Preview: Alcina by The Opera People

Live opera returns to the stage for the first time in more than a year, with The Opera People presenting the Singapore premiere of George Frideric Handel’s masterpiece, Alcina.

This new adaptation by Singaporean theatremaker, Tan Shou Chen, will premiere on 20th and 22nd August at the Wild Rice Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre. In collaboration with Singapore’s only period instrument performing ensemble, Red Dot Baroque, this version of the Alcina delves deeper into the original’s feminist themes.

The Opera People’s co-artistic director and company manager, Shridar Mani, says, “2020 was a really good year for us despite the challenges of Covid-19 as it gave us an opportunity to explore the digital realm in ways we could not imagine before. But we are really excited to bring a full-length opera production to a physical audience for the first time in more than a year! Alcina was the perfect work to do, not just because of the smaller forces required for it that allow us to easily adapt the work as restrictions change, but also because of its deep investigation of femininity and power that is even more relevant today”

Jonathan Charles Tay, co-artistic director, who also sings the tenor role of Oronte, says: “We are really excited to have with us this amazing cast and creative team, as well as our collaborators Red Dot Baroque, whom we will be working with for the very first time. The classical music and opera scene have grown immensely over the past decade, especially with many young singers and musicians returning from overseas, hungry to create work that speaks to us and our stories.”

Why Handel and why Alcina? Despite the conventions of baroque opera that can seem esoteric, in this fast-paced world of Netflix and Tik-Tok, Handel’s operas offer a deep psychological introspection of what it means to feel and be human. In this adaptation of the opera, The Opera People have deconstructed the original to create a searing portrayal of power, love and betrayal.

Stripped of her powers and confined to a cell, the sorceress Alcina is forced to relive the moments of her life that led to her downfall on her enchanted island. After all, no place ruled by a woman can be truly free from the machinations of men for long. Betrayed by her lover Ruggiero, undone by his wife Bradamante and abandoned by her sister Morgana, Alcina awaits her fate, haunted by the memories of a life that was never hers to begin with.

Directed by Tan Shou Chen, this production features a cast of Singapore’s finest singers, including Teng Xiang Ting as Alcina, Chan Wei En as Ruggiero, Renata Hann Sungwon as Morgana, Felicia Teo Kaixin as Bradamante, Ng Jingyun as Oberto, Jonathan Charles Tay as Oronte and John Lee as Melisso, Alcina also features Red Dot Baroque, led by music director Alan Choo.

Alcina plays on 20th and 22nd August 2021 at the Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre @ Wild Rice. Tickets available from SISTIC

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