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MESSALINA - Video now available for streaming
An opera composed by Carlo Pallavicino in 1679 - Libretto by Francesco Maria Piccioli

Thank you for attending Messalina at ODC Theater on November 19, 20 & 21. A video will soon be available!

"Ars Minerva’s Messalina was steamy, tuneful, and above all imaginative" SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE

 "The importance of [Ars Minerva's] ongoing project — sampling and reviving a huge unknown body of artistic work." SF CHRONICLE

"Thus, between the wealth of physical comedy of dalliance and Pallavicino’s abundance of engaging music, the duration of the entire program proceeded at a spirited clip, resulting in an audience leaving the ODC Theater in high spirits." THE REHEARSAL STUDIO

The Plot: A sex farce with teeth. Clever, lecherous Messalina turns the tables several times on the gullible Emperor Claudius, who is hardly innocent himself. Meanwhile two other couples suffer their own romantic vicissitudes. Furtive assignations, frustrated trysts, kidnappings, betrayals, sudden recognitions, a heroine and a hero both in drag, and a plot as convoluted as only 17th-century Venetian opera can put together, all lead to a reconciliation that will last only as long as Messalina can keep pulling the wool over Claudius’ eyes. 

The Composer: Carlo Pallavicino (1630-1688):

Italian composer Carlo Pallavicino wrote more than 20 operas, which premiered in the cities where he worked during his life: Venice, Italy and Dresden, Germany. He also wrote oratorios and sacred works. Pallavicino began his musical career as a church organist in 1665-66 in Padua, Italy. His first operas were staged in Venice, Italy in 1666. He moved on to the Dresden, Germany court in 1667, where he was a choirmaster for a few years. After that period, he returned to his organist position in Venice. He became the musical director of a Venice conservatory that provided musical training for orphaned children. Then, in 1685, he resumed his post in Dresden and then became director of chamber and theater music in 1687. Two of his operas were staged in Dresden, but he continued to compose mainly for Venice. Of Pallavicino’s operas, Vespasiano (staged in 1678 in Venice) was his most popular. 

Creative Team
Director: Céline Ricci
Conductor: Jory Vinikour
Costume Designer: Marina Polakoff
Backdrop Projections: Entropy
Light Designer: Thomas Bowersox
Make up Designer: Joanne Kay
Stage Manager: Sarah Terman

Empress Messalina: Aura Veruni
Emperor Claudio: Deborah Rosengaus
Tullio: Kevin Gino
Floralba: Shawnette Sulker
Erginda/Alindo: Kindra Scharich
Caio: Patrick Hagen
Tergisto: Zachary Gordin
Lismeno: Marcus J Paige

Conductor: Jory Vinikour
1st Violin: Cynthia Black
2nd Violin: Laura Jeannin
Viola: Aaron Westman
Cello: Gretchen Claassen
Theorbo: Adam Cockerham

Ars Minerva is grateful for the ongoing support of our lead sponsor, The Sam Mazza Foundation.

The Sam Mazza Foundation believes advancing the arts and arts education endows humanity to achieve its highest potential. They champion arts impact organizations whose innovative engagement with the communities they serve exemplifies clearly defined vision, action and goals. 


We are thrilled and grateful to be among the amazing recipients of the InterMusic SF 2021 Musical Grant Program. Messalina is made possible through the Musical Grant Program, which is administered by InterMusic SF, and supported by the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and San Francisco Grants for the Arts.

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Photographer: Valentina Sadiul

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Artwork by Entropy