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New Odyssey Opera company to present 5-hour Wagner’s ‘Rienzi’

Gil Rose conducts an Odyssey Opera rehearsal of Wagner’s “Rienzi.” the company’s debut production. Kristian Benedikt (below left) will sing the lead.
Gil Rose conducts an Odyssey Opera rehearsal of Wagner’s “Rienzi.” the company’s debut production. Kristian Benedikt (below left) will sing the lead.photos by Kayana Szymczak for the boston globe

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If there were ever a moment for a new opera company to make a big splash, it’s opening night. And so Odyssey Opera, the latest addition to the unstable yet inventive ecosphere that is Boston’s opera community, is preparing a concert version of Wagner’s third opera, “Rienzi,” as its inaugural production. According to the company, it is the work’s Boston premiere.

Yes, this year marks the 200th anniversary of Wagner’s birth, and yes, the opera is almost never performed. Those are good reasons to do “Rienzi.” But make no mistake: Odyssey Opera is out to make a statement about its ambition. And some noise as well.

“There’s 200 people on stage involved in the performance of this,” said music director Gil Rose.

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