If the delicious cream puff of baroque is your musical dish of choice, I can heartily recommend that you get yourself to the Studebaker Theater tonight to catch the final performance of Haymarket Opera Company’s production of Antonio Cesti’s L’Orontea.
The music is sublime, as are the performances, especially by the distaff side of the cast: mezzo-soprano Emily Fons (as the title character, an Egyptian queen), and sopranos Nathalie Colas (as her primary romantic rival), along with Kimberly Jones and Addie Hamilton, both handling double gender-bending roles admirably. Tenor Scott Brunscheen is the prince in pauper’s clothing that the queen and every woman in her court desires.
If you’d just like to escape to the 17th century for a few hours, this will also definitely work. Everything is as close to authentic as possible, from Meriem Bahri’s luxe costumes and the performers’ choreographed gestures to the five-piece orchestra’s period instruments, beautifully played.
Anyone else might want to wait until this once no-doubt fascinating libretto by Giacinto Cigognini gets a rewrite (though Haymarket, committed to historical authenticity, would eschew that). As it is, there’s a complicated but perfunctory plot and too many not-really-funny drunk scenes, the latter bravely negotiated by bass-baritone David Govertsen. When an opera isn’t performed for nearly 400 years, sometimes there’s a reason.
Directed by Sarah Edgar and Drew Minter (who also performs as one of two countertenors in the cast), with musical direction by Craig Trompeter, it’s at 7:30 PM, Tuesday, June 5, at the Studebaker Theater, 410 S. Michigan, haymarketopera.org; $30-$85.