Deidamia & La Perichole – Paul Steinberg

Both Deidamia and La Perichole deal with large political forces that, like a tsunami, overtake people unable to defend themselves.


by Handel | Netherlands National Opera 2012

Director, David Alden

Costumes, Constance Hoffman
Lighting, Adam Silverman

Deidamia is in turns witty, philosophical and dark ending in what we know will be tragedy. Achilles, disguised as a girl, is hidden by his father amongst the daughters of a neighboring King. An oracle has said Achilles would be the great hero of the Trojan War but die in the process. Ulysses tracks him down, seducing him with a shield and sword, breaking the heart of Deidamia who marries him before going off to his fate. Written for an audience that would have known the story of Achilles and Ulysses the event would have had especial poignancy as the end was known from the beginning. The music expresses the sunny clear skies of a Greek island at peace that segues into an atmosphere of cynical deception and foggy ambiguous morality.

La Perichole

by Offenbach | New York City Opera 2013

Director, Christopher Alden

Costumes, Gabriel Berry
Lighting, Aaron Black

La Perichole, on the other hand, is a blatantly vulgar satire of a world where political power runs amok. It describes a hot fetid enclosed society of abused and abusing people being terrorized by a madman. The music is full of scorn, hysteria, and ennui as well as romance and optimism.