Stony Brook Opera and members of the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra present Benjamin Britten’s opera, The Rape of Lucretia, on Saturday, April 22, at 8 pm at Staller Center. An encore performance will be held on Sunday, April 23, at 3 pm.
The cast of this fully staged theatrical production features graduate students in voice from Stony Brook’s College of Arts and Sciences Department of Music, many of whom have already established professional singing careers. Soprano Ju Hyeon Han performs the role of the Female Chorus, in what will be the first time in the U.S. that a blind singer will perform a leading role in a university or conservatory opera production. This particular character, as well the Male Chorus character, stands outside the action, sometimes narrating, sometimes commenting, and occasionally even trying to intervene.
“We are pleased to be able to offer a full production of The Rape of Lucretia — complete with sets, costumes and theatrical lighting — after two years of semi-staged concert performances,” said David Lawton, professor of music and artistic director of Stony Brook Opera. “The first of Benjamin Britten’s many operas that he designated as a chamber opera, The Rape of Lucretia was scored for a cast of eight singers and an orchestra of 13 players. Far from considering the small number of players as a limitation, Britten succeeded in creating orchestral textures of extraordinary variety and transparency.”
Timothy Long, associate professor of music and vocal coach, will conduct the production. Ted Altschuler, who directed numerous productions at New York City opera, makes his Stony Brook Opera debut as stage director. The production team also includes Reid Thompson as set designer, Caitlin Rapoport as lighting designer, and Beth Goldenberg as costume designer, all making their Stony Brook opera debuts.
The cast also includes mezzo soprano Kristin Starkey as Lucretia; soprano Janani Sridhar as Lucia; and Stony Brook alumna, mezzo soprano Christine Free as Bianca. Male cast members include tenor Jeremy Little as Male Chorus; baritone David Davani as Tarquinius; bass Alexander Hahn as Collatinus; and baritone Zen Kuriyama as Junius.