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Cornish Opera Theater Mounts Bold New Staging of Venus And Adonis: Baroque Masterpiece Reimagined

October 11, 2012

SEATTLE, WA – Cornish Opera Theater presents John Blow’s strikingly original 17th century masterpiece Venus and Adonis in a bold, contemporary staging by director James Darrah and visual artist Susie J. Lee. This timeless tale of love, loss, beauty and redemption features a period instrument ensemble directed by Stephen Stubbs, choreography by Anna Mansbridge, and student singers from Cornish’s Artist Diploma in Early Music program.

Performances are scheduled for November 8 –10, at 8 pm and November 11, at 2 pm at PONCHO Concert Hall, 710 East Roy Street, in Seattle. Tickets are available online at http://www.cornish.edu/events.

Challenging preconceived notions about the Baroque, Cornish Opera Theater’s Venus and Adonis combines opera, art installation and the ritual of the English masque to create an unexpected and engaging theatrical experience. The production “escapes the rigidity of time period or specificity of place to submerge into visceral physicality where impulse and instinct collide,” says director Darrah. “Through this voyeuristic study of human folly, love moves beyond physical connection—transcending both gender and mortality.”

Cornish Opera Theater presents
Venus and Adonis
PONCHO Concert Hall
710 East Roy Street, Seattle
Thursday, November 8, 8 PM
Friday, November 9, 8 PM
Saturday, November 10, 8 PM
Sunday, November 11, 2 PM
Free parking available
Concert Tickets: $20 general; $15 seniors; $10 students and Cornish alumni
Purchase tickets online: http://www.cornish.edu/events

About the artists

Stephen Stubbs, Music Director. After a thirty-year career in Europe, Stephen Stubbs returned to his native Seattle in 2006 to establish Pacific MusicWorks, an organization dedicated to the contemporary presentation of early music. The company’s inaugural production of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, directed for the stage by South African artist William Kentridge was universally lauded by critics and public alike. Subsequent productions have included Monteverdi’s Combattimento di Tancredi as well as the Monteverdi Vespers and Handel’s Esther, performances described by The Seattle Times as “utterly thrilling” and “of a quality you are unlikely to encounter anywhere else in the world.” Since 1997 Stephen has also served as co-artistic director of the biannual Boston Early Music Festival where he has directed or co-directed productions of Conradi’s Ariadne, Lully’s Thesee and Psyché, Steffani’s Niobe, Handel’s Acis and Galatea and overseen three Grammy-nominated recordings. Stephen’s other recent engagements have included conducting Handel’s Guilio Cesare and Gluck’s Orfeo in Bilbao, Spain, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo for the Netherlands Opera, and Handel’s Agrippina for UCLA. 2011 saw Steve’s debut conducting the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Stephen also directs the Accademia d’Amore, a ten-day workshop held every summer at Cornish College of the Arts, that offers 30 advanced students the opportunity to work on musical and dramatic aspects of 17th century vocal repertoire with a faculty of world-renowned specialists. Stephen also directs Cornish’s Early Music program offering an Artist Diploma in Early Music for promising young singers and instrumentalists.

American director, production designer, and visual artist James Darrah is committed to collaborative projects within the mediums of opera, theater, musical theater, and film. He recently directed and designed acclaimed new productions of Handel’s Teseo and Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Médée for Chicago Opera Theater in their 2011-¬‐2012 seasons and made his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut with Berio’s Recital for Cathy while working as an assistant to Christopher Alden with Don Giovanni. Directing and design work in opera includes new productions of Handel’s Agrippina, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Cavalli’s Giasone, the lauded US West Coast premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Flight, and Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea for OperaUCLA, La Tragédie de Carmen (Bizet/Brook), Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, and Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and Britten’s The Golden Vanity with Bennett’s All the King’s Men at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica. Darrah trained as a director/designer apprentice with the Croatian National Theater and the Split Summer Festival. He has worked as an assistant and associate director with Stephen Wadsworth (Ariodante at Juilliard, The Bartered Bride for The Metropolitan Opera at Juilliard, Agamemnon at the Getty Villa Museum in Malibu), and Peter Kazaras (Falstaff and The 3penny Opera at UCLA, Le nozze di Figaro at Opera Cleveland).

Susie J. Lee has been recognized by the Seattle Weekly as the “2006 Emerging Artist of the Year” for the “intelligence, emotion and sensuality” of her video art. Following her first solo exhibition at Lawrimore Project in 2007, Lee was named “An Artist to Watch” by the national publication Artnews. Lee’s work has been exhibited nationally, including at the Denver Art Museum, Denver, and Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, and internationally in Italy (Galleria Tiziana Di Caro, Salerno; and Artefiere Bologna,Bologna), and at the Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, Korea. She was the winner of the 2010 Stranger Visual Art Genius Award for her work in sculpture, video, and performance. In 2011, the Portland Art Museum selected her as one of the recipients of the Northwest Contemporary Art Award. She is represented by Lawrimore Project, Galleria Tiziana Di Caro, and Myers Contemporary.