New York Opera Fest 2019 Preview: New Camerata Opera Takes On ‘The Rape of Lucretia’

By David Salazar
The New York Opera Fest 2019 kicked off on Monday, April 29 and for the next several weeks, New Yorkers will get ample opportunity to enjoy opera in a variety of unique ways. As has been OperaWire’s tradition over the years, we have reached out to a number of the companies participating in the festival and have asked them a series of questions that will allow our readers to get to know them a bit.

Kicking things off is the New Camerata Opera, which will be performing “The Rape of Lucretia” on May 2, 4, and 5. The opera will be directed by Bea Goodwin and stars Allison Gish, Amelia Hensley, Stan Lacy, Helena Brown, Erik Bagger, Victor Khodabad, Scott Lindroth, Barbara Porto, Eva Parr, and Julia-n Tang.

Tell us why you’re excited to participate in this year’s New York Opera Festival.
There is such a diversity of offerings this year, and we are honored to have “The Rape of Lucretia” amongst them. The festival fosters a community spirit that is very admirable, and necessary for the productivity of vibrant artistic work in this city.
What themes and/or issues are addressed in your production, and how are they relevant to your company and its mission?
The Rape of Lucretia was composed in 1946, but it is based on a story from 535 BC. Unfortunately, Lucretia’s tale is extremely relevant to today’s socio-political climate. Director Bea Goodwin has chosen to include deaf actress Amelia Hensley in the production, portraying the title character with ASL, alongside mezzo soprano Allison Gish. This fresh and inclusive perspective on a masterpiece highlights exactly what NCO is all about: building new audiences for the art form.
What is something special or unique about your production that NYC audiences can look forward to?
Britten’s orchestration for the piece will be brilliantly interpreted by Maestro Justin Bischof and the Modus Opera Orchestra. The players are first-rate, and in the acoustically excellent Flea Theater, the result is powerful and musically thrilling.
What role do you think “indie opera” plays in a city like NYC and for the future of the art form as a whole?
“Indie Opera” allows the art form to be portrayed from a great variety of vantage points. Though the budgets are smaller than in grand opera, there is less of a rigid mold to fill, and more freedom of expression tends to be embraced. This, in turn, helps to redefine opera in modern times.