The Tragedy in The Rape of Lucretia

By: Stephany Valdez

An operatic performance about a faithful wife that finds herself in an unattended act of betrayal due to the jealousy men.

My ticket to the performance along with the brochure for the event.

For this week’s performance, our class went to see The Rape of Lucretia at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts! This chamber opera was created by Benjamin Britten and was first performed in 1946 at the Glyndebourne Festival located in England. Luckily for us, we were able to see this performance 73 years after its creation!

In this performance, there are three soldiers (Tarquinius, Collatinus, and Junius) expressing how no woman is faithful to their husband after they caught their wives sleeping with another man. However, one woman in particular was not found cheating, and that was Collatinus’s wife Lucretia. Because of Lucretia’s faithfulness, Junius tells Tarquinius, to go to Collatinus’s house and test whether Lucretia is truly faithful.

Waiting for The Rape of Lucretia to begin!

I have never attended an opera performance, so seeing the actors perform while they sung was completely new to me. Even though the actors were singing, I felt that they successfully were able to demonstrate the different emotions they were experiencing through their tone. However, there were times when I could not clearly understood what was being said, but luckily a screen was placed on top of the stage that projected what the actors were saying!

What stood out to me during the performance was when Lucretia stabbed herself. I did not expect this to happen, and it was shocking how her loss of innocence was something that weighed heavily on her that she felt she had to kill herself.

The actors came out after the performance for the final bow.

After seeing this play, I felt that some of these themes apply to our world today. There are numerous men that believe that women are not faithful just like how there are women who also hold these same exact beliefs about men. However, there are also some differences. In the performance, Lucretia kills herself because she could not live knowing that a man took advantage of her when she was loyal to her husband. In today’s world, when someone loses their innocence through a traumatic experience, majority of the time they do not end their life. Instead, they endure what has happened to them and separate themselves from the person they love to cause them no pain.

Overall, this performance was something new which I enjoyed. Everything was well put together, and the actors did a fantastic job in displaying their emotions through their voices. Thank you to the actors, who are students at the University of Illinois, for performing such an incredible piece of work!

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