A Welcome return
Christoper Alden's stylish production of Handel's outstanding romantic comedy returns to the War Memorial Opera House for the 2019/20 season. Once again transporting the action from Ancient Greece to the modish Paris of the Jazz Age, as inspired by the work of Man Ray. Louise Alder makes her San Francisco Opera debut as the titular Partenope, alongside her suitors: Daniela Mack as Rosmira, Franco Fagioli as Arsace, Jakub Jozef Orlinski as Armindo and Alek Shrader as Emilio.
What is the story of Partenope?
In 1920s Paris, the Queen Partenope is now re-imagined as a successful salon owner, who is wooed by three different suitors. One of these suitors, Arsace jilted his lover Rosmira in order to pursue the glamorous Parisian; however, Rosmira isn't determined to lose him to another woman that easily. So, naturally, she disguises herself as a man and joins the pursuit of Partenope alongside her former lover and two others in the hope of winning him back. Of course, with another horse in the race, affairs of the heart are just about to get that more complicated...
In all versions of this comic Handel work, the focus remains on its use of soaring arias and wonderful ensemble singing, especially with the comedic quartet in the third act, something unusual for a Handel Opera.