Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Opera Omaha delivers "endless pleasure" in new Semele with Aubrey Allicock

Dancers surround Somnus (Aubrey Allicock), god of sleep
Regular readers will remember that our "Barihunks Best of 2014" featured Opera Omaha for the "Hottest Cast in Opera" for their production of Handel's Agrippina. The cast was led by two of the sexiest barihunks in the business, Hadleigh Adams as the emperor Claudio and Doug Williams as Pallante.

Opera Omaha is bringing back the director of Agrippina, James Darrah and his creative team Chromatic, to take on another Handel opera, Semele. Barihunk Aubrey Allicock will sing the role of Somnus, the god of sleep. He'll be joined by countertenor Ray Chenez as Athamas, soprano Mary Feminear as Semele, mezzo Peabody Southwell as Juno, tenor William Ferguson as Jupiter and soprano Liz Lang as Iris. Early music specialist Stephen Stubbs will also return to conduct Semele.

Samuel Ramey sings "More Sweet is That Name" from Semele:

Performances at the Orpheum Theater will be on April 8 and 10 and tickets are available online. There will be a pre-performance talk 40 minutes before each performance in the Grand Lobby, where James Darrah will share insights into this new production.

Handel’s Semele is a darkly comic mythological story of a mortal woman’s tryst with a dangerous god. It's the tale of two worlds, the immortal and the mortal. Swept off to a celestial love nest by the besotted Jupiter, the still-discontented princess is easily manipulated by the jealous Juno into demanding more, and is destroyed. The opera includes some of Handel's most popular arias, including Semele's "Endless pleasure, endless love." Jupiter's "Where'er you walk" and the most egotistical aria in all of opera, Semele's "Myself I shall adore."

Countertenor Ray Chenez & Barihunk Aubrey Allicock
Opera Omaha, which began in 1958 as the Omaha Civic Opera Society, is the only professional opera company in Nebraska, It became a fully professional opera company by 1970 and is known for highlighting gifted young singers from the area as well as nationwide. The company is known for both its innovation and educational outreach programs. They had produced eight world premieres and four American premieres.

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