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Cassandra Video and Synopsis

Click here for cast list and production credits.

Video of Act I

Prologue: the Walls of Troy

A Teacher explains the origins of the war to a skeptical Pupil and other Trojans.

Act I: Troy

Cassandra reflects glumly on the marriage of her brother Paris. Her friends Brie and Chris arrive to cheer her up. They ask her to entertain them with her prophetic visions, which they (and the larger community) find laughable. Much to her annoyance, the community believes the identical prophecies when they are delivered by Cassandra’s twin brother, Helenus, who conveniently omits the negative events that are to come. Cassandra’s mother, Queen Hecuba, urges Cassandra to be less strident, less impolitic, in her prophecies.  Encouraged by Helenus, the community makes a ritual procession to ask the gods for victory in war — a victory that Cassandra knows will never come.

Video of Act II

Shipboard

After the fall of Troy, Cassandra is a captive on a ship commanded by the Greek warrior Agamemnon.  She mourns for the lost Troy of her childhood, a city that no one will ever see again.  Taunted by Agamemnon, she sees visions of Brie, Chris, and Hecuba, who have been dispersed among other war refugees.  She is inspired by their spirit of defiance.  Cassandra foresees that Agamemnon is fated to be murdered by his wife upon their arrival in Greece.  Realizing that Agamemnon will not believe her prophecies, she begs him strategically to turn the ship around.  He responds by accelerating towards home port, unknowingly hastening his own death.

Cassandra Production Credits

Presented by The Swarthmore College Office of the President and Departments of Theater, Music, and Dance

December 8th, 2019, Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College

Cast:

  • Cassandra: Shelby Billups ’20
  • Helenus/Agamemnon: Omar Camps-Kamrin ’20
  • Hecuba: Hannah Sobel ’22
  • Chris: Emma Novak ’21
  • Brie: Maya Kikuchi ’20
  • Teacher/Captain: Sagar Rao ’22
  • Chorus: Natalia Abbate ’23, Liam Ash ’22, Adil Belgaumi ’20, Greg Boatman ’23, Gabriel Contreras ’20, Cat Crochunis-Brown ’23, Shay Downey ’22, Maya Plotnick ’22

Orchestra:

  • 1st Violin: Herbie Rand ’21
  • 2nd Violin: Spencer Tate ’21
  • Viola: Natalie Kim ’22
  • Cello: Andy Zhang ’22
  • 1st Flute/Alto Flute/Piccolo: Nigel Van Ha ’20
  • 2nd Flute: Sarah Chang ’22
  • Trumpet: Simon Moore ’22
  • Piano: Mia Shoquist ’21
  • Percussion: Isaac Dwass ’23

Artistic Staff:

  • Director: K. Elizabeth Stevens
  • Music Director: Shira Samuels-Shragg ’20
  • Projection Designer: Jorge Cousineau
  • Lighting Designer: Evelyn Swift Shuker ’14
  • Costume Designer: Jennifer Povish
  • Vocal Coach Debra Scurto-Davis
  • Conducting Coach: Andrew Hauze ’04
  • Production Manager: Meghan Walsh
  • Assistant Projection Designer: John Baek ’21
  • Director of Concert Programming, Production, and Publicity: Jenny Honig

2020-21 Concert Season

Performances scheduled for Saturday 5/15 at the Cherry Street Pier, 121 N Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106: premiere of  Our Philadelphia for six instruments,  commissioned by Orchestra 2001 as part of its “Emerging Markets” series.   There will be two socially-distanced, open-air performances at 1:30 and again at 2:30, as part of the Sisterly Love Food Fair in the middle of the pier. Admission: free. 

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“Tak Kenal Maka Tak Sayang” (“To know is to love”), a socially-distanced outdoor concert featuring Indonesian dance, gamelan music, and poetry, will take place Saturday May 22nd (rain date Sunday May 23rd), 5 pm at the Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catharine St, Philadelphia, PA 19147.  Admission: free; donations are welcome. This is a collaborative program with Modero Dance; Bearded Ladies Cabaret; and Gamelan Gita Santi, a community-based Indonesian percussion directed by Whitman in South Philadelphia, sponsored by the Philadelphia Folklore Project.

Premiere of  Immigrant Portraits for string orchestra by Whitman, to be given by North/South Consonance in honor of its 40th anniversary. Free and open to the public. Christ and St. Stephen’s Church, 120 W. 69th Street, New York City. Date TBD.

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Premiere of  Let Us Build a Tower to the Sky for soprano and piano will be given by soprano Lizzy Stant at a recital in Boston, MA. Date and venue TBD.

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Premiere of a new work for violin solo will be given by violinist Catherine Kei Fukuda at a recital in Japan.

Current Composition Projects

Current Composition Projects:

New work for string quartet, intended for children, a collaborative education/community outreach project with the Jasper Quartet.

New work for concert band, to be premiered by the Swarthmore College Wind Ensemble.

Poem… uses the chamber ensemble as smoothly as a capella voices. Its melodic questions and answers are direct, its textures uncluttered, and the work is admirable for its unity of purpose.