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Julius Caesar in Egypt

music by George G. Handel

libretto by Nicola Francisco Haym

University Opera Theatre

University Philharmonia Orchestra

March 26-29, 2015 • Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre



George F. Handel, composer of the beloved Messiah, was also one of the greatest opera composers of all time. Julius Caesar in Egypt (Giulio Cesare in Egitto) is his most popular opera, and has entranced audiences since its debut in 1724. Our production of this Baroque classic sets the action in a contemporary art gallery, where patrons attend a function celebrating the unveiling of new statues of Caesar and Cleopatra. Interwoven with the contemporary setting are the Roman and Egyptian characters in period dress to tell this legendary story of lust, ambition, and revenge. Handel’s incredibly beautiful music will be produced in authentic Baroque style (condensed to 2½ hours) with all the vocal fireworks that make music from this era so powerful.  

The story begins in 48 B.C.E. The ambitious Caesar, fresh from his defeat of Pompey in a Roman civil war, enters Egypt to continue his conquest of the ancient world. The Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, caught in her own civil war for the throne against her brother Ptolemy, decides to seduce the Roman general to gain him as an ally. Caesar and Cleopatra’s surprise love match and political alliance withstands war, capture, and political intrigue, to cement their enduring legacy as the world’s first power couple.1


Ancilliary Events

Enhance your experience of Julius Caesar with these free educational events:

Opera to Go

Join local opera expert Richard Lesueur, conductor Kathleen Kelly, and singers for a lively, interactive discussion on the opera.

March 17 • 7 PM • Barnes & Noble

Pre-Opera Talks

Kathleen Kelly and guest lecturers discuss Julius Caesar before each performance.

March 26 – 29 • 45-min prior to curtain • Michigan League Bldg.




Julius Caesar poster

design by Don Hammond

Artistic Staff

Director Robert Swedberg
Conductor Kathleen Kelly
Scenic Designer Gary Decker
Costume Designer George Bacon
Lighting Designer Kendall Smith
Choreographer Alexandria Stother
Wig & Makeup Designer Erin Kennedy Lunsford
Stage Manager Elana Lantry




Thursday/Saturday Cast


Friday/Sunday Cast


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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower