Crusading opera brings Handel to Seoul Arts Center

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Crusading opera brings Handel to Seoul Arts Center

Georg Frideric Handel’s opera “Rinaldo” will be staged at the Seoul Art Center Opera House in mid-May. It is the first opera in the “P.L. Pizzi Festival 2007,” organized by the Italian Cultural Institute.
The opera is directed by Pier Luigi Pizzi, who has staged many major productions in world-famous opera houses including La Scala, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, the Arena di Verona as well as the Teatro la Fenice in Venice.
The Italian director was born in Milan and earned a degree in architecture before he entered the theater world in 1951. His debut as an opera director was in 1977 when he staged “Don Giovanni” in Turin.
“Rinaldo” is the story of a young crusader during medieval times. During his campaign against the Turks he must win back his love, Almirena, from the hands of Argante, the Saracen king of Jerusalem. There is also a magical enchantress, Armida, who falls in love with the young soldier at first sight.
One of the arias from the opera, “Lascia Ch’il Pianga,” is well known to Korean audiences, since it was one of the most beloved songs from the popular movie “Farinelli The Castrato,” released in 1994. Until the 19th Century this aria was sung by castrati, whose high-toned voices were produced by castrating the singers before they hit puberty. Today it is sung by a counter tenor or mezzo-soprano.
One of the interesting aspects of this Baroque opera is that it employs so many difficult techniques with great style.
All of the costumes and stage props have been designed by the Italian producer. The scene on stage is frequently transformed. Large well-detailed horse sculptures, half-naked mermaids and a large ship full of Crusaders are among the most striking props.
The most exciting part for opera lovers is the fact that the singers who will perform in Seoul are the same as those that performed at La Scala in Milan.
Laura Polverelli, the mezzo-soprano, will play the role of the young hero, Rinaldo, while Ronerta Canzian will play Almirena, the daughter of Goffredo, the captain general of the Crusader army. Patrizia Biccire will play the role of Armida, the enchantress Queen of Damascus, and Adam Plachetka will play the role of Argante, the Saracen king of Jerusalem. Mirko Guadagnini will perform Goffredo, the captive general and the father of Rinaldo’s lover Almirena.

The performances will be held from May 12 to May 17 at 7:30 p.m. There will be no shows on May 14 and May 16.
Ticket ranges from 30,000 won to 330,000 won. For more information call (02) 589-1950.

By Lee Ho-jeong Staff Writer []
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