Britten Pears Arts today announce full casting details for The Rape of Lucretia. This new staging of Benjamin Britten’s unsparing chamber opera opens at Snape Maltings, Suffolk as part of its Britten Weekend on 29 and 30 October, before this new production is on stage at the Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House from 13-22 November.
Exploring some of the darkest drives in the human psyche, this cinematic new production is directed by Oliver Mears, with set and costume design by Annemarie Woods, lighting design by D.M. Wood, movement direction by Sarita Piotrowski and intimacy coordination by Intimacy on Set. Corinna Niemeyer conducts 12 players of Aurora Orchestra and a young cast drawn from the Britten Pears Young Artist Programme (BPYAP currently celebrating its 50th anniversary) and the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Artists Programme (JPA).
American mezzo-soprano Anne Marie Stanley (BPYA) performs the title role alongside Irish mezzo-soprano Carolyn Holt (BPYA) as Bianca, Canadian soprano Sarah Dufresne (JPA) as Lucia, British baritone Jolyon Loy (BPYA) as Tarquinius, American bass Anthony Reed (BPYA) as Collatinus and New Zealand baritone Kieran Rayner (BPYA) as Junius. Canadian soprano Sydney Baedke (BPYA) and Scottish tenor Michael Gibson (JPA) sing the roles of the female and male chorus.
Corinna Niemeyer, conductor of the productions said: ‘What I find especially fascinating about The Rape of Lucretia is how Britten creates suspense. The way he pulls the auditor into the story is incredibly unique. Part of this is the amazing instrumentation which is rich in colour and plays an almost “acting” role: the percussion underlining dramatic actions, the harp creating the “pure world” in which we find Lucretia. The opera has a wonderful mix of dramatic action and beautiful lyrical moments. I am very much looking forward to working on this masterpiece with Oliver Mears, the Britten Pears Young Artists, the Aurora Orchestra and the teams of ROH and Britten Pears.’
Oliver Mears, director of the production and Director of The Royal Opera adds: ‘The Rape of Lucretia is a tense, troubled and dangerous opera – one of Britten’s finest. The responsibility towards the piece and its traumatic subject matter makes it a daunting opera for any creative team. But by finding its deepest, most innermost resonances (with Britten’s own life as well as with the apocalyptic circumstances of his time – and ours) we will, we hope, allow it to speak with unbearable power for audiences for now.’
Throughout the autumn, Britten Pears Arts and The Royal Opera will be exploring aspects of this production and its wider context in a series of talks and presentations.
Britten Pears Arts will be presenting an online Discovery Session about The Rape of Lucretia, curated by Dr Lucy Walker and featuring music and conversation with cast members, director Oliver Mears, and head of archives Dr Christopher Hilton. It will be available in October and will bring to life the opera’s musical and historical context, while also exploring its contemporary presentation and staging.
The Royal Opera will host a live Insight on Thursday 3 November in the Clore Studio. Biographer and broadcaster Kate Kennedy will be joined by members of the Lucretia cast and creative team.
Rape Crisis is an umbrella charity that supports local crisis centres across the country, and helps survivors of rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment or any form of sexual violence.
You can contact Rape Crisis via their free helpline on 0808 802 9999 for support or to find out what services are available in your area.
The Royal Opera House is grateful to Rape Crisis for the support they have made available to our audiences.
The Royal Opera
THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA
Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 29 & 30 Oct, 7.30pm
The Royal Opera House, Linbury Theatre, 13–22 November
Co-production with Britten Pears Arts
Suitable for ages 12+. This production contains depictions of violence, sexual assault and suicide. There is an implied rape that takes place off-stage in Act II. Audience discretion is advised.
ROH Tickets: from £25
Britten Pears Arts Tickets: from £18
For more information, and to book, visit: roh.org.uk or brittenpearsarts.org