The Orchestra of New Spain once again returns to Madrid’s 18th-century stage as the source for the modern premiere of Achilles in Skyros.
The 1744 three-act opera by Francisco Courcelle, focuses on the sequestration of the young emblematic hero as described by the celebrated librettist Pietro Metastasio
Warned by a prophecy of his early death in the Trojan wars, Achilles’ mother disguises him as a young woman in a royal harem on the island of Skyros. The plot centers on Ulysses tricking him into revealing his true identity.
In the baroque tradition, audiences were fascinated with disguise and mistaken identity, and trouser roles were popular. In this case, the central role of Achilles is given to a mezzo-soprano, and hers is one of five pants roles in this work.
Composed to celebrate the wedding of Princess Maria Teresa of Spain to the Dauphin of France, this opera represents the emergence of Spain artistically from the insularity of the zarzuela towards a more European, Italian influenced operatic style. This opera provides proof of the beauty and grandeur of the works of Courcelle, known in England as “the Spanish Handel”. The production includes richly colored costumes, and Spanish baroque dance.
This production, the sixth in its annual series of staged Spanish works, has seen a significant growth in interest from the public for its Spanish —and Hispanic New World— repertory and a gratifying increase in the number of Hispanic artists available for its productions, the music house said in a news release.
“There were simply no young Hispanics available in Dallas for our first two seasons,” noted artistic director Grover Wilkins 3 “But today the scene has changed totally. Education has drawn a wide swath of young Hispanics to the Arts and we are profiting from it.”
The production will preview Feb. 3 at the Dallas Institute for the Humanities.
Wine, tapas and free parking are included in the $35 admission.
For more information, visit orchestraofnewspain.org.