Say hello to the bright young artists from Morningside Opera, who presented their fourth production last weekend at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in Manhattan.  A pasticcio of Handel arias, Atra, ossia, l’amore ricordato (Atra, or, the Remembered Love) was collaboratively put together by the members of MO, resulting in a plot that centers around a love-triangle: Atra and her ex-girlfriend, Amelia, reconnect in the wake of Amelia’s marriage to her new girlfriend, T., while Atra’s husband, Rocco, dryly watches the drama unfold between the three women (watch a short clip of the opera here).

Combining powerful voices with cogent acting, the quartet of singers brought off the  plot seamlessly, backed by a lively orchestra that made effective use of period instruments like the theorbo and violone.  Though the story itself is not a happy one—Atra lures Amelia away from her new wife only to desert her after a one-night stand—the production had its humorous moments, as in the live projection of a Gmail message being written (and rewritten) by Amelia, asking Atra to speak at her wedding.  Ultimately, Atra taps into the heart of relationship trauma, using songs of joyous infatuation and stormy jealousy written by Baroque drama king G.F. Handel, and even giving visual representation of the inner turmoil of the characters with the use of dancers dressed in black.

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