AVA The Rape of Lucretia 2024 Press Release


Academy of Vocal Arts Presents Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia

Philadelphia, 1/29/2024 – The Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) is proud to announce its upcoming production of Benjamin Britten’s controversial opera, The Rape of Lucretia, a hard-hitting social commentary and masterpiece of 20th century English chamber opera. This thought-provoking opera runs Feb. 17, 20, 22, and 24, 2024, at AVA’s historic Helen Corning Warden Theater and takes the stage at AVA for the first time since the 1997-98 season.

The Rape of Lucretia, composed by Britten in 1946 with the libretto by Ronald Duncan, is a confrontational opera that invokes the ancient tale of Roman noblewoman Lucretia, whose rape by the king’s son, Tarquinius, and subsequent suicide leads to the overthrow of the Roman monarchy and the establishment of a republic. Themes of duty, virtue, and violence are weaved through this work and highlight the heavy societal burdens that women have shouldered throughout history. Stage director Tara Faircloth, whose work includes Il barbiere di Siviglia at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Semele at Wolf Trap Opera, and Pagliacci at Austin Opera, makes her AVA debut with this production. Faircloth remarks, “A friend recently commented to me, ‘This opera seems especially relevant in light of recent events.’ While I absolutely agree, I do not think there has been a time in history when that has not been true. The Rape of Lucretia reminds us of the deep truth that all time is one. The struggles of these ancient characters are not at all unfamiliar to those of us watching through modern eyes. It is impossible not to consider the lives destroyed in the ongoing atrocities around the world today: lands far away and in our own backyards.”

Longtime AVA conductor and music director, Christofer Macatsoris, comments, “The message of the work is important, it’s very timely, and it has stunningly beautiful music to it – very clear music, it’s something you can see through – and it will certainly have human passion at every turn. It’s a beautiful work, and I encourage people to come and partake in the beauty of this piece.”

AVA’s world-class Resident Artists bring the opera to life with their exquisite vocal and performance skills. Mezzo-soprano and Ukraine native Alla Yarosh (2nd Year) shares her take on performing the title character, “Lucretia is very much the epitome of someone who is pure, someone who is loyal, someone who is chaste, someone who is unwilling to bend to what society is doing – to what people around her are doing. She has her morals, she has her beliefs, and she is going to stick to them until she dies. This opera is definitely challenging and confronting, but I think it is essential to think for ourselves in this world.” Baritone and Costa Rica native Kevin Godínez (4th Year) comments on playing the role of Roman prince Tarquinius, “Embodying a rapist is not a nice thing. I think this role is a representation of the evil of this world, and it represents the corruption and wrong of this world in every possible way. It’s truly a challenge, dramatically and psychologically.” Bass-baritone and Maryland native Dylan Gregg (2nd Year), who portrays Lucretia’s husband Collatinus, adds, “I feel a very strong connection to this role. Collatinus is virtuous man; his love for Lucretia is very pure, and it’s that rare love that you don’t get to see too often. I’m really enjoying connecting to this role in that way and finding that part of myself. That’s been very deep and unconditional, in a way, and it’s been a wonderful experience.”

AVA’s production of The Rape of Lucretia will take the audience on journey of profound and conflicting emotions that will resonate long after the music’s final notes. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience this masterpiece of 20th century English chamber opera.

Tickets are $68 for general admission and $103 for premium seating. Tickets are available for purchase online at avaopera.org and via telephone at (215) 735-1685.

About the Academy of Vocal Arts

The mission of the Academy of Vocal Arts is to be the world’s premier institution for training young artists to become international opera soloists. Through rigorous instruction and coaching, and by presentations of Resident Artists from around the world in concerts, oratorios, public programs and fully staged professional opera productions, AVA trains artists with the high potential for career success while enriching lives in Philadelphia and beyond. Gifted singers come from throughout the world to seek the exceptional guidance and training that AVA offers. Admission is determined by competitive annual auditions. AVA is distinguished by its reputation for high quality performances that are acclaimed by critics locally, nationally, and internationally. Each year AVA resident artists are presented in four or five fully staged opera productions accompanied by orchestra. Resident Artists are cast in leading roles that they will in all likelihood continue to perform for the rest of their careers. Learn more about AVA at avaopera.org.

Academy of Vocal Arts: Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia

Music by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)

Libretto by Ronald Duncan (1914-1982)

February 17, 20, 22, and 24, 2024, at 7:30PM

AVA’s Helen Corning Warden Theater

1920 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Sung in English with English supertitles.

Christofer Macatsoris, Conductor

Tara Faircloth, Director

Roles and Resident Artists (in order of vocal appearance)

Male Chorus                Luke Norvell

Shawn Roth

Female Chorus            Emily Margevich

Veronica Richer

Collatinus                    Cumhur Görgün

                                    Dylan Gregg

Junius                          Geoffrey Schmelzer

Nan Wang

Tarquinius                   Benajmin Dickerson

Kevin Godínez

Lucretia                       Jenny Anne Flory

Alla Yarosh

Bianca                         Monique Galvão

Ariana Maubach

Lucia                            Loella Grahn

Ethel Trujillo  

Photos available upon request.

For press inquiries, please contact:

Andrew Rohe

Marketing & PR Manager


(215) 735-1685 x30