“King Arthur” by Charles Ernest Butler (1903)

In 17th-century England, opera hadn’t really taken off, but audiences did enjoy having a few songs mixed into a stage play. That’s why composer Henry Purcell’s King Arthur is considered a semi-opera.

And in this century, Purcell’s work is about to get a dramatic makeover by Long Beach Opera.

Artistic and General Director of Long Beach Opera Andreas Mitisek at the KUSC Studios | Photo by Susie Goodman

The company that warns its audiences to “expect the unexpected” is teaming up with Baroque orchestra Musica Angelica and Chicano provocateurs Culture Clash to reimagine King Arthur as a superhero story.

Henry Purcell

For Purcell’s version, the poet John Dryden wrote about King Arthur’s battle to save his fiancée, the blind Cornish Princess Emmeline, after she’s abducted by King Arthur’s arch-enemy – a story that doesn’t seem far off from something you’d find in a modern comic book.

Click play below to hear Andreas Mitisek, Artistic and General Director of Long Beach Opera, tell KUSC’s Sheila Tepper why he considers LBO’s production of this 300 hundred-year-old work a “world premiere”.


Performances of King Arthur are January 12th, 18th, and 19th at the Beverly O’Neill Theater in Long Beach. Learn more at longbeachopera.org.

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