Above: Soprano Kim Jones stars in Haymarket Opera’s Acis and Galatea. Photo: Anna Cillan
For cast lists, please visit the Opera Series Overview.
The 2021 WFMT Radio Network Opera Series begins with an exceptional double-bill of Handel: Acis and Galatea, and Apollo e Dafne, presented by Chicago’s Haymarket Opera Company.
Haymarket launches its tenth anniversary season with one of Handel’s most beloved and enduring works, Acis and Galatea. The shepherd Acis and the sea nymph Galatea are blissfully happy until the jealous cyclops Polyphemus catches sight of them. In a fit of rage he crushes Acis under a giant boulder, killing him and breaking Galatea’s heart. She transforms her beloved shepherd into a stream so that she can splash in its waters for eternity. This compact masterpiece weds a colorful libretto to a sublime score for ninety minutes of sheer musical bliss. Written for the virtuoso musicians of a English country estate, Acis and Galatea works its magic with only a handful of singers and a small chamber ensemble of essential instruments.
Michael St. Peter, “a discovery” (Chicago Classical Review), returns to Haymarket following his triumphant debut in Lampe’s The Dragon of Wantley to sing the role of Acis. Chicago’s own “bright, alluring soprano” (Chicago Tribune) Kimberly Jones returns to Haymarket as the sea nymph Galatea. David Govertsen will bring “height and a thrilling bass” (Chicago Stage Style) to the iconic role of the giant cyclops Polyphemus. Kaitlin Foley brings her “superb blend of vocal gleam and fiery dramatic involvement” (Chicago Classical Review) to the role of Damon. Ensemble to include Kaitlin Foley, Mallory Harding, Ryan Townsend Strand, Jianghai Ho, and Dorian McCall.
Also in the broadcast, Haymarket celebrates Handel’s 336th birthday year with the intimate pastoral cantata Apollo e Dafne. The sun god Apollo has just saved the world from the terrors of the giant Python when he spies the ravishingly beautiful huntress Dafne. He is overcome with desire but Dafne will have none of it. She is devoted to Apollo’s sister Diana, the virgin goddess of the hunt. After a breathtaking chase, she escapes him by transforming into a laurel tree. In his deep grief he promises to keep the tree forever green with his tears and to crown heroes with its leaves. The astonishing beauty of Handel’s music has made Apollo e Dafne one of his greatest hits.
The dynamic duo soprano Erica Schuller and baritone Ryan de Ryke, well-known to Haymarket audiences for their show-stopping performances in Telemann’s Pimpinone, create the roles of Daphne and Apollo in Handel’s youthful masterpiece. Schuller’s burnished soprano “easily wins our hearts with her infectious goodness, winning smile, and gorgeous tone” (Stage and Cinema) and De Ryke’s “supple, refined baritone” (Chicago Classical Review) is the ultimate match for the virtuosic demands of Handel’s Apollo.
About the Host
Lisa Flynn has been a program host and producer for WFMT since 1991. She presents The New Releases and has hosted many programs for the WFMT Radio Network, including War Letters (which won the 2002 Peter Lisagor Award) and a series of live broadcasts from Salzburg to celebrate Mozart’s 250th birthday in 2006. As WFMT’s midday weekday announcer, Lisa hosts live studio performances and interviews guest artists including Renée Fleming, John Adams, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, John Eliot Gardiner, and many others. Before coming to Chicago, Lisa presented classical music at WOSU in Columbus, Ohio, and at WMFE and WUCF in Orlando, Florida. She holds a music degree from the University of Central Florida.
This program is a part of the WFMT Radio Network Opera Series, a series designed to complement the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts to fill out the year with great Opera content. The series begins in June and lasts until the end of November.