Pacific Opera Project to Present LA CALISTO
To conclude its third full season, Pacific Opera Project will present 6 performances of the Los Angeles Premiere of Francesco Cavalli's La Calisto written in 1651. POP will return to The Ebell Club of Highland Park for this intimate and dynamic production after 5 sold out performances of Carmen this past March. Staying true to their "POP-Up" formula of staging and rehearsing the entire opera in just over a week featuring some of the best talent in the country, Pacific Opera Project will have performers singing right at your table as you're served a bottle of wine and tray of appetizers. POP has added an orchestra with period instruments to the "POP-Up" model for La Calisto and has kept the tickets at the ridiculously low price of less than $30 per person. The whole evening has a party atmosphere as guests enjoy food, wine, and entertainment either from their tables near the stage or from single seats in the venue.
This notable opera company is determined to prove that early opera does not have to equal boring opera and if past seasons are any indication, POP will entertain everyone from the opera aficionado to the opera neophyte. This production has the best of both worlds with consideration taken for the integrity and historical context of the piece while accessibly bringing it to a contemporary audience. Pacific Opera Project will put its own spin on this farce about the nymph Calisto and will have everything from cross-dressing to a bear on stage! Naturally, this production will be fraught with the provocative sensuality and humor one might expect of a Greek mythology tryst.
Giovanni Faustini's libretto for La Calisto tells the story of the trials of two pairs of lovers: Calisto and Giove; and Diana and Endimione. Calisto (a female follower of the goddess Diana) has vowed to remain a virgin, so her admirer Giove disguises himself as Diana and she willingly relinquishes her virtue. These actions invoke the wrath of the true Diana and of Juno, Giove's wife. Calisto is transformed into a creature and ascends into a constellation. In this version of the myth, Diana finally succumbs to her love for Endimione and they remain faithful to one another.
Pacific Opera Project is dedicated to presenting energetic, high-quality, and accessible performances of a broad variety of operatic repertoire; to benefiting the larger artistic community of Southern California by providing a fully professional environment for our artists; and to cultivating and enriching a wide audience in venues both conventional and unconventional throughout the region with innovative performances that enliven and preserve the art form. Co-founders Josh Shaw (stage direction and production design) and Stephen Karr (music director and conductor) team up for this premiere. Shaw has appeared as a singer throughout Southern California, and as a director has recently worked with New Fangled Opera, Opera NEO, Redlands Opera Theater and the Southern Illinois Music Festival. Karr has conducted all of POP's productions, and has also worked with Des Moines Metro Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival, Opera New Jersey and Palm Beach Opera, in addition to his work for Opera UCLA.
For La Calisto, POP has assembled a cast with credits ranging from Los Angeles Opera to the John F. Kennedy Center. Soprano Claire Averill (POP's The Marriage of Figaro and The Mikado) once again brings her fresh and expressive energy to the POP stage as she appears in the title role of Calisto. Baritone Ryan Thorn (previously seen in Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro at POP) sings the mischievous Giove. Daria Somers (recently seen in POP's Cosi fan tutte and La Bohème) plays his mistreated wife, Guinone.
Portraying Diana, Mezzo-soprano Sarah Beaty (of The Industry and the Getty Villa Amphitheater) is the embodiment of the adventurous goddess. Pacific Opera Project fans will not be surprised to see POP veteran and baritone extraordinaire E. Scott Levin (POP's Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro) starring as Pane in this production. Cast as the amorous Endimione, Countertenor Bryan Pollock's has garnered praise in his recent roles including Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Orfeo in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice.