June 3, 2018 – 4:00pm
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
2300 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Buy Tickets: $15
$5 *students under age 30 with ID
*Available only at the box office.
Handel’s Serse is a tale of cleverness and bravery in the ancient imperial court of King Xerxes. Schemes are hatched, letters go astray, servants and nobles collude in deception, and a mysterious visitor in disguise takes treacherous action — all for the sake of justice and honor. Like SHAK’s beloved Alcina adaptation, presented in 2015 by Early Music America during the Boston Early Music Festival, this all-ages production is an hour-long spoken play interspersed with sparkling arias and choruses from the original work, all acted and sung by our skilled youth cast aged 8 and to teen. Students of Seattle Historical Arts for Kids bring to life the glories of the Baroque age with costume, dance, and fencing from the time, accompanied by an all-star period-instrument chamber orchestra.
Stage direction by Carmen Mettler, vocal coaching by Nancy Zylstra, choreography & dance instruction by Jamia Hansen-Murray, duels and fencing instruction by Cecil Longino. Concept, script, and music direction by Shulamit Kleinerman, with Tekla Cunningham, violin; Joanna Blendulf, cello; and John Lenti, theorbo.
Something very special happens when young people connect with life from many centuries ago. Whether they’re learning in a class, performing, or listening from the audience, children and teenagers are empowered and inspired when they discover themselves as carriers of a tradition so much larger than we are.
Imagine, we may say, someone wrote this song down seven hundred years ago. What would they think of us, here, singing it now? In modern America, cultural memory is short and fragmented. The New World is unsure how to relate to the European history it inherits. Our community life grows richer when we can not only witness the diversity of cultures today, at home and across the globe, but gaze deeply into the human past, wherever we can find it. There is no more direct access than through the arts.
What if you write a song, we continue, and someone is still singing it many centuries from now?