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Warning: This ‘Agrippina’ no longer just for elites


Opera isn't for everyone. But opera becomes a bit more interesting when the production notes include a warning such as the following:

"Please be aware that this production of 'Agrippina,' although containing no nudity, includes some suggestive adult content which may not be suitable for young audiences."

Hmmmm. If that attracted your attention, the warning involves "The Met Live in HD Presents Agripinna," which will screen at 9:55 a.m. on Saturday at the Regal Cinemas theaters at Northtown Mall and at Coeur d'Alene's Riverstone Stadium, with an encore screening set for 1 and 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday (March 4) at Northtown only.

"Agrippina" is a three-act opera that was composed by the German composer George Frideric Handel and performed first in 1709. The opera's plot explores the machinations of Agrippina, the mother of the future Roman emperor Nero, to secure the position for her son. The Metropolitan Opera's production features mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in the title role.

And under the direction of Sir David McVicar (with Harry Bicket conducting), this version of “Agrippina” has been, according to New York Times critic Zachary Woolfe, "yanked from ancient Rome into a deliciously bleak vision of our time, played with electric vividness, and starring a guns-blazing Joyce DiDonato."

"Bold, snicker-out-loud funny, magnetic and unsettling through its power-struggle convolutions, this production musically and dramatically fills the company’s looming proscenium," Woolfe wrote. "It’s begging to be enjoyed with a bag of popcorn — or with a martini packing some of the work’s frosty heat."

And the reason for that "warning" mentioned above. It might have something to do with mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey's performance as Nero.

As Woolfe wrote, "Ms. Lindsey — groping herself and anyone she can get her hands on, her voice sometimes overwhelmed in fast passages but sly in moments of otherworldly softness — is an indelible caricature as Nero. She practically oozes across the stage, at one point singing an aria verse in a side plank position that made my abs hurt just watching it."

Now, that's opera for more than just the elite among us.

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