NEW YORK, April 23, 2013 – Mannes College The New School for Music presents Benjamin Britten's rarely performed masterpiece The Rape of Lucretia, featuring The Mannes Opera with members of The Mannes Orchestra, conducted by Artistic Director Joseph Colaneriand directed by Laura Alley. The Rape of Lucretia will be performed on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11 at Hunter College's Kaye Playhouse, and is presented in recognition of the centennial of Benjamin Britten’s birth. Both performances will include supertitles of the opera’s English text.
"The Rape of Lucretia exemplifies Mannes’ commitment to exploring provocative work," said Richard Kessler, Dean of Mannes College. "As the semester's culminating presentation, Britten's opera gives us a terrific opportunity to showcase innovative performances by the best emerging talent."
Composed in 1946, The Rape of Lucretia has since its premiere been one of Benjamin Britten's most controversial operas, due to its elemental presentation, and
libretto by Ronald Duncan. Britten was inspired by a French play by André Obey, based on Shakespeare's poem The Rape of Lucretia. In a sequence of short scenes with commentary from the two-voice chorus, the opera depicts the rape of the Roman matron Lucretia by Prince Tarquinius, an Etruscan overlord, and the responses to this aggression — her suicide and a nationalist uprising by the Romans. Although the opera takes place five centuries before Christ's birth, the solo tenor male chorus and solo soprano female chorus view the story through a Christian perspective.
The Mannes Opera's production of The Rape of Lucretia is conceived, supervised, and conducted by its Artistic Director, Joseph Colaneri. After 15 seasons as a member of the conducting roster of the Metropolitan Opera, Mr. Colaneri now serves as Artistic Director of the West Australian Opera in Perth, concurrently serving as Artistic Director of The Mannes Opera, a position he has held since 1998. Under Mr. Colaneri's leadership, The Mannes Opera has been praised by the New York Times for "a stellar reputation for the quality of its presentations and the excellence of its student singers."
"The Rape of Lucretia presents an extraordinary challenge to our young singers and instrumentalists," said Colaneri. "Britten's combination of edgy dissonance and poetic lyricism provide the perfect landscape in which our students can explore the power of modern musical expression."
The Rape of Lucretia
Friday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Location: The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, 68th St. between Park and Lexington Avenues.
Tickets: $25, general public; $10, students/seniors, available at the Kaye box office: 212.772.4448
Mannes College The New School for Music develops the next generation of classical musician/citizens by combining the music conservatory traditions with the cutting-edge advantage of being part of The New School, the nation's foremost progressive university. Founded in 1916, the Mannes formula for quality education has capitalized on its world-class faculty, location in the heart of the global arts capital, small class size, and a living tradition of rigor and depth that develops strong technique and great artistry. The Mannes ethos forms the basis of a vibrant community, whether you are a degree or diploma student in the College or Extension divisions, or a young person studying in Mannes Prep. In this second decade of the 21st century, when demands on artists are greater and more complex than ever, Mannes is committed to providing a wide range of exciting learning and knowledge building in partnership with its sister divisions of The New School, including one of the world's great design schools, Parsons The New School for Design; the liberal arts at Eugene Lang College; public policy, business, and civic engagement in The New School for Public Engagement; and cross disciplinary arts learning at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and The New School for Drama. For more information on Mannes and The New School visit www.newschool.edu/mannes.