Medea Director’s Notes

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We refer to Opera Atelier’s production of Charpentier’s Medea as a “period production” — but what we mean by that term requires some careful explanation.

Opera Atelier does not wish to be perceived as a “museum company” and we are in no way trying to reproduce a performance exactly as it would have happened in the past. Rather, we are taking references from the past as a take-off point or a threshold we cross in order to create something vibrant and new. Simply put, our ultimate goal is to tell the stories we have chosen in a balanced and coherent … Read more

Medea Choreographer’s Notes

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Medea was first performed on December 4, 1693, at the Palais Royale Theatre in Paris. Louis XIV and the Dauphin attended early in the opera’s run, and some members of the royal family attended numerous times. The score was considered innovative and especially rich in its harmonies. The story is told through dancing, as well as recitatives, airs and choruses. In adherence to the original precepts of opera the dancers are fully integrated as characters in the drama. They represent Corinthians and other members of Créon’s court, and later, demons and phantoms conjured by Médée. They participate in spectacular celebrations, … Read more

Medea Set Design Notes

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The central themes in the story of Médée and Jason are deception, betrayal and revenge.

The Greek myth on which Charpentier based his opera tells us that Médée, through her efforts to help her beloved Jason obtain the Golden Fleece, betrays her family and countrymen. As a result the pair flee to Corinth but in order to further his own political and romantic interests Jason in turn betrays Médée, abandoning her to marry Créuse, daughter of Créon king of Corinth. Créon in his turn deceives Oronte, the prince of Argos by promising him the hand of Créuse while planning her … Read more

Medea Conductor’s Notes

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With the death of Jean-Baptiste Lully in 1687, it became possible, for the first time in many years, for other composers to have works performed at the Royal Academy of Music, the principal institution sponsoring and producing operas in 17th-century France. In the years immediately following Lully’s passing, most of the operas produced were written by members of his inner circle, including his two sons and his former secretary. None of the operas enjoyed great success, and the Academy began to suffer financial distress and lack of artistic vision.

It must have been with some trepidation that Marc-Antoine … Read more

Video: Obsession. Betrayal. Revenge.

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Opera Atelier is thrilled to announce the creation of our first promotional video created specifically for the company’s #Canada150 production of Charpentier’s Medea.

The video features OA soprano Peggy Kriha Dye and Artists of Atelier Ballet Madgalena Vasko and Tyler Gledhill in scenes which underline the themes of obsession, betrayal and revenge that drive the opera’s action.

Opera Atelier turned to the young, Toronto-based videographer and director Marcel Canzona to create the frenetic, edgy images which allow us a glimpse into the mind of the opera’s heroine.

– Marshall Pynkoski

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