Handel
Santa Fe Festival · Santa Fe · August 2004


As Santa Fe Opera's own publicity for the following season put it, Agrippina turned out to be the unexpected hit of the festival, with audiences laughing out loud and being moved by the opera they thought would be 4 hours of static tedium. This is Francisco's 6th production of a Handel opera, once again co-created with conductor Harry Bicket and three of what is starting to feel like the Bicket-Negrin troupe of singer-actors: Lisa Saffer, David Walker and Christine Goerke (others not in this production would be David Daniels, Bejun Mehta, John McVeigh, Elisabeth Futral and Palle Knudsen) here joined by Kris Jepson and Christophe Dumaux to form one of those rare true ensembles that bring the piece to a life way beyond its individual elements.



Production Team
Set: Allen Moyer
Costumes: Allen Moyer
Lighting: Jennifer Tipton
Conductor: Harry Bicket

Cast
Christine Goerke, Kristine Jepson, Corey McKern, David Walker, Justin Petersen, Christophe Dumaux, Lisa Saffer, Brindley Sherratt


"Agrippina, only the fourth Handel score given here, was a triumph for all concerned. Francisco Negrin caught the measure of this quirkily amusing story of court intrigue and peopled it with strongly drawn characters. Allen Moyer's beautiful sets (flexible and neo-Classical) and costumes (eclectic but telling and flattering) were superbly lit by Jennifer Tipton. At the end - where having achieved her goal of placing her son on the throne, Agrippina remains unfulfilled - Negrin and the soprano imaginatively went beyond the litteral sense of the text to create memorably vivid theatre. A great evening."

David Shengold
Opera News and Opera International
Fall 2004





"Agrippina is a towering, comic triumph and a sonic and theatrcally balanced evening. Negrin drew consistently insightful movement and characterizations from his cast within a highly stylized, sometimes farcical framework... All this visuall opulence was exquisitely revealed by the simple, direct yet atmosferic lightingn - just the thing to illuminate this fantastic tale."

Craig Smith
The New Mexican
July 26 2004





"Director Francisco Negrin has woven a vivid tapestry of love, comedy and sexual innuendo into Handel's lucid drama of deceit and treachery in Claudius' Roman court.Propelled by a "chorus" of masked stage hands, the action was smooth and economical, making the opera's three-hour length seem much shorter."

Michael Huebner
The Birmingham News
August 15, 2004





"Santa Fe Opera's new production of Agrippina inventively directed by Francisco Negrin capitalizes on these farcical elements, without, thank goodness, ignoring many moments of dramatic insight and psychological truth. With a virtually flawless cast and extremely stylish conducting by Harry Bicket (a veteran of Handel's Orlando at Covent Garden and Theodora at Glyndebourne), the production is already regarded by many as the true highlight of the current Santa Fe festival seasonIn short, well worth a trip to northern New Mexico."

David Gregson
San Diego Magazine
August 9 2004