Amanda Forsythe Headlines Music of the Baroque’s ‘Classical Heroines’

By David Salazar
(Credit Tatiana Daubek)

Music of the Baroque is set to celebrate Women’s History Month with “Classical Heroines.”

The showcase, which is scheduled for March 20-21, 2022 at the North Shore Center for Performing Arts in Skokie and. The Harris Theater in Millennium Park (in Chicago) will be headlined by soprano Amanda Forsythe.

The program, which will be conducted by Nicholas Kraemer, will include Haydn’s Symphony No. 11, the Overture to Händel’s “Agrippina,” “Da tempeste” from Händel’s “Giulio Cesare,” Haydn’s “Scena di Berenice,” music from Händel’s “Alceste,” “Dido’s Lament” from Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas,” and Purcell’s “Chacony” in G minor.

“‘Classical Heroines’ starts with the overture to an opera about Agrippina, whose claim on the title of heroine is dubious,” Kraemer said in an official press statement. “Handel was at his youthful best in this powerful introduction to what I believe to be one of his greatest operas. Haydn’s ‘Scena di Berenice,’ written for Madame Banti, a contemporary prima donna who inspired him greatly, is a microcosm of his abilities in this dramatic genre. Alceste was indeed a heroine who sacrificed herself to save her husband. I have selected some quirky orchestral numbers plus ‘Gentle Morpheus,’ one of Handel’s most beautiful sleep airs. The archetypal heroine is Dido, Queen of Carthage, whose famous lament puts Purcell at the head of early composers in this form, with its powerful simplicity and directness. And finally, Cleopatra, the ambitious heroine of Handel’s ‘Giulio Cesare,’ rejoices in her freedom at the end of the opera with ‘Da tempeste,’ an aria of buoyant gaiety.

“Amanda Forsythe has all the necessary attributes to bring all these women to life through these vivid portraits. She has a unique sense of drama in her performance, so expect to be blown away!”