Ermelinda, 1680, modern premiere by Ars Minerva in November 2019
Composed by Domenico Freschi, libretto by Francesco Maria Piccioli
The plot, which unfolds in Phoenicia, features two young lovers Ermelinda and Ormindo, a tyrannical father and two trouble makers. Ermelinda is not allowed to love Ormindo and will have to endure the stratagems and machinations fabricated by the other characters who want to split them. From mad scenes to fake deaths, every ruse and artifice will be used to make mischief. Will Ermelinda's determination and cleverness outsmart her enemies?
ORCHESTRA: Jory Vinikour (harpsichord, (conductor), Adam Cockerham (theorbo), Gretchen Claassen (cello). Strings: Cynthia Black, Laura Rubinstein-Salzedo, Aaron Westman.
CREATIVE TEAM: Céline Ricci (stage-director), Entropy (projection design), Thomas Bowersox (lighting design), Matthew Nash (costume designer), Teaghan Rohan (make-up), Joe McClinton (translation), Elisabeth Reeves (stage manager), Paul Miller (program notes).
The San Francisco Chronicle "The most thrillingly inventive and alluring offering in the company’s five-year history."
San Francisco Classical Voice "When singers as good as these get a chance, they can make what’s been forgotten memorable"
Exotic and Irrational Entertainment "Ermelinda was a Triumph"
Juditha - The Journey of a Warrior Woman - Music: Antonio Vivaldi (1717)
A collaboration between Ars Minerva and the SF Girls Chorus - November 20th 2020
I am thrilled about the collaboration between the San Francisco Girls Chorus and Ars Minerva around Vivaldi’s Juditha Triumphans! The San Francisco Girls Chorus is such a unique and inspiring organization which creates young, talented musicians and provides them with a high quality of education. One thing the performers who created Juditha Triumphans and the SFGC choristers have in common is that they are all young talented ladies who dedicate their life to music.
To me, the story of Judith is a legacy of empowerment, strength, and independence that women have passed to each other since the ancient times. The SFGC performers go through this journey as the young orphans girls of L'Ospedale della Pietà in Venice did 300 years earlier when they created Vivaldi's Juditha Triumphans. The choristers were surprised by the modernity of the story despite it coming from ancient times. The story also provided them with a feminine role model to look at. In their own words, Judith is not a woman who is waiting around for a man to end the war. She is competent and in charge. She is the heroine, not the assistant or lover of a hero.
The choristers have experienced the learning of this piece during the pandemic and its isolation which resonates with the isolations of the choristers of La Pietà who originally created the role in 1716. The orphan girls were cloistered and their life was entirely devoted to music. Times are different today; passion for music is better when coupled with freedom and the choristers are aware that. Music is a big part of their identity but what would it be without freedom?
The production will be fully staged in the future.
La Circe, 1665, modern premiere by Ars Minerva in September 2017
Composed by Pietro Andrea Ziani, libretto by Cristoforo Ivanovich
The plot of La Circe was inspired by the adventures of Circe, the goddess and magician of Greek mythology made famous in Homer’s Odyssey and Ovid's Metamorphoses. After Ulysses escapes Circe’s clutches, the outraged enchantress remains on her island with a number of unlucky captives who will fall victim to her resentment and manipulations.
CAST: Céline Ricci (Circe), Kindra Scharich (Andromaca), Kyle Stegall (Glauco), Ryan Belongie (Pirro), Aurélie Veruni (Scylla), Jasmine Johnson (Egle), Jonathan Smucker (Gligoro), Igor Vieira (Custode/Tissandro/Creonte), Katherine Hutchinson (aerial dancer)
ORCHESTRA: Derek Tam (harpsichord, conductor), Adam Cockerham (theorbo), Gretchen Claassen (cello), Laura Rubinstein-Salzedo (violin I), Nathalie Carducci (violin II), Addi Liu (viola)
CREATIVE TEAM: Céline Ricci (staging, concept), Katherine Hutchinson (choreography), Patricia Nardi (projection design), Maximilian Urruzmendi and Saskia Lee (lighting design), Matthew Nash and Lindsi Bristow (costumes), Joe McClinton (translation), Paul Miller (program notes), Saskia Lee (stage manager)