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For Immediate Release
July 24th, 2019

Handel’s final great London success, Alcina opens in Halifax August 4th.

Alcina was originally composed for Handel’s first season at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden in London. However, like other great operatic works composed by Handel, Alcina (1735) actually fell into obscurity until 1928. The production by Halifax Summer Opera Festival features a rich, updated plot and thrillingly beautiful Baroque music!

Alcina is sung in Italian with projected translations, so audiences won’t miss any of the drama. Fully-staged and costumed and performed with keyboard, cello continuo and violin, it opens August 4th and runs through the 6th, 9th, and 11th at the Lillian Piercey Concert Hall, at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts.

Set on a mysterious and beautiful island, Alcina’s paradise was actually created to lure her unsuspecting lovers into her grasp. One of these unfortunate men is the warrior, Ruggiero, who while under Alcina’s magical spell had forsaken his duty as well as his betrothed, Bradamante. Not only does Handel’s Alcina feature the unique tale of a powerful enchantress, but the entire opera is filled with music of extraordinary beauty and grace.

Alcina is by Handel, who composed the Christmas and Easter hit Messiah,” said stage director Erin Bardua, who directed last year’s sold out hit Poppea. “If you love the music of Messiah, you’ll love this. And the plot of our version has everything: wicked witches, mistaken identities, a ton of flirting, and pyramid schemes.” Bardua went on to say the cast of Alcina is stellar. “These young singers arrived fully prepared to mount a professional-sounding and entertaining show. I’m laughing and crying in rehearsals. I’ve even had chills a couple of times. We’re having a great time, even while we’re working hard.” The opera, which premièred in 1735, has undergone an update. Halifax Opera Festival’s version, staged by Bardua with music direction by Markus Howard, takes place at the headquarters of an eerie cult-like business that scams the vulnerable out of their freedom. The twist is that the wicked Alcina is doing it all for love.

Tickets for the festival are on sale online at TicketHalifax.com, by phone at (902) 422-6278 (ext. 500), in person at The Coast’s offices, 2309 Maynard Street, or at the venue an hour before the show, payable by cash, credit card, tappable debit, ApplePay or cheque. Audience members can also buy season passes, which will get them into every performance of every show (which can be quite interesting since there are two casts for each opera, providing two quite distinct interpretations).

Halifax Summer Opera Festival and Workshop educates and develops both singers and audiences through the performance of operatic repertoire. For fourteen seasons, HSOF has presented fully staged operas each summer, giving singers from university undergrads to professionals opportunities to learn roles in the context of performing an entire, full-staged opera. Participants are selected from live or recorded auditions and participate in rehearsals and master classes on everything from auditioning techniques to dramatic and musical interpretations by seasoned pros. HSOF is a not-for-profit society with a volunteer Board of Directors, based in Lunenburg and Halifax. You can find out all the details at www.halifaxsummeroperafestival.com.

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Information / interviews: 
Bodhi Anders: mobile: 902-293-0264 or email: 
bodhi.anders@gmail.com

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