Divergence Vocal Theater: The Ottavia Project
"Just because Claudio Monteverdi wrote his historic L’incoronazione di Poppea in 1642 doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. Not so in the hands of opera renegade Misha Penton, who launched her new multi-disciplinary endeavor, Divergence Vocal Theater, with The Ottavia Project this month at Barnevelder. She’s not kidding about the divergence part; her program note she welcomes the opera police to come drag her away in chains.
The Ottavia Project stems from Penton’s ongoing obsession with the character of Ottavia/Octavia. Fusing select arias from Monteverdi, text from Octavia attributed to Seneca, music by Johann Sebastian Bach and Jean-Phillippe Rameau, and choreography by Toni Leago Valle, Penton hones in on Ottavia’s inner turmoil and resulting choices. If you are familiar with Roman history, the Monteverdi opera, and Seneca, you will fare better in figuring out exactly what’s going on. If you are not, I wouldn’t be surprised if you put HBO’s Rome on your Netflicks queue. Penton, a natural troublemaker, is more interested in stirring up questions than providing a neat and tidy package." By Nancy Wozny for Dance Hunter.