Pacific Opera Victoria Presents A Baroque Masterwork, Handel's RINALDO

Pacific Opera Victoria Presents A Baroque Masterwork, Handel's RINALDO

Pacific Opera Victoria presents Rinaldo, an exotic story of adventure and danger, heroism and love, April 19 through 29, 2018, at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street, in Victoria.

Rinaldo was Handel's first big hit for the London stage, and for good reason: the opera brims with ravishing music and dazzling special effects. The libretto by Giacomo Rossi is loosely based on the 16th century epic poem Gerusalemme liberata by Torquato Tasso.

As the opera opens, General Goffredo and the mighty knight Rinaldo are leading an army against Argante, king of Jerusalem, and the wicked sorceress Armida. When Armida kidnaps Rinaldo's fiancée Almirena, he must call on the power of magic to help him rescue his true love. More complications ensue when Armida tries to seduce Rinaldo and Argante falls in love with Almirena.

Pacific Opera Victoria has previously tapped Handel's repertoire with critically acclaimed productions of Julius Caesar, Semele, and Rodelinda. Rinaldo is the first of the many operas the great German-born composer wrote for the British public.

"With Rinaldo, Handel staked an irresistible claim to his new position as the prime mover of opera in London in the first half of the eighteenth century" says POV Artistic Director Timothy Vernon. "Telling a story certainly no more absurd than, say, Il Trovatore, and with music no less inspired, Handel displays his dazzling, virtuosic command of the form in a brilliant succession of arias and orchestral ensembles by turns moving and thrilling. Rinaldo is a masterwork."

Director Glynis Leyshon, a favourite of Pacific Opera Victoria audiences, returns to direct this company première. She is joined by designer Pam Johnson (POV's Vanessa), lighting designer Eric Champoux (The Magic Flute), and projection designer Corwin Ferguson. Timothy Vernon conducts the Victoria Symphony.

In a season of works marked by world, company and artist debuts, POV's production of Rinaldo welcomes four new artists to Victoria.

Russian countertenor Andrey Nemzer makes his POV and role debut as Rinaldo. Mr. Nemzer has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and Opera San Antonio. Pittsburgh in the Round describes Mr. Nemzer's voice as "brilliant...capable of astonishing high tones and cavernous lows, with great dexterity in both registers and everything in the middle."

Also making their debuts with POV are three Canadian singers. Stéphanie Lessard, a frequent performer in opera houses and on concert stages across Eastern Canada and the United States, makes her debut as Almirena. Lyric soprano Jennifer Taverner, who sings Armida, is in high demand as a soloist with orchestras and opera companies across Canada. Baritone Christopher Dunham, a recent graduate from L'Atelier lyrique de L'Opera de Montréal, performs the role of Argante, King of Jerusalem.

Familiar faces in the cast include countertenor David Trudgen (POV's A Midsummer Night's Dream) who returns to Victoria for the role of Goffredo. Baritone Bruce Kelly, who has performed frequently with POV, most recently in The Magic Flute, will sing the role of the Magician.

Rinaldo opens on April 19, 2018 and continues April 21 and 27 with a matinée April 29, at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street in Victoria. Evening performances begin at 8pm with pre-performance lectures at 7:00pm. Matinée performance on April 29 begins at 2:30 pm, with pre-performance lecture at 1:30 pm. The opera is performed in Italian with English surtitles.

Priced between $25 and $140, including GST & box office service charges, tickets are available from the Royal and McPherson Box Office at 250-386-6121, or online at www.rmts.bc.ca.

For more information about this production or the company's 2018-19 season, visit www.pov.bc.ca.

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