Saturday, July 16, 2016

Chatham Baroque Joins Summerfest for Staging of Handel's "Julius Caesar"

Opera Theater of Pittsburgh stages Handel’s JULIUS CAESAR, one of the greatest love stories in all of history! Passion and politics collide in the timeless tales of Caesar (Andrey Nemzer) and Cleopatra (Lara Lynn McGill). The three roles written by Handel for superstar castrati are sung by three fantastic countertenors: Mr. Nemzer, Min Sang Kim, and Zachary Wood. 
Countertenors Andrey Nemzer, Zachary Wood and Min Sang Kim

Walter Morales conducts Chatham Baroque, the opera’s guest orchestra. This exciting contemporary-style production is staged by Dan Rigazzi of the directorial team of the Metropolitan Opera.
Free Late Night Cabaret after the shows on Saturdays 16 and 23 July. All patrons welcome at these events.

One of William Shakespeare's most enduring characters, Julius Caesar looms large in contemporary culture (the month of our SummerFest performances is named for him!). The story of the heroic Caesar and the entrancing Cleopatra have fueled countless books, plays, and films, but Handel's 1724 Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Julius Caesar in Egypt) is considered his masterpiece, not just by audiences in Handel's day, but also by opera-goers worldwide today.

Andrey Nemzer, noted Pittsburgh countertenor, takes on the demanding title role, with Opera Theater veteran Lara Lynn McGill as the beautiful Cleopatra, who, as Stacy Schiff observes in her bestselling recent biography of the queen, "has had one of the busiest afterlives in history, eventually becoming an asteroid, a video game, a cliché, a cigarette, a slot machine, a strip club, and a synonym for Elizabeth Taylor."

Opera Theater's new production features members of Chatham Baroque in the orchestra. "One of Pittsburgh’s greatest treasures” says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Chatham Baroque continues to excite local, national, and international audiences with dazzling technique and lively interpretations of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century music played on instruments of the period. Learn more on

Performances of Julius Caesar are part of a global commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, as are those of Kiss Me, Kate, Cole Porter's lively backstage musical based on The Taming of the Shrew.

Performance times are Sunday, 17 July at 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, 23 July at 7:30 p.m.
For tickets, phone 412-326-9687 or visit website


Dine and save at nearby East End restaurant partners with your ticket on performance day. Make pre-show plans at: Bites & Brews, Cafe Zinho, The Elbow Room, Lucca Ristorante, and Zarra's.
Partake of light fare by Fabled Table and beverages before evening shows in the Cabaret Lounge. Cold beverages available at matinees. Take in our Strong Women Art Exhibition features works by Melissa Sullivan and Patti Mennick all season long in the Cabaret Lounge.

Catch pre-show artist talks and entertainment by Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks one-hour before curtain on Saturday and Sunday this weekend.

Soprano Lara Lynn McGill  Credit: Catherine Aceto

More about Soprano Lara Lynn McGill

Soprano Lara Lynn McGill has been described as "a voice of size, clarity, and wide coloristic range...a three-dimensional figure who combined vulnerability with strength and tugged at the heartstrings in her every breath and movement" (Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 2013). With Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, she portrayed Antonia in The Tales of Hoffmann and Mamah Cheney in Shining Brow. Last season, during SummerFest 2015, Lara Lynn created the role of Alice Front in the world premiere of A New Kind of Fallout by Gilda Lyons and Tammy Ryan.

The following is a Q & A conducted by Summerfest’s Catherine Aceto with Ms. McGill:

Q: What have you been up since SummerFest 2015?
A: After A New Kind of Fallout last summer, I was in another world premiere - "Shahrazad " by Amiche Artists. Then I got married! I also placed in a competition. It was quite a year!

Q: Your performance last year in A New Kind of Fallout was emotionally powerful. How do you feel about the work ahead with Julius Caesar?
A: I'm extremely excited to portray Cleopatra. As much as I enjoyed creating the character of Alice Front [from A New Kind of Fallout] last year, there's something special about becoming a historical figure. Reading her biography, visiting museums, and, of course, watching the Elizabeth Taylor movie have all been a part of my character study.

I am in awe of Cleopatra's strength, wit, and her conviction to be a great ruler. Her romance and reign with Caesar is fascinating. She's 22 and he is in his 50s, yet her intelligence and charm win him to her side. I approach this role with humility and gratitude, knowing that Handel’s ingenious score is what truly makes Cleopatra shine on the stage.

Lara Lynn McGill Credit: Catherine Aceto

Q: Cleopatra's a big one! Any other roles you’d love to perform in the future?
A: Ah, my dream role has to be Violetta in La traviata. Another strong woman!

Q: Where/what will you move onto after SummerFest 2016?
A: I'm not sure yet...still waiting to hear back from all the auditions I squeezed in before this SummerFest!

Q: Lara Lynn, besides music and opera, what other things are you passionate about?

A: Food, family, and Jesus...not particularly in that order, but I do really love food

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