Ars Minerva Presents La Cleopatra by Daniele da Castrovillari

Daniele da Castrovillari's La Cleopatra, a piece lost in Venice's archives, is now a popular opera and an example of the oldest operas.

The performance took place on Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, March 15, 2015 at 2:00 pm at the Marines Memorial Theater. 

Cèline Ricci has a dark, thick voice; very warm and very womanly, perfect for the role of Cleopatra. She crafted the role of Cleopatra to great heights both vocally and artistically.

Randall Scotting, who I know from one of his dvds of Vivaldi's Hercule, provided a good pairing to Ricci's Cleopatra. The arias he performed were, for me, a little bit too short, and Scotting squeezed out all of the effects he could from the material.

Nell Snaidas entertained the audience with her excellent portrayal of anger and vengeance, covering well some lackings in the libretto itself.

Bay Area Veteran, Igor Viera, as Clisterno, with his powerful voice and excellent acting added salt and pepper to the tasty dish of this evening.

Coriaspe abd Dolabella, Jennifer Ellis Kampani and Spencer Dodd, were fighting and singing at the same time, most of the time (of course for Cleopatra's love).

Michael Desnoyer, as Filenia, provided much needed advice to Cleopatra (and the audience) in her amorous adventures.

Arsinoe, Molly Mahoney, has a sweet voice, perfect for the role, and her sparklibg grey shoes were standing out in this all-black cosrume production.

Anders Froehlich ( Augusto) and James Hogan ( Domitio) appeared in the first half in one mezzo scene, and disappeared for the rest of the first Act, leaving us hanging with the question: so, uh, who were they again? My curiosity was satisfied later in the opera when they appeated to rescue Ottavia from the assassin.

Froehlich had an authentic baritone, perfect for the role, but again, he left me wondering why he disn't take Cleopatra for himself.

Hogan, being a conservatory student, already has great potential.

In Vienese carnival tradition, the orchestra has also part of the show, and the protagonists often were leaning on the musicians and flirting with them, and vice versa as well. The violin players, Natalie Carducci and Laura Rubinsten-Salzedo, were very supportive and calming to Arsinoe. The small, chambre orchestra played beautifully.

Conductor/ Harpsichord: Derek Tam
Theobro: Adam Cockerham
Cello: Gretchen Claasen
Violin I: Natalie Carducci
Violin II: Laura Rubinsten-Salzedo

The sets in this production was very well done and the entire thing worked out very well as a whole.

Mise en Espace: Céline Ricci
Video-Stage Design: Matthew Holmes
Assistance Video-Stage Design: Kellie Chambers
Light Design: Brian Poedy
Marketing: Francesca Morabito
Graphic Design/Illustration: Patrícia Nardi

Forgive me any typos and/or weird formatting. I typed this up on a phone and it's way harder to type and edit than on a regular computer.

Click here for the official Ars Minerva site!

Written by Rubina Mazurka


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