A fusion of circus and baroque opera meet in Il Ritorno

Circa_Il Ritorno_Damien BredbergAward-winning Brisbane circus company Circa presents the world premiere of its ground-breaking new fusion of circus and baroque opera, Il Ritorno at Brisbane Powerhouse as part of the Brisbane Festival from 8 – 12 September 2015.

Created by circus visionary Yaron Lifschitz in collaboration with Adelaide-based composer Quentin Grant, the production retells Claudio Monteverdi’s 17th century Il Ritorno D’Ulisse in Patria, one of the first modern operas.

An outstanding cast of singers and accompanists will join the famed members of Brisbane’s own Circa ensemble to chart the epic journey of Greek hero Ulysses as he travels home after 20 years of war and wandering the globe. The story unravels as his faithful wife Penelope is forced to choose one of the many suitors she had previously resisted, unaware Ulysses is soon to return.

Fusing Circa’s world-renowned stripped-back acrobatics with baroque opera, the production puts a unique twist on Monteverdi’s classic work, combining it with folk songsand new compositions, as well as percolating it through the lens of Primo Levi’s accounts of post WWII European displacement. At the heart of Il Ritorno is the longing to return home –saturated with loss and war, this production is deeply moving, utterly human and a profound hymn of togetherness.

Circa is renowned for pushing artistic boundaries and creating powerful works of circus art that challenge and captivate. Under the direction of Lifschitz, Circa’s award-winning work has been seen in 32 countries across six continents. Brisbane Festival Artistic Director David Berthold said Yaron Lifschitz was an incredible innovator, skilfully combining circus and opera without compromising their individual qualities.

“It’s a great thrill to lead the commissioning of this work from one of the world’s great performance companies, which happens to call Brisbane home,” said Mr Berthold. “We’re joined by London’s Barbican and festivals in Germany and France, which suggests to me that this theatre event will go on to have a long international life, just as several Circa shows have already enjoyed.”

“Yaron is a master of redefining circus as an art form that blows away all expectations. I think Il Ritorno will be one of the great highlights of the Festival,” added Mr Berthold.

Director: Yaron Lifschitz  Ensemble Members: Nathan Boyle, Jessica Connell, Will Meager, Brittannie Portelli, Kimberley Rossi, Duncan West  Opera Singers: Alicia Cush, Matthew Hirst, Bethan Elsmore, Mattias Lower  Musical Director: Quentin Grant  Technical Director/Lighting Designer: Jason Organ  Costume Design: Libby McDonnell  Stage Design: Jason Organ and Yaron Lifschitz  Producer: Danielle Kellie

Il Ritorno
Powerhouse Theatre – Brisbane Powerhouse, 119 Lamington Street, New Farm
Season: 9 – 12 September 2015
Bookings:  (07) 3358 8600 or online at: www.brisbanepowerhouse.org

For more information, visit: www.brisbanefestival.com.au or www.brisbanepowerhouse.org for details.

Image: Circa’s Il Ritorno – photo by Damien Bredberg