Opera Atelier’s 30th Anniversary Season kicked off last night with our gorgeous production of Lully’s Armide. I have no hesitation in saying this is the finest achievement in Opera Atelier’s 30-year history. Many of the principals from our 2012 production were able to join us for this revival. Their familiarity with the repertoire resulted in a deeper and more profound interpretation across the board and many audience members who had seen Armide previously were convinced that huge amounts of the production had been restaged and redesigned!
I have never seen a more daring cast of singers and dancers on … Read more
Armide is a story of the 11th century First Crusade penned as an epic poem by Torquato Tasso in the Italian Renaissance and transformed by Jean Baptiste Lully and Philippe Quinault in 17th century France into the tragédie lyrique we present tonight. The designs for Armide grew out of the realization that independently throughout this period the conflicting cultures in the story developed the book as a sophisticated art form that communicated much of its message through exquisitely rendered illustrations and elaborate calligraphy. In Europe the devotional Book of Hours featured breathtaking illuminations illustrating biblical texts, prayers and … Read more
Armide examines the conflict between the Muslim and Christian worlds during the First Crusade of 1099 AD and relates that conflict in the context of an utterly human story. Despite the constant presence of exoticism and magic, the opera’s drama remains startling in its raw emotionalism.
During the course of the opera, the iconic characters of the Muslim warrior princess Armide and the Christian knight Renaud are transformed into human beings with identical weaknesses, fears and foibles. For me, it is the humanity with which both protagonists are depicted that makes the opera so astonishing. There are no victors … Read more
Our resident set designer Gerard Gauci has been with the company since it was founded 30 years ago. He is responsible for the astonishing hand-painted sets that are an integral part of Opera Atelier’s unique period aesthetic.
When not planning upcoming designs with Marshall, supervising the incredible team of painters at Scenic Drop Studios, or executing his stage designs, Gerard can be found working on his own series of paintings. His current series “Painting the Stage” is a beautiful study of Opera Atelier’s complete productions. We had to share them with you!
The action concerns the Muslim Warrior Princess Armide and the Christian Knight Renaud. Although a virgin, Armide’s greatest power lies in her sexual allure, which reduces men to a state of hopeless submission. Armide herself is protected by the fact that she herself has never experienced desire. Renaud also draws his strength from an almost mystic virginity which renders him impervious to Armide’s allure.
Damascus is decorated to celebrate the Muslim victory over the Crusaders. Armide however is obsessed by the fact she has been unable to subdue Renaud. Her … Read more