Sung in Italian with projected English translation
Appropriate for all ages
3 hours and 30 minutes
Lights! Camera! Caesar!
Blood, sex, and political pawns—a Game of Thrones episode? No, it’s Handel’s Julius Caesar—and it’s all based on Caesar’s very real exploits in ancient Egypt.
The twist in this clever production by James Robinson is that the story of Caesar, Cleopatra, Ptolemy, and their allies and enemies is presented as a movie being filmed on a back lot in Hollywood, during its golden age in the late 1920s–early ’30s. Art deco sets and glitzy costumes bring the story of power and passion to life.
Cast and Creative Team
|Julius Caesar||Anthony Roth Costanzo|
|Sextus||Megan Mikailovna Samarin|
|Achillas||Federico De Michelis|
Margaret Alkek Williams Chair
|Associate Director||Michael Shell|
|Set Designer||Christine Jones|
|Costume Designer||James Schuette|
|Lighting Designer||Christopher Akerlind|
Houston Grand Opera Orchestra
During the late 1920s–early ’30s, the golden era of the Hollywood musical, a movie with an exotic Egyptian setting is being filmed on a Hollywood back lot.
In the film, Julius Caesar has defeated his rival Pompey in Greece and pursues him to Egypt. There, Caesar finds refuge with Ptolemy XIII, who reigns over the Nile valley with his sister Cleopatra. Threatened by the presence of such a powerful Roman in Egypt, Ptolemy attempts to curry Caesar’s favor: he orders Pompey’s death and sends his severed head to Caesar as a gift. The gift backfires spectacularly: Caesar is infuriated by the barbaric murder and vows to punish Ptolemy. The king’s adviser, Achillas, offers to kill Caesar in exchange for the hand of Pompey’s widow, Cornelia. Stung by Caesar’s rejection of his “gift,” Ptolemy agrees.
Cleopatra makes use of the animosity between Caesar and Ptolemy in an effort to make herself the sole ruler of Egypt. She decides to seduce Caesar, appearing before him surrounded by her attendants in an elaborately staged scene. Just as Caesar is about to follow her into her quarters, he learns of Achillas’s plot against him and rushes off to confront the conspirators. When Cleopatra receives news that Caesar has been killed, she takes control of the Roman armies and is captured by the Egyptians. But Caesar has survived and now rushes to save Cleopatra.
Caesar and Cleopatra emerge victorious, and the triumphant couple sets sail down the Nile as everyone celebrates the return of peace.