Show Photographs

31st Festival Season - 2009

The Beautiful Helen of Troy (La Belle Hélène)

Music by: Jacques Offenbach
Book & Lyrics by: Ludovic Halévy & Henri Meilhac
English Translation by: Richard Traubner

On the day that worshippers bring offerings for the Feast of Adonis, Helen, the Spartan queen, learns from the soothsayer Calchas that Venus has awarded her — the most beautiful woman in the world – to a shepherd. Already married to Menelaus and aware of her great beauty, Helen wonders what destiny has in store for her. When the shepherd (who is actually Paris, the son of King Priam of Troy) arrives, it is love at first sight. The not-very-bright kings of Greece stage a contest of wit and intelligence, which the shepherd readily wins. Crowned as victor, Paris (as he now reveals himself) indicates to Calchas that he would be happier if Menelaus were absent. With an assist from Calchas, Jupiter orders Menelaus to depart to Knossus for a month.

A month later, Helen is courted by Paris in her bedchamber, but, although attracted to him, refuses to surrender. After the kings play a bizarre card game and retire for supper, Helen asks Calchas to have the gods send her a dream in which Paris appears. When she is asleep, Paris (disguised as a slave) returns and persuades her that they are embracing in a dream. After the unexpected arrival of Menelaus interrupts their lovemaking, Menelaus gets scant comfort from the kings, who declare that a gallant husband should give his wife advance notice of his travel plans. Yet they unite in denouncing the upstart Paris, who leaves with the warning that the will of Venus will be done.

At a seaside resort, Spartans wonder if the marked increase in marital infidelity results from Venus taking vengeance on them. Menelaus demands that Helen explain her conduct with Paris – she indignantly insists it was all a dream. To resolve the matter, Menelaus has sent for the soothsayer of Venus, who arrives by boat with the report that the goddess must be appeased by having Helen sent to Knossus. Once he has Helen in hand, the soothsayer announces that he is Paris and that he is taking her to Troy.

Production Team
ConductorJ. Lynn Thompson
Stage DirectorsTed Christopher Jacob Allen
ChoreographyCarol Hageman
Costume DesignEric Hall
Scenic DesignRichard Traubner
Lighting DesignerShannon Schweitzer
Assistant ChoreographyKarla Hughes
Helen, Queen of SpartaChelsea Basler
Paris, Son of King PriamKyle Knapp
Menelaus, King of SpartaTodd Strange
Agamemnon, King of ArgosGary Moss
Orestes, His Playboy Son (pants role)Tania Mandzy
Calchas, High Priest of JupiterDennis Jesse
Achilles, King of PhiltotisZack Rabin
Ajax A, King of SalamisOwen Reynolds
Ajax B, King of the LocriansPhilip McLeod
Philocumos, Calchas’ AttendantCory Clines
Euthycles, BlacksmithLogan Walsh
Bacchis, Helen’s AttendantJacqueline Komos
Parthenis, CourtesanAshly Evans
Leona, CourtesanRaina Thorne
Ensemble: Nate Brian, Anthony Buck, Cory Clines, Cecily Ellis, Ashly Evans, Stephen Faulk, Jon Gerhard, Samantha Grenell–Zaidman, Eve Hehn, Paul Hopper, Karla Hughes, David Kelleher–Flight, Jacqueline Komos, Matthew Kuehnl, Janelle Lentz, Spiro Matsos, Courtney Miller, Galeano Salas, Nina Takács, Raina Thorne, Logan Walsh