Music by Henry Purcell
Scenic Adaptation by Andreas Mitisek
In LBO's reimagination King Arthur returns as a superhero who fights a mysterious, supernatural force that is attacking Earth and threatening life as we know it. Will he be able to save humanity? How will he stand up against a race of alien shape shifters who desire to conquer the galaxy? King Arthur's experience as a knight comes in handy as he rescues his beloved princess Emmeline. Purcell's most adventurous music will lead the way to space and back. A collaboration with MUSICA ANGELICA BAROQUE ORCHESTRA - LA's premiere Baroque orchestra - guarantees an authentic sound.
Throughout the world, tales have always been told of heroes and heroines embarking on perilous quests in search of lost loved ones, the secret of immortality, earthly paradise or simply great riches. Many of these stories have elements in common, such as clashes with monsters, battles with the elements, interventions by the gods and tests of moral character, mental cunning and physical strength. These tales have been expressed in songs, literature, art and dance for thousands of years, and are still being reinterpreted today in books, comic strips, interactive games and adventure films.
For millennia super heroes have battled supernatural forces and returned home "from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man," as the mythologist Joseph Campbell wrote. These stories don't show us on how to become super but how to be heroes, choosing altruism over the pursuit of wealth and power. This production will reunite the artistic team from LBO's Fairy Queen, consisting of Andreas Mitisek (Script / Stage Director / Production Design) and Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra under the inspiring leadership of Artistic Director Martin Haselböck.
Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Henry Purcell was one of the greatest English composers, flourishing in the period that followed the restoration of the monarchy after the Puritan Commonwealth period. He spent much of his short life in the service of the Chapel Royal as a composer, organist and singer. With considerable gifts as a composer, he wrote extensively for the stage (particularly in a hybrid musico-dramatic form of the time), for the church, and for popular entertainment. He was a master of English word-setting and of contemporary compositional techniques for instruments and voices. He died in 1695, a year after composing funeral music for Queen Mary.
Purcell wrote only one full opera, a short work supposedly designed for a girls’ school. The tragic story of Dido and Aeneas, with a libretto by Nahum Tate, has a perfection of its own. Dido’s final lament, before she kills herself, follows the model for such compositions established by Monteverdi 80 years before. Other stage works by Purcell are in the hybrid form now known as semi-opera, combining spoken drama with a musical element that in the concert hall may be performed apart from its wider dramatic context. These semi-operas include King Arthur, with a text by the poet John Dryden, a work that includes fascinating music for a chorus of cold people, frozen by the Cold Genius but thawed by the power of Love. Purcell provided incidental music, dances and songs for a great many plays, including Aphra Behn’s Abdelazar or The Moor’s Revenge, a rondeau from which provides the theme for Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.
What's a Semi-Opera?
In 17th-century England, opera hadn't really taken hold. No one seemed to like it. Instead, the English preferred a mix of musical numbers and songs inserted into a stage play, dominated by spoken dialogue. This was what Londoners expected, and as a result, it became the formula composers followed for several decades. The terms "semi-opera", "dramatic[k] opera" and "English opera" were all applied to Restoration entertainments (1660–1689) that combined spoken plays with masque-like episodes.
The plot is based on the battles between King Arthur's Britons and the Saxons, rather than the legends of Camelot (although Merlin does make an appearance). It is a Restoration spectacular, including such supernatural characters as Cupid and Venus plus references to the Germanic gods of the Saxons, Woden, Thor, and Freya. The tale centres on Arthur's endeavours to recover his fiancée, the blind Cornish Princess Emmeline, who has been abducted by his arch-enemy, the Saxon King Oswald of Kent. King Arthur contains some of Purcell's most lyrical music, using adventurous harmonies for the day.
King Arthur returns as a superhero who fights a mysterious, supernatural force that is attacking Earth and threatening life as we know it. Will he be able to save humanity?
Stage Director / Adaptation
Since 2003, Mitisek has been LBO's Artistic & General Director. Recent LBO directing credits: The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, King Gesar, Macbeth, Tell-Tale Heart, Van Gogh, The Paper Nautilus, Ainadamar, and Maria de Buenos Aires. Recent LBO conducting credits:Thérèse Raquin, I was Looking at the Ceiling and then I Saw the Sky, The Death of Klinghoffer, Camelia la Tejana, and The Fall of the House of Usher (co-production with COT). Other conducting credits: Joruri in Tokyo, Don Giovanni (Seattle Opera), Madama Butterfly (Orlando Opera), Jane Eyre (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis) and Eugene Onegin (Teatro Municipal in Santiago de Chile). Mitisek has also conducted the Austrian and Italian premieres of Nixon in China. In 2012, Andreas joined Chicago Opera Theater as General Director.
The Austrian conductor and organist is the Founder and Music Director of Orchester Wiener Akademie, Vienna, Music Director of Musica Angelica, Los Angeles, and Conductor in Residence of the Liszt Festival Raiding, Austria. He has received numerous honours and awards as conductor and organist, including the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, the Diapason d’Or and the Hungarian Liszt Prize. Haselböck has conducts leading orchestras throughout the world. In North America his conducting credits include the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh, Washington, San Francisco, Detroit and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Musica Angelica is regarded as Southern California's premier Baroque ensemble. Since 1993 the orchestra has produced an annual subscription season of orchestral and chamber concerts in venues throughout Los Angeles County. Musica Angelica toured in March 2007 with Bach's St. Matthew Passion in Los Angeles, New York, Savannah (Savannah Music Festival), Mexico, Hungary, Austria, Spain, Italy and Germany.
Los Angeles Times hailed, "Musica Angelica soars in a Baroque gem… a triumph… Haselböck’s leadership was nuanced and inspiring." Musica Angelica was described as a "world class Baroque orchestra" by KUSC FM Classical Music Radio. In 1998, Musica Angelica issued a recording of Vivaldi Concertos for Lute, Oboe, Violin and Strings and in 2007, Handel's Acis and Galatea.
Musica Angelica collaborates with leading performing arts institutions in SoCal including Los Angeles Opera, Long Beach Opera, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Norton Simon Museum, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov
Supported in part by a grant from the Arts Council for Long Beach and the City of Long Beach.
Long Beach Opera events are supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission