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Onstage: Alcina Almighty

By Anne Arenstein · January 20th, 2009 · CityBeat Recommends
As Valentine’s season approaches, Alcina is more operatic astringent than aperitif, beginning as the ultimate revenge fantasy, featuring a dazzling siren who lures men onto her island and when she’s had enough, changes the hapless lovers into animals, vegetables or minerals. True love confounds her magic with an elegant score by George Frederic Handel (who wrote more than 40 operas, in addition to the holiday chestnut Messiah.) Newly appointed J. Ralph Corbett Professor of Opera Robin Guarino makes her CCM stage debut directing Handel’s 1736 opera, moving the setting 200 years forward into the era of Noel Coward’s classy ladies and clueless men.

Not everything makes the leap — some of the clueless men are sung by women. Guarino describes the staging as “tennis court style” in the Cohen Family Studio Theatre. “I think it’s the first time anything’s been staged like this in the studio,” she says. Cohen Studio audiences are used to being up close to performers, but Guarino promises an even more intimate experience, especially with the performers “playing 360 degrees.” Guarino has directed over 40 productions and is at home in the vastness of the Metropolitan Opera or in Henry Street Settlement House’s tiny theatre. The challenges of CCM’s studio space don’t faze her. Another opportunity to collaborate. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Free but reservations are required. Get more details and RSVP here.



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