Giulio Cesare

George Frideric Handel

28 Sep - 13 Nov 2019

Dates & venues

Cleopatra and Caesar unite – will love or power triumph?

Egypt, ancient times. The Roman leader Julius Caesar hounds an enemy to the edge of his empire. Arriving at the Egyptian court, he encounters a dynastic feud between the young queen, Cleopatra, and the joint ruler, her cruel brother, Tolomeo. As alliances shift, an ecstatic new love soars, but Caesar soon finds himself drawn into a dangerous web of bloodthirsty ambition…

In this Handel opera, vengeance and desire drive vividly-etched characters through a series of glittering arias – by turn seductive, desperate, triumphant and tender. Tim Albery’s acclaimed production, which has all the colour, passion and epic sweep of a Hollywood blockbuster, returns under the baton of Baroque specialist Christian Curnyn.

‘Compelling…delivers some of the finest baroque singing you will hear anywhere.’
★★★★ — The Guardian (2012)

‘Accomplished singing framed by an attractive spectacle.’
★★★★ — The Telegraph (2012)

#ONCesare

Price
£15 to £75*
Venues
  • Leeds Grand Theatre
  • Theatre Royal Newcastle
  • Theatre Royal, Nottingham
  • The Lowry, Salford Quays

Running time
Approximately 3 hours 15 minutes

Language
Sung in Italian with English titles

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Get £10 tickets with our Under 30s scheme

*Prices vary by venue. Booking fees may apply.

Story

Julius Caesar has chased his enemy and adversary Pompey to Egypt, beyond the borders of the Roman Empire. After a decisive battle on the banks of the Nile, Pompey flees into the hands of the Egyptians, only to be murdered at the command of Tolomeo, who rules Egypt alongside his sister Cleopatra. The two siblings are locked in a struggle for absolute power.

Pompey’s widow, Cornelia plots with Sesto, her son, to get their revenge on Tolomeo. Cleopatra seduces Caesar, eager to secure his support and tip the balance of power in her favour. Cornelia’s plot to murder Tolomeo is foiled and she and Sesto are arrested.

Tolomeo has ordered that Cornelia be sent to his harem but a new plot is devised to sneak Sesto in with her. Here he plans to kill Tolomeo when he is alone and unarmed. However, this second assassination attempt is also foiled, this time by Tolomeo’s general Achilla.

During a visit with Cleopatra, Cesare is ambushed by Tolomeo’s agents. Cleopatra implores him to flee but he decides to fight instead. Cleopatra suddenly realises that she has fallen in love. Open-conflict breaks out between Tolomeo’s army and the Romans. Overwhelmed in battle, Caesar leaps from a palace window in order to escape and is believed to have died.

General Achilla plans to defect but is attacked by Tolomeo before he can. Tolomeo’s army appears to have won the battle and Cleopatra mourns both her brother’s victory and Caesar’s death. But Caesar actually survived his fall from the palace window and comes across the dying Achilla, who gives Caesar his seal and the command of his army. Caesar vows to save both Cornelia and Cleopatra.

As the tide of battle turns, Tolomeo attempts to rape Cornelia, but Sesto appears and kills him. Caesar is victorious and declares Cleopatra queen of Egypt, promising to support her and her country.

Cast

Justina Gringyte

Giulio Cesare

Sophie Bevan

Cleopatra

Heather Lowe

Sesto

James Laing

Tolomeo

Paul-Antoine Bénos-Djian

Nireno

Darren Jeffery

Achilla

Creative team

Christian Curnyn

Conductor (ex 6 Nov)

Manoj Kamps

Conductor (6 Nov)

Tim Albery

Director

Leslie Travers

Set and Costume Designer

Thomas C. Hase

Lighting Designer

Giulio Cesare
Giulio Cesare
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