The thrilling historical performance ensemble Figure will present a fresh and intimate semi-stage performance of Handel’s Serse at London’s Holland Park Opera in June. The recently created group aims to represent the rising generation of historical musicians, valuing intimacy in interpretation and, above all, the human connection that gives meaning to music.
When King Serse falls in love with the voice of his brother’s beloved, he tries to use his authority to force her to marry him in this exploration of power, desire, and human frailty. Serse features some of Handel’s most striking music, including one of his most famous arias, “Ombra mai fu.” This stunning and vibrant score will be brought to life by a dramatic physical theater ensemble led by movement specialist Sam Rayner (Jack Whitehall: In general, NETFLIX; Umm Kulthum and the Golden Age, London Palladium)
Recently nominated by the Evening Standard as one of the UK’s most influential artists, the British soprano Sarah Tynan will play the role of Romilda, with the famous Mezzo Soprano Cecilia Room (The Metropolitan Opera; Oper Frankfurt) singing the title role. Figure will use space and light to capture the heart of this expressive composition and bring the audience as close to the music as possible.
Founder and Music Director Frederick Waxman (Founder of Ante Terminum) said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for Figure and an incredible achievement in our first year in business. Opera Holland Park has a reputation for supporting young talent and we are delighted to perform with them. Serse is one of Handel’s greatest works and where better to present it than here, surrounded by the plane trees of Holland Park, the subject of his magnificent opera aria ‘Ombra mai fu’.
In honor of the central figure of ‘Ombra mai fu’, Figure will partner with The Conservation Foundation as part of its Heritage Tree campaign. After planting a large number of trees over its 40 years, the organization now centralizes its fundraising to spread support across its entire urban flora to promote, encourage and celebrate tree interests rather than just planting trees.
The work took flight, with singers and musicians beautifully delivering its climactic moments of dread and joy… The whole performance had a thrilling immediacy (Michael Church, music critic for The Independent, on the Passion according to Saint John).
Tickets are priced from £20 to £50 and can be purchased at https://operahollandpark.com/productions/serse-2022/