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Handel's "Partenope" Entertains at New York City Opera
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Handel's "Partenope" Entertains at New York City Opera

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Partenope
By George Frideric Handel
Based on a Libretto by Silvio Stampiglia
At
New York City Opera
www.nycopera.com
David H. Koch Theater
www.lincolncenter.org

Music by George Frideric Handel
Libretto by Silvio Stampiglia
Conductor, Christian Curnyn
Production, Francisco Negrin
Stage Director, Andrew Chown
Set Designer, John Conklin
Costume Designer, Paul Steinberg
Lighting Designer, Robert Wierzel
Supertitles, Cori Ellison

Cast:
Cyndia Sieden as Partenope
Iestyn Davies as Prince Arsace of Corinth
Anthony Roth Costanzo as Prince Armindo of Rhodes
Daniel Mobbs as Ormonte
Stephanie Houtzeel as Rosmira
Nicholas Coppolo as Emilio

Continuo:
Harpsichord, Susan Woodruff Versage
Cello, Mark Shuman
Theorbo, Daniel Swenberg

Associate Conductor, Steven Fox
Musical Preparation, John Beeson, Liora Maurer,
Susan Woodruff Versage
Assistant Stage Directors, Cynthia Edwards, A. Scott Parry
Stage Managers, Cindy Knight, Anne DechÍne,
Mary Elsey, Chad Zodrow
Italian Language Coach, John Beeson

Publicity Coordinator: Shara Seigel

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 17, 2010


Partenope, Handelís 1730 romantic comedic opera, was presented today by New York City Opera in Francisco Negrinís production, directed by Andrew Chown. It concerns the lovely but practical Queen Partenope (Cyndia Sieden), who is frantically pursued by Rosmiraís fiancť, the fickle Prince Arsace (Iestyn Davies). Rosmira (Stephanie Houtzeel) disguises herself as Prince Eurimene, wearing pants and props, to go undercover and win Arsace back. Partenope is meanwhile pursued by two more characters, the boyish Prince Armindo (Anthony Roth Costanzo) and the roguish Emilio (Nicholas Coppolo). Partenopeís fatherly mentor, Ormonte (Daniel Mobbs), advises the cast of characters on all things spiritual, emotional, and logistical.

This baroque production is contemporary, in both John Conklinís scenic and Paul Steinbergís costume design. The Naples palace wallpaper grows leafier, with Robert Wierzelís colorfully warm lighting, echoing the lead charactersí evolution and maturation in sensibility and temperament. The backdrop even turns red or black to enhance the mood and moment. There are moon-shaped balls with interior fires, positioned in the set, that add surrealness and mysticism, lending the notion that Ormonte could have other-worldly powers. The Continuo and cast were conducted by Christian Curnyn, and itís composed of harpsichord, cello, and theorbo. Handelís score can be laborious and drawn out at times, but Maestro Curnyn kept the music meaningful and eloquent. Mr. Chown directed Mr. Negrinís production for visual, as well as musical, fluidity. I found myself absorbed, especially as the ensemble of characters vied for requited love. In the end, Armindo won Partenopeís hand, and Rosmira, now undisguised and blooming with desire, regained her object of affection, Prince Arsace, a ďtransformedĒ lover.

The vocalizations are mesmerizing, with two counter-tenors (Anthony Roth Costanzo as Armindo, and Iestyn Davies as Arsace), who add exotic and spiritual qualities to the production. The mezzo-soprano, Stephanie Houtzeel as Rosmira, is athletic as well as musically talented, and the bass baritone, Daniel Mobbs as Ormonte, has a gripping stage presence. The soprano, Cyndia Sieden as Partenope, reached her highest notes with clarity and elegance, and the tenor, Nicholas Coppolo as Emilio, used theatrical savvy to maximize his role. Kudos to Maestro Curnyn, Francisco Negrin, Andrew Chown, John Conklin, Paul Steinberg, Robert Wierzel, and kudos to Handel.

Photos below include E. V. Dayís vintage, City Opera costume-accessory sculptures, suspended from the ceiling of David H. Koch Theaterís Promenade, in honor of the Companyís new season in the Theaterís refurbished interiors.



Daniel Mobbs as Ormonte,
Cyndia Sieden as Partenope, and
Iestyn Davies as Arsace
in New York City Opera's "Partenope"
Courtesy of Carol Rosegg



Nicholas Coppolo as Emilio,
Stephanie Houtzeel as Rosmira,
and Anthony Roth Costanzo as Armindo
in New York City Opera's "Partenope"
Courtesy of Carol Rosegg



Anthony Roth Costanzo as Armindo
and Cyndia Sieden as Partenope
in New York City Opera's "Partenope"
Courtesy of Carol Rosegg



Cyndia Sieden as Partenope
and Anthony Roth Costanzo as Armindo
in New York City Opera's "Partenope"
Courtesy of Carol Rosegg




E. V. Day Opera Costume Sculptures
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower


E. V. Day Opera Costume Sculptures
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower


E. V. Day Opera Costume Sculptures
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower


E. V. Day Opera Costume Sculptures
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower


E. V. Day Opera Costume Sculptures
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower


E. V. Day Opera Costume Sculptures
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower




For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net