Directed by Elmo Nüganen, George Frideric Handel's "Julius Caesar" premiered at Vanemuise Theater in Tartu on Saturday. The Baroque opera's debut performance also marked the first time in Estonian musical theater history in which three Estonian contratenors shared the stage.
With leading roles originally written for castrati, "Julius Caesar" will be performed by two different casts, featuring two different sets of soloists: contratenors Martin Karu, Ivo Posti and Ka Bo Chan, and mezzosopranos Sandra Laagus, Annaliisa Pillak and the Estonian National Opera's Karis Trass.
On opening night, Karu took to the stage in his opera debut as the titular Julius Caesar, Pirjo Jonas as Cleopatra, Ivo Posti as Ptolemy, Tuuri Dede as Cornelia, Rasmus Kull as Sextus, Simo Breede as Achillas, Ka Bo Chan as Nirenus and Märt Jakobson as Curio.
On November 11, the cast will feature Sandra Laagus as Julius Caesar, Maria Listra as Cleopatra, Annaliisa Pillak as Ptolmey, Karmen Puis as Cornelia, Rasmus Kull as Sextus, Taavi Tampuu as Achillas, Karis Trass as Nirenus and Kristjan Häggblom as Curio.
Backing both casts are the Vanemuine Opera Choir and Vanemuine Symphony Orchestra.
Vanemuine Theater's production of "Julius Caesar" is directed by Elmo Nüganen, with a production crew featuring musical director and chief conductor Risto Joost and conductors Taavi Kull and Martin Sildos, director's assistant Merle Jalakas, set designer Kristjan Suits, costume designer Kristine Pasternaka (Latvian National Opera), lighting designer Rene Liivamägi, movement director Janek Savolainen, repetitors-concertmasters Pia Paemurru and Toomas Kaldaru, concertmasters Ele Sonn and Katrin Nuume, head chorusmaster Aleksandr Bražnik and chorusmaster Kristi Jagodin.
While by far Handel's most popular opera, this marks the first time that Tartu's Vanemuine Theater has put on a production of "Julius Caesar."
Editor: Aili Vahtla