Vespertine Opera Theater produced Britten's The Rape of Lucretia at St. Mark's Cathedral, the largest cathedral in Seattle. This production took the theme of religion as embodied in the Male and Female Chorus and brought it to the fore, exploring themes of conviction, religious doubt, and womanhood.

Photos by Alan Alabastro
Photos copyright Alabastro Photography

The Rape of Lucretia by Benjamin Britten
Performed in Saint Mark's Cathedral
Winter, 2014

Lucretia
Tarquinius
Male Chorus
Female Chorus
Collatinus
Junius
Bianca
Lucia
Female Chorus Cover

Conductor
Stage Director
Scenic Design
Lighting Design
Costume Design
Fight Choreographer
Production Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
Production Assisstant
Assistant to the Scenic Designer
Promotional Consultant
Poster Design

Julia Benzinger
José Rubio 
Brendan Tuohy
Holly Boaz
Colin Ramsey
Charles Robert Stephens
Melissa Plagemann
Emma Grimsley
Sylvia Baba

Jeremiah Cawley
Dan Wallace Miller
Christopher Mumaw
Marnie Cumings
Savannah Baltazar
Tom Dewey
Laura Judson
Monica Armstrong
Anderson Nunnelley
Kajohnkiart Janebodin
Stefan Dreisbach-Williams
Adrian Swan

Orchestra

Flute
Oboe
Clarinet
Bassoon
Horn
Harp
Percussion
Piano
Violin
Violin
Viola
Cello
Bass

Maggie Stapleton
Jordan Dusek
Angelique Poteat
Jamael Smith
Carey LaMothe
Catherine Case
Andrew Angell
Elisabeth Ellis
Colin Todd
Cecilia Archuleta
Jeanne Case
Laura Kramer
Charles Welty
 

Press Reviews

Vespertine Opera’s fifth production, a riveting Rape of Lucretia, neither shies away from nor creepily eroticizes the violence of the rape of at the center of the story. Under the astute direction of Dan Wallace Miller, José Rubio both vocally and physically portrays the horrible fracture of self that turns Tarquinius into a man who’ll rape: His voice strains when it ought to, and his face gets hard then rubbery. Julia Benzinger’s Lucretia captures the confusion, loathing, and loathing of self—her body juddering between hesitance and urgency—that occurs when a victim decides she is partly to blame and then becomes ashamed and suicidal.

[...] Vespertine, which describes its mission as “performing unfamiliar works in unfamiliar places,” is making opera unfamiliar again in all the best ways—i.e., surprising. Speight Jenkins, Seattle Opera’s soon-to-retire general director, was at St. Mark’s on opening night and must have been happy to see so many young performers who’d been nurtured by Seattle Opera’s Young Artists Program coming into their own.
— Rebecca Brown, The Stranger
To our knowledge, ‘Lucretia’ has not been performed in Seattle before, and kudos to tiny Vespertine for presenting this production; also, credit goes to St. Mark’s Cathedral for providing the venue, which proved immensely satisfactory as a backdrop to Friday night’s performance.

[...] Imaginative lighting by Marnie [Cumings] comprised almost entirely candles, set all around the stage and up stair treads, with a red light rising dramatically like flames from hell behind the great doors back of the altar as they closed inexorably behind Lucretia and with Tarquinius in pursuit.

You hear the drunkenness, the hurrying horse, the spinning, the horror and doom in Britten’s superb score, well-played under conductor Jeremiah Cawley.
— Phillipa Kiraly, The Seattle Times