Giulio Cesare in Egitto

Act 2

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Yuriy Mynenko
Countertenor – Giulio Cesare

Sophie Junker
Soprano – Cleopatra

Nicholas Tamagna
Countertenor – Tolomeo

Francesca Ascioti
Contralto – Cornelia

Katie Coventry
Mezzo-sopran – Sesto Pompeo

Riccardo Novaro
Baritone – Achilla

Artur Janda
Bass-Baritone – Curio

Rafał Tomkiewicz
Countertenor – Nireno

FestspielOrchester Göttingen

George Petrou
Director and Conductor

Paris Mexis
Stage and costume designer

Stella Kaltsou
Lightning designer

It was a trio of works in the 1724/25 season that established Handel's unparalleled position among the opera composers of his time. Tamerlano: the radical centrepiece. Rodelinda, re de' Langobardi: the colourfully multifaceted capstone. And both the opening, and the culmination of this radiant chord: Giulio Cesare in Egitto. It is the favourite of many, and is even considered by some as the best of the 42 operas by “Il caro Sassone”, the beloved Saxon – including our Artistic Director George Petrou.

So it is as understandable as it is bold that he is bringing it to the stage already in his first Göttingen Festival season – and that, on both the podium and in the director’s chair. This makes sense in two ways: for one, because Petrou has already staged successful productions such as Alcina, Idomeneo, West Side Story, Kiss Me, Kate and Sweeney Todd as well as operetta and drama, focusing on a musician’s approach to theatre and looking into defining the close bonds between musical dramaturgy and the stage action. For another, because Handel’s fine characterization and the complex psychology of the characters are inextricably interwoven with the compositional dramaturgy.

As understandable as it is bold: such is also the plan that Cleopatra devises to realize her claim to the Egyptian throne which her brother Tolomeo occupies. For this reason, she seduces Caesar into helping her – with sweeping success and lasting consequences for both of them: cunning turns into lust and passion. The Roman ruler also falls in love with her, but finds himself confronted with a bloodthirsty revenge plot. Cornelia and Sesto, wife and son of his slain enemy Pompeo, hold him responsible for the beheading of the rogue commander and plot to take his life ...

100 years after Oskar Hagen rediscovered and resurrected the masterpiece, it is returning in a co-production with the Nederlandse Reisopera to the place where the Handel renaissance in Germany began in the 1920s.

With kind support from