The Opera People continue their 2022 season centered on the reframing of stories of mythological women with their most ambitious production to date and one of the most haunting and powerful operas of the 20th century, Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, in its Singapore premiere. This production is directed by Stefanos Rassios and will be performed on October 14 & 16 at the Wild Rice Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre. In addition to some of Singapore’s finest singers, this will also be the first time that The Opera People will be featuring international guest artists in the ensemble. The company also continues its collaboration with Wayfarer Sinfonietta led by music director Lien Boon Hua.
An ancient story is told to us by two contemporary people: in an occupied country reduced to depravity, a tyrant, Tarquinius, seeks to conquer the one thing that remains beyond his grasp, the chaste Lucretia. As she awaits the return of her husband, Tarquinius forcibly invades her home with unspeakable consequences. These ancient stories are only retold because we are still learning from them, often choosing distance over action. But unlike our storytellers, we do have the power to break these cycles. The rape and death of Lucretia led to a democratic revolution in Ancient Rome, and her story continues through the seeking of justice and redemption for generations of women who would come after her.
The Opera People’s co-artistic director and company manager, Shridar Mani, says, “2022 has been a year of artistic and organisational growth for us and with the easing of pandemic restrictions, we are really excited to be presenting the pinnacle of our 2022 season of programmes with this towering work of the twentieth century. Beyond that, in line with our mission of making work that speaks to the now, this is an absolutely necessary opera for the world we live in today where the horrors of war and gender violence continue to compromise the fundamental humanity that we collectively strive for. The opera itself takes place in a period of invasion in Rome and one of our cast members, Igor Mostovoi, hails from Ukraine where everyday we hear stories of atrocities committed as a display of power. The rape of the mythical Lucretia led to a democratic revolution against the invading Etruscans in Rome, and we hope that this production too will galvanize our own will to not be idle bystanders in addressing issues of sexual violence in our own communities”
Directed by Stefanos Rassios and featuring a cast of both Singapore’s finest singers and rising international stars, including Teng Xiang Ting, David Charles Tay, Martin Ng, Eugenia Forteza, Igor Mostovoi, Cindy Honata, Renata Hann Sungwon and David Tao Che Ming. With set design by Johanna Pan, costume design by Max Tan and lighting design by Petrina Dawn Tan, together with Wayfarer Sinfonietta led by Lien Boon Hua, The Rape of Lucretia is a masterful exploration of power, gender, morality and the traumas born from the conflicts between them.
David Charles Tay, The Opera People’s co-artistic director who also takes on the role of the Male Chorus, adds, “This is a work that we have been wanting to bring to Singapore audiences for some time. Not only does it deal with issues that remain deeply relevant today, but also because it is a fantastic ensemble piece for singers and musicians and is inherently a very collaborative work, which is very much in the spirit of The Opera People’s mission. Having been away from Singapore for more than two years because of the pandemic, I am really glad to be back with the company for this monumental opera, and also excited that we can finally welcome an international cast to join some of our finest local singers for this production”.
Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia plays on 14th and 16th October 2022 at the Wild Rice Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre. Tickets available here