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Cupid & Death: An English Masque
February 13 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm EST$10 – $25
What happens when Cupid and Death accidentally exchange arrows? In the 1653 English masque Cupid & Death, librettist James Shirley takes a comedic approach to this twisted plot, with Cupid unwittingly killing young lovers and Death mistakenly causing the elderly and warriors to fall in love. They are joined in this humorous farce by Folly, Madness, Despair, Nature, and Mercury, along with a few mortal humans and apes. The music for this masque comes from a venerable pair of Baroque composers, Matthew Locke and Christopher Gibbons. Early Music Access Project brings this rarely heard work to the iconic Blackfriars Playhouse stage just in time for Valentine’s Day.
What’s a masque? We’re glad you asked! This festive courtly entertainment was popular in England in the 16th and 17th centuries. It’s like an opera in that you’ll find lots of vocal and instrumental music, dancing, and fascinating plot twists. But there’s always quite a bit of spoken dialogue and the baroque-era performances featured courtiers participating alongside professional musicians, two features not usually found in opera productions.
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