Hercules? Yes please!

Hercules? Yes please!

Jenna Simeonov

You know you’re writing about opera in North America when you start to drool over a show that doesn’t open until April 5th. But hey, I like hype. I’m talking about the COC’s production of Handel’s Hercules, directed by the infamous Peter Sellars. I just can’t imagine what won’t be to love. American baritone Eric Owens stars as Hercules, and British mezzo-soprano Alice Coote will sing the role of his wife, Dejanira. Man, oh man, will I be there with bells on.

On top of Owens and Coote, we’ll hear British soprano Lucy Crowe in her COC debut as Iole, Hercules’ prisoner of war. Her performance at Lyric Opera of Chicago earned great reviews, and the assertion that she is “a major discovery” (Chicago Tribune).

American tenor Richard Croft (from the COC’s Così fan tutte in 1992) will appear as Hercules’ son, Hyllus. Chicago loved him too, declaring that he is “firmly in his vocal element” in this role (Chicago Tribune).

And one mustn’t forget about the one and only David Daniels, the American countertenor who’s bound to show us all how to sing Handel. “To say that he is the most acclaimed countertenor of the day, perhaps the best ever, is to understate his achievement. He is simply a great singer” (New York Times).

A co-production with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Sellars’ direction will present “a stinging, profoundly moving examination of the domestic aftermath of modern war” (Opera News). Sellars evokes the world of Ancient Greece while telling a story that maintains relevance  with the lives of soldiers and soldiers’ families today.

And with Harry Bickett on the podium (from the COC’s Orfeo ed Euridice in 2011, Idomeneo in 2009, and Rodelinda in 2005), the music will no doubt be stellar. In Chicago, he “conducted a performance true to the spirit of Handel’s time yet truer still to Sellars’ stress points” (Los Angeles Times).

I just can’t wait. Stuff like this makes the cold slightly more bearable, no?

Hercules runs at the Four Seasons Centre from April 5-30, 2014: call 416-363-8231 for tickets. For info on special ticket prices, including rush seating, and Opera Under 30 tickets, visit www.coc.ca.

*One more thing! Don’t miss the COC’s Opera Exchange symposium Coming Home: Handel’s Hercules on April 4, 2014, 9:30am to 4pm. Director Peter Sellars will be a big part of it, and you really don’t want to miss a chance to hear him speak. Tickets are limited, so click here for more details.



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