This is your chance to see a historic rendition of the classic opera, Idaspe, at the Byham Theater! The US premier takes place October 7th-15th. Pittsburgh’s experimental Quantum Theatre (they’ve been staging very cool outdoor performances since 1990), in collaboration with Chatham Baroque, and supported by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, will present Idaspe by Riccardo Broschi. Here are 5 things to know about the adaptation!

This opera hasn’t been produced since 1730!

Quantum Theatre has been adapted the Baroque Opera for modern audiences in this first full production since 1730! Acclaimed London composer, writer and director Claire van Kampen collaborated with Chatham Baroque on the creation of contemporary theater and Baroque-era opera. Daniel Nesta Curtis will conduct. “I’ve always been attracted to masterful artists speaking through an artistic language different from my own, and Quantum’s most successful projects represent those collaborations,” said Quantum Theater’s Artistic Director Karla Boos. “Idaspe is an ultimate coming together of artists across disciplines, each bringing mystery from their field and respect for what others bring to our great joint venture.”

What’s the plot?! 

The story follows two children from the post-war Middle East who came to Naples as refugees. They are separated in an underworld where organized crime is more welcoming than ‘legitimate’ business. As adults, the siblings become powerful bosses of two opposing clans. Artaserse, the more brutal, kidnaps two women from his rivals, an incident that will force a face-to-face clash in an escalating war. The kidnapped women are not the only prisoners in this story, where every character  is held captive by circumstance and their emotions. Their existential struggle is conveyed in transcendent music. Might they find that all-consuming power and violence are not the only means to survive?

The world famous cast and crew!

The opera brings world-renowned artists to the stage. The diverse cast features Vivica Genaux, John Holiday, Karim Sulayman, Pascale Beaudin, Zole Reams, Shannon Delijani and Wei En Chan.The award-winning artistic team includes Antonia Franceschi, choreographer; Narelle Sissons, Scenic Designer; Mary Ellen Stebbins, Lighting Designer, and Llona Somogyi, Costume Designer.

Adapting the Score! 

The crazy thing was adapting the original score, which was “in a dusty old 366-page hand-copied manuscript from the 1730’s.” Chatham Baroque’s three Artistic Directors Andrew Fouts, violin; Patricia Halverson, viola de gamba; Scott Pauley; theorbo & baroque guitar have created the new musical score, working with van Kampen. “The original opera would have run for more than 3.5 hours,” said Chatham Baroque. In a press release. “Our collective job was to pare it down to a reasonable running time, while preserving the most important parts of the story and the very best of the music. We can’t wait to start rehearsals for Idaspe–to really see and hear it come to life again for the first time since the 1730’s.”

Performance Schedule!

There will be 5 amazing performances during the scheduled dates. Friday Oct 7, Sunday Oct 9, Tuesday Oct 11, Thursday Oct 13, and Saturday Oct 15. All shows begin at 7:30pm.

Click here for tickets!

This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
Josh McCann

Josh has been writing for Made in PGH since 2018, where he writes about upcoming events. He’s a Point Park University graduate and teaches high school English. In his free time you’ll find him playing guitar and writing new songs.

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