Ars Minerva to Present North American Premiere of ‘Messalina’

By David Salazar

Ars Minerva is set to present the North American premiere “Messalina.”

The work, which was created by composer Carlo Pallavicino and librettist Francesco Maria Piccioli, will be presented at the ODC Theater in San Francisco between Nov. 19 through 21, 2021.

The opera, which tells the story of the wife of Emperor Claudius who was young enough to be his granddaughter, will be directed by Céline Ricci and conducted by Jory Vinikour. It will star Kevin Gino, Patrick Hagen, Zachary Gordin, Marcus Paige, Deborah Rosengaus, Kindra Scharich, Shawnette Sulker, and Aura Veruni.

“Messalina” is the second opera by Pallavicino that Ars Minerva stages (the first being “The Amazons in the Fortunate Islands”) and is the third with a libretto by Piccioli.

“Pallavicino and Piccioli formed quite a team in the second half of the 17th century,” said Ricci, who in addition to directing the production is founder and executive artistic director of Ars Minerva, in a press release. “Together they had a real flair for the sex farce with teeth.”

Ars Minerva is a champion of long-forgotten operas, offering the modern premieres of five such operas including Castrovillari’s “La Cleopatra,” Ziani’s “La Cire,” Porta’s “Ifigenia in Aulide,” Freschi’s “Ermelinda,” and the aforementioned “The Amazons in the Fortunate Islands.”