For the first time in 300 years the Italian operatic work “Idaspe” will be performed – and it will take place right here in Pittsburgh at the Byham Theater.
The performance is a collaborative effort between Quantum Theatre, Chatham Baroque, Attack Theatre, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Hill Dance Academy, Iron City Circus plus various kinds of contributions from Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Point Park University, Pillow Project, and more.
If this sounds like a crazy mash-up of collaboration it’s because it is.
All those collaborators have joined forces to bring world-renowned baroque singer Vivica Genaux and countertenor John Holiday to the Pittsburgh stage for a truly unique once in a multiple-lifetime performance.
Why here? Why now?
Because our post-pandemic-lockdown world needs this kind of crazy. The good kind. The kind where you never knew you wanted to attend a baroque operatic performance of a play sung in Italian with projected English subtitles. One that’s so old and obscure that it was never published – save for the one existing copy which exists in a library in Bologna, Italy which fortunately was scanned into an online music library site.
At a cost of nearly half a million dollars to produce, this show is the largest-scale production ever produced by many of these Pittsburgh performance companies. But it’s worth it. Such talent will emanate from the stage that it won’t have to be performed for another 300 years.
Quantum Theatre and Chatham Baroque painstakingly went through the original score, input 400 pages of the music manuscript, and then worked with Royal Shakespeare Company director Claire van Kampen to cut down the 4 hour opera to one which runs just 2.5 hours (including intermissions).
The story itself is one that follows two refugee siblings from the post-war Middle East who arrive in Naples, join opposing organized crime clans, and eventually become each clan’s boss. When one brother kidnaps two women from his brother’s clan a face-to-face clash is inevitable. Will they continue to survive through power and violence or find another way?
Tickets are $50, but the talented musicians, dancers, aerialists, and vocal skills of Ms. Genaux and Mr. Holiday will ensure that every penny is well spent.
The limited run performances take place October 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15. All shows start at 7:30pm.
To learn more about the show check out Quantum Theatre’s “Idaspe” page and Jeremy Reynolds’ Post-Gazette article.This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.