Staging a Handel opera is a bitch. The combination of a near-total lack of action and the relentless repetition of everything is enough to put contemporary audiences into a stupor. In which case they miss some pretty divine music.

It’s the director’s job to keep those eyeballs open, even when the action has ground to a da capo halt. But how? Bring on a can-can line? Run a video? (Can’t believe I’m thinking this, but that might work.) Pass out more of those nice little nine-dollar bottles of wine?

The usual solution is a sort of excruciating stage business in which singers perform vocal feats while simultaneously going through the slow-motion choreography of some action or other intended to provide visual interest: they pace, they pose, they threaten or grope each other, and, occasionally, they have sex.

Chicago Opera Theater’s mostly straight-up production of George Frideric Handel’s rarely performed Teseo employs a lot of water-carrying (and pouring) for this purpose. It doesn’t work nearly as well as the dry humping, which also makes an appearance.