John Holiday and Vivica Genaux to Headline US Premiere of Riccardo Broschi’s Idaspe

By Chris Ruel

Pittsburgh’s experimental Quantum Theatre, in collaboration with Chatham Baroque, will stage the US premiere of Riccardo Broschi’s “Idaspe” at Pittsburgh’s Byham Theater from Oct. 7-15, 2022.

Headlining the show is countertenor John Holiday in the title role and mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux as Dario. The all-star cast includes Grammy Award-winning Karim Sulayman (Artaserse), Pascale Beaudin (Berenice), Zoie Reams (Mandane), Shannon Delijani (Arbace), and Wei En Chan (Ircano).

Chatham Baroque’s trio of Artistic Directors (Andrew Fouts-violin, Patricia Halvorsen-viola da gamba, and Scott Pauley- (theorbo and baroque guitar), worked in close collaboration with the show’s director Claire van Kampen to create an original performance edition in modern notation and with a contemporary book. Their reference: a sole 366-page, hand-written manuscript from the 1730s.

“The original opera would have run for more than 3.5 hours,” said Chatham Baroque in a press statement. “Our collective job was to pare it down to a reasonable running time, while preserving the most important parts of the story and the very best of the music. We can’t wait to start rehearsals for “Idaspe”—to really see and hear it come to life again for the first time since the 1730s.”

“Idaspe” relates the story of two children from the post-war Middle East who came to Naples as refugees. Separated, each joins the underworld of organized crime. The climatic face-to-face clash is inevitable when both become powerful bosses of two opposing clans.

The artistic team comprises Antonia Franceschi, choreographer; Narelle Sisson, Scenic Designer; Mary Ellen Stebbins, Lighting Designer; and Ilona Somogyi, Costume Designer.