Tryon Festival Theatre Nov 10-13th, 2016
Music by Claudio Monteverdi
Libretto by Giovanni Francesco Busenello
Madeline Sayet, director
Adaptation by Julie Jordan Gunn and Michael Tilley
"We are familiar with the concept of the 'innocent bet' gone wrong, the game that destroys people's lives. The era of the late 1990s and early 2000s was full of them- She's All That, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, Ten Things I Hate About You, Cruel Intentions, and the classics that bore them- Pygmalion, The Taming of the Shrew, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, etc. We bet on love, and we lose. Fortune, Love, and Virtue all play a role. But ultimately, in some small way, we always know that whatever the outcome: love is the most dangerous and unwieldy factor.
Recently, The Hunger Games took this notion of a game over people's lives and elevated it, illustrating the vicious ugliness we are willing to observe as entertainment. Again, the unpredictable factor in the game is love. What exactly are we willing to gamble? Over what? Is it worth burning the world for our entertainment?
All of these stories have roots in western classics. They are served by deep human truths that are passed down through time, from generation to generation. In 1643, Monteverdi and Busenello made their own adaptation of a world gone wrong when they wrote L'Incoronazione di Poppea. They used the setting of Rome in 65 AD as a lens through which to re-examine the world in which they lived. The opera was famous for its deeply problematic morality.
As innovators, Monteverdi and Busenello used Nero's story to craft deeper characters previously unseen in the then-new operatic form. They avoided two-dimensional depictions of Nero's reign of terror that were common up until that time and turned the attention to Amore itself. Who are the lovers in this piece? What is the trail of power? Cupid and Poppea- love and drugs, so to speak- cast in the new world moment when the opium trade was booming. Love presents as an addiction when listening to Monteverdi's haunting music.
Still, the women in this piece are uncommonly complex for the time period. Busenello and Monteverdi were innovators who took everything around them and wove it together to tell a story for their moment in time. In keeping with their practice, we are exploring how current technology serves our contemporary telling of the story. With no orchestrations in the original score, we are creating something new and exciting out of the instruments and imagery available to us today.
What are the games of our times? The new gods? Are they childish and impulsive? Who has power over our lives? Is impulsiveness winning over reason? What do we value?
Who hold power in their hands? What will they do with it? Serve the people or serve themselves?
Love is dangerous. It's something for which we want an explanation, but we don't have one. What we have is a child who pierces us with invisible arrows, creating and insufferable torment that draws us to certain people and shoves us away from others.
It's hard to forget that the Trojan War was caused by a vanity contest... Venus won because she offered Paris Hellen... We can never afford a vanity war.
Sometimes nothing is more dangerous than a love story."
-Madeline Sayet, director
AMORE- Margaret Wolfe
FORTUNE- Alicia Hurtado
VIRTUE- Justine Izewski
PALLAS ATHENE- Austin McWilliams
MERCURIO- Chris Anderson
VENERE- Landon Webb Westerfield
POPPEA- Adeline McKinley*, Lara Smetko**
OTTONE- David Catalano, Christopher Anderson (Cover)
NERONE- Nate Buttram*, Yichen Li**
OTTAVIA- Yunji Shim*, Kasey Stewart**
ARNALTA- Mattie Crisp
DRUSILLA- Elizabeth Banaszak, Alicia Hurtado (Cover)
VALLETTO- Elizabeth Gartman
DAMIGELLA- EmilyAnn O'Brien
LUCANO/SOLDATO #1- William Duke
LICTOR/SOLDATO #2- Nole Jones
LIBERTO- James Hevel
CONSULS/TRIBUNES- Chris Anderson, Samantha Baquiran, Katherine Bokenkamp, William Duke, Kelsey Grotkiewicz, James Hevel, Nole Jones
AMORE PRIMO- Olivia Gronenthal
AMORE SECONDO- Anna Burton
AMORE TERZO- Deleon Rocquemore
*November 10 and 12, 2016
**November 11 and 13, 2016
STAGE DIRECTOR- Madeline Sayet
MUSICAL DIRECTORS/ADAPTATION- Julie Jordan Gunn, Michael Tilley
SCENIC DESIGNER- Amber Shi
CONDUCTOR/ASSISTANT MUSICAL DIRECTOR- Michael Bagby
COSTUME DESIGNER/HAIR & MAKEUP COORDINATOR- Sharné Van Ryneveld
LIGHTING DESIGNER- Chris Wood
ASSOCIATE LIGHTING DESIGNER- Erin Pleake
CO-SOUND DESIGNER- Rick Scholwin
CO-SOUND DESIGNER/AUDIO ENGINEER- Brandon Reed
PROPERTIES MASTER- Corey Campbell
MUSICAL PREPARATION- Cheryl Forest Morganson
STAGE MANAGER- Nick Loweree
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR- Roy Howlington
SUPERTITLES- Dennis Helmrich, Alex Munger