Richard the lionheart
By George Frideric Handel • January 21, 24, 27 & 29, 2017
Before he wrote his famous Messiah, George Frideric Handel composed a number of beautiful operas. He wrote Richard the Lionheart (Riccardo Primo) for the Royal Academy's 1726–27 opera season. Although it’s been performed numerous times in Europe, this will mark only its second United States performance.
King Richard I of England travels to Cyprus to retrieve his shipwrecked fiancee Costanza. But Isacio, the Governor of Cyprus, wants her for himself. Betrayal, greed, love and war- all the ingredients for a thrilling opera.
Pittsburgh Opera’s Resident Artists will dazzle you in a brand new production.
Pulcheria (Claudia Rosenthal) expresses her unhappiness that her fiancee Oronte (Taylor Raven) has eyes for Costanza (Shannon Jennings).
Pittsburgh Opera is pleased to partner with Chatham Baroque for Richard the Lionheart. Founded in 1990, Chatham Baroque continues to excite local, national and international audiences with dazzling technique and lively interpretations of 17th- and 18th- century music played on authentic instruments of the period.
Pittsburgh Opera is also pleased to be partnering with Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama to create new, custom sets for these performances. The photos below are from Opera Theatre of Saint Louis's June 2015 production; for more information about it, please see their section below.
Season sponsor: PNC. Tuesday performance sponsor: Ambridge Regional Distribution and Manufacturing Center.
Georg Friedrich Händel RICCARDO PRIMO
Edited for the Hallische Händel-Ausgabe by Terence Best
Used by arrangement with European American Music Distributors Company, U.S. and Canadian agent for Baerenreiter Verlag, publisher and copyright owner.
Richard the Lionheart takes place in Cyprus in the late 1100’s, and is about King Richard The First of England’s pending marriage to the Spanish princess Constanza.
On her journey to be married to King Richard, Costanza and her party are shipwrecked off the coast of Cyprus. She finds shelter at the court of the local governor, Isacio. Isacio’s daughter Pulcheria is engaged to Oronte, Prince of Syria, but Oronte is quickly attracted to the beautiful Costanza, as is Isacio himself.
King Richard arrives in Cyprus to collect Costanza, who Isacio promises to deliver. However, Isacio is up to no good. He intends to send his daughter Pulcheria to King Richard, in place of Costanza, and keep Costanza for himself.
Costanza and her servant Berardo suspect treachery, and Berardo promises to investigate.
Isacio informs Pulcheria of his plot. She is conflicted. She does not want to be party to a fraud, but, she sees an opportunity to punish her unfaithful lover Oronte.
King Richard arrives, disguised as his kingdom's ambassador. Pulcheria presents herself to Richard as Costanza. Berardo has discovered the plot, and relays it to Oronte, who reveals the treachery to a now angry King Richard.
Richard vows to either return with Costanza or avenge himself by force of arms. He offers Isacio the choice of either peace or war. Isacio chooses war, with Costanza as the proposed prize. The armies battle, and Richard’s army captures Isacio.
Isacio must renounce his power, but is allowed to live. Pulcheria, now reconciled with Oronte as her husband, shall reign in place of her father. And of course Richard and Costanza sail off into the sunset where, as the chorus sings, “gentle, sweet affection will set their hearts aglow.”
The Artistic Team
Conductor - Michael Beattie
Stage Director - Crystal Manich
Assistant Stage Director - Frances Rabalais*
Costume Coordinator - DeLisle Merrill
Stage Manager - Cindy Knight
Assistant Stage Manager - Attitra Lelahuta
Set Designer - Alison Gondek
Lighting Designer - Tlàloc Lopez-Watermann
Assistant Lighting Designer/ Master Electrician - Todd Nonn
Wig & Make-up Designer - Nicole Pagano
Director of Musical Studies - Mark Trawka
Associate Coach/Pianist - James Lesniak
+ Pittsburgh Opera debut
* Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist
** Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alumni
- BroadwayWorld.com - Pittsburgh Opera Presents Handel's RICHARD THE LIONHEART
- The Almanac: South Hills native directs Pennsylvania debut of Handel opera
- Entertainment Central Pittsburgh: January Theater Guide
- Herald-Standard: Richard the Lionheart roars onto the stage
- Pittsburgh in the Round: Artist Spotlight: Leah de Gruyl as “Richard the Lionheart”
- CBS Pittsburgh (KDKA-2 TV) Pittsburgh Today Live: Leah De Gruyl Performs Aria From ‘Richard The Lionheart’
- CBS Pittsburgh (KDKA-2 TV) Pittsburgh Today Live: Pittsburgh Opera Presents ‘Richard The Lionheart’ With Woman In Leading Role
- City Paper: Short List January 18-24
- WQED-FM Live performance by Claudia Rosenthal and Glenn Lewis: Pittsburgh Opera - Richard the Lionheart
- Trib Live: 'Richard the Lionheart' is much loved, seldom seen
- Post-Gazette: Hot List of events for Jan. 19-22
- WQED-FM Voice of the Arts podcasts:
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette review
- Pittsburgh In The Round: Richard the Lionheart (“Riccardo primo, re d’Inghilterra”)
The following videos were recorded at Pittsburgh Opera's full dress rehearsal, January 19th, 2017 at the Pittsburgh CAPA Theater.
Everyone celebrates Isacio’s defeat. Their "memories of tribulation...will vanish out to sea", while "gentle, sweet affection will set our hearts aglow..."
King Richard I pumps up his troops to attack the vile, treacherous Isacio.
We want you to have the best experience possible at our performances!
- Run time: 2 hours, 38 minutes, including two 15 minute intermissions
- Understand Every Word: Sung in Italian with English supertitles projected above the stage at all performances
- Downtown Parking: get real-time parking availability
- Study Guide for Richard the Lionheart (PDF), created by our Education department
- Pre-Opera Talks before each performance
- Audio Description available at CAPA Theater
- Braille Programs available at CAPA Theater
- Large-Print Programs available at CAPA Theater
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis produced the American premiere of Richard of the Lionheart in June, 2015, with a cast featuring Susannah Biller (Costanza), Adam Lau (Berardo), Devon Guthrie (Pulcheria), Brandon Cedel (Isacio), Tai Oney (Oronte), and Tim Mead (Richard).
The production was directed by Lee Blakeley and conducted by Grant Llewellyn, with costume and set designs by Jean-Marc Puissant, lighting design by Christopher Akerlind, wig and make up designs by Tom Watson, choreography by Seán Curran, and fight choreography by Shaun Sheley.
The poster illustration on this webpage is based on a photo from that production taken by Ken Howard. It does not reflect the design, staging, or casting of Pittsburgh Opera’s 2017 production.