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Giulio Cesare in Egitto, by Georg Friedrich Handel (1685 - 1759), was an immediate success. The subject matter, of course, provided the ideal vehicle for elaborate staging, something Handel’s contemporaries loved, but this was the first time that the composer brought the psychological sides of his characters to the fore. Nearly all the roles in this new production of Giulio Cesare in Egitto are sung by members of the Ensemble – or former ones who choose to maintain close ties with the house, like Michael Nagy, who sings the title role. No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you, Cesare is being sung by a baritone, and not a mezzo-soprano or countertenor. During his years in Frankfurt Michael Nagy enjoyed great success with a number of roles, including Frank /Fritz, the Pierrot in Korngold’s Die tote Stadt and the title role in Britten’s Owen Wingrave. He is joined by Brenda Rae as Cleopatra, who recently enjoyed a triumph here with the title role in concert performances of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda. She is equally at home in belcanto and baroque – thrilling audiences here a few seasons ago with Angelica in Vivaldi’s Orlando furioso. The rest of the cast is just as wonderful and includes Tanja Ariane Baumgartner – who recently brought the house down again with the Princess of Bouillon in a revival of Adriana Lecouvreur - Paula Murrihy, Simon Bailey, Matthias Rexroth, Sebastian Geyer and Dmitry Egorov.
The conductor is Erik Nielsen, a Kapellmeister at Oper Frankfurt until last season whose recent engagements have included Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and Henze’s We come to the river at the Semper Opera in Dresden. The Director is Johannes Erath, who staged a thrilling production of Verdi’s Otello in Frankfurt in 2011/2012 and who has just directed Strauss’ Elektra in Graz.
Further performances: May 4th & 11th 2013, which both begin at 6.30pm