Julius Caesar

Fri 19. Apr 19:00 The Small Building of Vanemuine Theatre
Fri 03. May 19:00 The Small Building of Vanemuine Theatre

Julius Caesar

A Baroque opera by Georg Friedrich Händel

The powerful ruler and military commander Julius Caesar is on a war campaign to Egypt when he meets the 19-year-old Cleopatra and falls in love. In her desire to rule Egypt, Cleopatra decides to seduce the enemy who tries to conquer her land, and claim the throne with the help of Caesar. The plan seems perfect but it has a fatal flaw. She did not plan on falling in love. In the turmoil of war, intrigues and chaos, Cleopatra and Caesar develop deep feelings for each other.

Written in 1724, this opera by G. F. Händel is considered a pearl among Baroque operas that has withstood the test of time and is frequently produced in major opera houses even today. This is the first production of Julius Caesar at the Vanemuine Theatre.

In opera, Handel’s era was the golden age of castratos. Julius Caesar, too, has many roles meant for castratos. Today, these roles can be sung by countertenors or female vocalists. For the first time in the history of Estonian musical theatre, the starring roles are sung by three Estonian countertenors: Martin Karu, Ivo Posti and Ka Bo Chan, who has lived in Estonia for 30 years already. The second cast is comprised solely of female artists – instead of countertenors, the roles feature Sandra Laagus, Annaliisa Pillak and Karis Trass from the Estonian National Opera. Ideally, this could be an utterly different opera experience.

– musical director and chief conductor Risto Joost


Premiere on November 4th 2023 at the Vanemuine Theatre Small Building

Language: Italian
Surtitles: Estonian, English

Composer Georg Friedrich Händel
Librettist Nicola Francesco Haym
Musical director and conductor Risto Joost
Conductors Taavi Kull, Martin Sildos
Elmo Nüganen
Set designer Kristjan Suits
Costume designer Kristine Pasternaka Latvian National Opera
Movement director
Janek Savolainen
Lighting designer
Rene Liivamägi
Repetitors-concertmasters Piia Paemurru, Toomas Kaldaru
Concertmasters Ele Sonn, Katrin Nuume
Head Chorusmaster Aleksandr Bražnik
Chorusmaster Kristi Jagodin
Director’s assistant Merle Jalakas


Cast Martin Karu guest or Sandra Laagus guest, Pirjo Jonas or Maria Listra guest, Ivo Posti guest or Annaliisa Pillak guest, Tuuri Dede guest or Karmen Puis, Oliver Kuusik guest or Rasmus Kull, Simo Breede or Taavi Tampuu guest, Ka Bo Chan guest or Karis Trass RO Estonia, Märt Jakobson guest or Kristjan Häggblom

Vanemuine opera choir and symphony orchestra