(Key'mon singing) - Opera's about stories.
Number one, it's music set to text and to reflect, increasingly, the experiences of our time.
(Key'mon singing) - "Xerxes" is a comedy.
So, it's a really great show, 'cause you get every element of what opera can be.
You have the opera's aria form, which is sort of this more serious form that Handel wrote in.
(Lauren singing) - This is a comedy in that there are very much comedic elements.
(actors singing) But I think of it as almost Shakespearean, actually, in that it's like "As You Like It" or "Twelfth Night".
These plays which are essentially comic plays, but, of course, have tremendous undertones of seriousness and suffering.
And all that happens here.
(Key'mon singing) - What makes "Xerxes" entertaining is his drama.
It is hot and cold.
Xerxes, he's up and down.
On a switch, he can go from mad, and then he can go from happy.
So I think that's what it is.
It's the spontaneity of it.
- There are, you know, six characters, and there's a great deal of interaction, and it's not like the normal Handel operas where you have a chunk of recitatives, and then you have long, long arias.
It's much more like a play, it's almost like a Shakespearean play, you know.
There's wonderful interaction between the characters.
- You have these two brothers dueling over a woman, me, who also has a sister who's in love with the person I'm in love with.
And it's this whole hilarious, like, brothers and sisters love triangle.
And then you have these comic characters that are built in into it.
So, you get the serious side of opera, but then it's sort of wrapped up in a comic package.
- It's a newer version.
The music has not changed.
And with that, it talks about preserving tradition, but also innovation to incorporate the culture, to incorporate new experiences and so that there's a greater sense of relevancy between the audiences and the artists themselves.
- It's gonna be a great singing.
There's gonna be a lot of contralto and high notes.
Maestra is perfection.
I'm learning so much from her.
She is someone that I hope to be working with for the rest of my life and learning from.
So, her vision of "Xerxes", it's what I'm striving to work for.
- Well, the lovely thing about this cast is that they are not only wonderful singers, but they're all very theatrically alert.
And the the lovely thing is that everybody is bringing huge amount of creativities into the room.
And I love that and the director loves that.
And we're not just saying, "Sing it like this or move there because this is what we say."
We discuss motivation, we discuss who's responding to whom, and all the singers, whether they've done the roles before, and I think only two, possibly three of them, have done the roles before.
One of them has done two of the roles, actually.
But they've all really thought about their motivation.
They're not just singers who want to sing beautifully and spectacularly, though they do.
(chuckles) But really thinking about dramatic motivation, and that I completely love.
(Key'mon singing) - We have a countertenor, Key'mon Murrah, who is kind of just emerging on the opera scene, and everyone is super excited about him, 'cause it's like a one in a million voice.
- Well, it's been a dream of mine from the very beginning when I was a counter, when I first started being a countertenor I started singing "Xerxes'" arias.
So, within a few years to actually play him is great.
(Key'mon singing) - Key'mon is incredible.
He has a a countertenor range, which goes up and up and up.
I've never heard anything like it, actually.
He's going to have a big career, I think, with that voice.
There's no stopping him.
- Everybody's on top of their game.
Handel has always, when writing his music, he's always brought the best singers of the time.
And I really feel, like, Detroit Opera has brought the best singers for this show.
Everybody is extraordinary.
So, I believe the audience will just have a really good time here.
- I think people will come and see a great story with unbelievably wonderful music acted and sung by fabulous performers and played by the Detroit Opera Orchestra, which they know well.
And, with any luck, it should be a cracking evening in the theatre on all levels.
(actors singing) - When you see such talented individuals come together having invested the time in the character and the music, the energy, and to see all of that align into one moment, there's nothing more magical than that.
- I just want the audience to have fun and enjoy the ride.
There's a lot that's going on.
There's a lot of beautiful music and beautiful singing, but it's a different world, and it's not what we live in today.
So, just coming in and just having fun, I think that's what I want them to know.