening of music, drama, politics, and spectacle.
As the project's creators explain, "The degree to which the real relationship between Nero and his mother Agrippina parallels the mythic relationship between Orestes and Clytemnestra is uncanny. And Nero was apparently completely aware that he was playing out the story of the house of Atreus. As an amateur actor, Nero actually often played Orestes-his favorite role-and Suetonius tells us that when Nero set fire to Rome-the ultimate theatrical spectacle-he watched the conflagration from the "Mount of Mycenae," putting on his tragedian's costume and singing "The Fall of Troy" from beginning to end. As we leap forward in time, Baroque composers, in an attempt to recreate what they thought the Ancient Greek theatre must have been like, revisit these stories in their creation of the operatic form. Most often they chose themes from classical mythology, not history, but Nero, whose actual crimes not only mirror, but dwarf any myth the Ancient Greek imagination could conjure, was a subject to whom they return again and again."
The show will take place at the Broad Street Ballroom on September 19 and September 21, 8 PM. Tickets range from $25-$100 and can be purchased at www.salonsanctuary.org or by calling calling Showclix at 1-888-718-4253.