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Opera Essentia

Orlando: Hero of Love

A 70-minute Distillation of Handel’s baroque opera [1732]

Friday, September 23 at 6 pm
Herbert Von King Park - Amphitheatre
670 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn

Saturday, September 24 at 6 pm
Campos Community Garden
644 E. 12th St, Manhattan


Artistic Director: Jeffrey Mandelbaum
Executive Producer: Marty Jeiven
Orlando ~ Jeffrey Mandelbaum, Countertenor
Dorinda ~ Elyse Anne Kakacek, Soprano
Angelica ~ Heather Hill, Soprano
Medoro ~ Hai-Ting Chinn, Mezzo-Soprano
Zoroastro ~ Hans Tashjian, Bass*
*appearing by courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera

First Violin ~ Rafa Prendergast
Second Violin ~ Jessica Park
Viola ~ Jessica Troy
Cello ~ Cullen O’Neil
Harpsichord ~ Rebecca Pechefsky

- Historically Informed Performance on Gut Strings –

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Highlights from "Orlando: Hero of Love"

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Opera Essentia Mission Statement:

Baroque Masterpieces Distilled for Now

George Frideric Handel is one of the great artistic geniuses of all time, and the most important composer for the voice in opera. Yet, of his 40 stage works, only about nine get any attention. Three quarters of the operatic output of this absolute master is unknown. The first pillar of Opera Essentia’s mission is to reclaim this discarded heritage of humanity — a treasure ripe for exploration and discovery.

The second pillar is to bring opera “Outside”— literally outdoors for the time being, but more importantly — outside of opera houses and traditional classical music venues. This grand artform is usually prohibitively expensive — both to produce and to attend, and this severely limits its accessibility and reach. Most people, especially historically underrepresented communities, are excluded from this pinnacle of the performing arts. In addition to Alphabet City, where we debuted in the spring, we are bringing Handel to Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn — to neighborhoods which lack centers for classical music. We also strive for diversity within the company, so that our listeners can see themselves belonging in this world absolutely. We believe that young people are an untapped audience — as these “baroque” operas, performed on gut strings, are aurally radical and viscerally transfixing.

The third pillar of Opera Essentia’s mission is curation for modern sensibilities. The three hour running time of Handel’s originals is uncomfortable for most people. We offer a One Act experience, without breaks. This allows us to be nimble, performing in alternative locations and rather than losing our audience halfway through, we attract curious passersby to something new. The music itself is the source and guide of our “distillation”. We shed surface trappings and artificial tension-producing elements, following a deeper level of drama captured within the composition. The “story” that remains is an arc of the emotional journey, filtering through the arias of each character, woven into an intimate sound chronicle.


This ensemble web page is provided by Gotham Early Music Scene.