A Letter from the Director of the Stony Brook Opera

Our final show for the current season will be a fully staged production of Benjamin Britten’s gripping opera The Rape of Lucretia (1946). Although for the past two seasons we have experimented with semi-staged concert performances for the Main Stage opera, this year, because of very good box office receipts from last year’s La Bohème and several generous contributions from our Opera Guild members, we are able to offer a full production, with sets, costumes, lighting, furniture, and props. There will be two performances on the Main Stage of the Staller Center: Saturday, April 22 at 8 pm, and Sunday, April 23 at 3 pm, with pre-opera lectures in the Recital Hall one hour before each performance. The opera will be sung in the original English language, with projected titles as well. Timothy Long will conduct the Stony Brook Opera cast and members of the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra.

Making his Stony Brook Opera debut is stage director Ted Altschuler, who has assembled an outstanding production team of Reid Thompson as set designer, Caitlin Rapoport as lighting designer, and Beth Goldenberg as costume designer. All of the designers are also making their Stony Brook Opera debuts. Mezzo soprano Kristin Starkey plays the title role of Lucretia, soprano Janani Sridhar that of Lucia, and alumna mezzo soprano Christine Free that of Bianca. Soprano Ju Hyeon Han will sing the role of the Female Chorus, and tenor Jeremy Little that of the Male Chorus. To the best of our knowledge, Ju Hyeon Han will be the first blind singer to be cast in a leading role in an American Conservatory or University opera production! Baritone David Davani portrays Prince Tarquinius, while bass-baritone Alexander Hahn will sing the role of Lucretia’s husband, Collatinus. Rounding out the cast is baritone Zen Kuriyama as Junius.

This issue of our Newsletter is devoted entirely to The Rape of Lucretia, and includes background articles about the Rape of Lucretia in history, literature and art, Britten’s opera, including a synopsis, my interview with Ted Altschuler about his production and design concepts, and brief bios of our artists, with their photos. I am convinced that this will be a wonderful evening in the theater. Tickets for the Stony Brook performance are available at the Staller Center Box Office for $20 each.

Finally, my sincere thanks to all of you who have made tax-deductible contributions to the Long Island Opera Guild in support of our 2016-2017 season. If you have been meaning to make a contribution but have not yet done so, it is still not too late. Please make your check out to the Stony Brook Foundation. Your tax-deductible contribution will be deposited in the Long Island Opera Guild account and will be used to help finance our full production of The Rape of Lucretia in April.

David Lawton

Click here for full March 2017 Newsletter

Botticelli, The tragedy of Lucretia, ca. 1500