Seattle Opera - Aida

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Seattle Opera.

Aida

May 5-19, 2018

"Visually and musically spectacular."
The Seattle Times

Overview

By Giuseppe Verdi

"The production of the year." –The Stranger

A profoundly personal love story told on a grand scale, Aida showcases Verdi's power to translate human emotions into magnificent music. The high-stakes love triangle between a prisoner of war, a conflicted military commander, and a formidable princess unfolds amid glorious spectacle and rousing choruses—including the famous Triumphal March.

Director Francesca Zambello's "spectacular" (Opera Warhorses) new-to-Seattle production features choreography by contemporary dance leader Jessica Lang, as well as designs by "art world superstar" (San Francisco Chronicle) RETNA, who cites the structure of Egyptian hieroglyphs as the basis for his striking visuals.

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Watch the preview for Aida.

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San Francisco Opera, Aida, 2016 © Cory Weaver

In Italian with English subtitles | at McCaw Hall
Performance Time: 3 hours including 1 intermission.

 

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Synopsis

Director's Note
“Verdi set his magnificent opera, Aida, in Egypt/North Africa. This production—while not tied literally to historic time and place—uses this location as a springboard for telling universal themes of conflict when we are forced to choose between either the love for our family and country or following our heart. Instead of presenting this as a historical piece, we’re taking a modern approach in order to better connect with the humanity of the characters and more clearly see how they mirror who we are today.” —E. Loren Meeker

The Story of AIDA

Act I
Radamès, an army officer, hopes to be chosen to lead his people to victory. If he can win the war, he speculates, he might also be allowed to marry Aida, who is a captive from the nation Radamès is aiming to conquer. Princess Amneris, who loves Radamès, notices that he is strongly affected by the appearance of Aida. Amneris is overcome with jealousy. Accompanied by his ministers, the King enters. A messenger brings news of an imminent invasion. Radamès is announced as the chosen commander. The crowd expresses their hope for his victorious return. Aida, too, is caught up in the battle cry, and after the court leaves, berates herself for having called for the defeat of her own people. Divided between loyalty to her country and her love for Radamès, she asks the gods for strength.

Act II
The troops led by Radamès have won the war. Amneris, still tormented by doubt and jealousy, resolves to question Aida and confirm her suspicions. Amneris manages to trick Aida into revealing her love for Radamès; furious, Amneris tells Aida to give up all hope of being with Radamès. The people celebrate the return of the victorious army. Radamès asks that the prisoners of war be brought forth; among them, Aida recognizes her father. Hiding his true identity, her father, King Amonasro, pleads for the lives of his people. Radamès asks that the prisoners be set free. The high priest Ramfis, warning of the consequences, succeeds in having Aida and her father retained as hostages. Amneris’s father rewards Radamès with her hand in marriage.

Intermission

Act III
To prepare for her wedding to Radamès, Amneris retires to the temple to worship with Ramfis. Outside the temple, Aida waits for Radamès. She longs for the happiness she knew as a child in her homeland. Her father joins her and raises her hopes for a happy life at the side of her beloved. Hoping to exploit Aida’s love for Radamès, Amonasro demands she find out from Radamès the name of the route his armies will take. Amonasro conceals himself nearby, where he can overhear the plan. Radamès affirms his love for Aida and hopes another victory will allow him to win her once and for all. Aida does not share his enthusiasm and instead encourages him to flee the country with her. As they start to leave, Aida asks which route his troops will take. Radamès answers her, whereupon Amonasro reveals himself and Radamès realizes he has blurted out an important military secret. Realizing he has also been overheard by Ramfis and Amneris as they leave the temple, Radamès surrenders to the High Priest, ready to accept the consequences of his betrayal.

Act IV
Torn between love and jealousy, Amneris hopes to save Radamès from the priests and win him for herself. She urges him to defend himself, but he rejects her. The priests assemble and three times allow Radamès a chance to present his defense; but three times he is silent. They sentence him to death. Amneris pleads with the priests to revoke the sentence, and when they ignore her, she curses them.

Buried alive in a tomb, Radamès finds Aida, who had hidden there earlier. While the priests chant their hymns, the two lovers die, united at last. Above their tomb, Amneris prays for peace.

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Dig Deeper: Aida

What event was Aida written for? Where did the story come from? And what distinguishes Verdi’s music from other composers’?

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Cast

Leah Crocetto

Aida

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Leonora, Il trovatore

Hometown: Spartanburg, SC
Seattle Opera Debut: Aida, Aida ('18)
Recently: Elisabetta, Don Carlo (Washington National Opera); Leonora, Il trovatore (Oper Frankfurt); Liù, Turandot (San Francisco Opera)
Upcoming: Leonora, Il trovatore (Seattle Opera)

Last updated: June 2018

Leah Crocetto

Aida

Seattle Opera Debut
May 5, 11, 13, 16, & 19

Alexandra LoBianco

Aida

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Aida, Aida

Hometown: St. Petersburg, FL
Seattle Opera Debut: Donna Anna, Don Giovanni (’14)
Recently: Prima Donna/Ariadne, Ariadne auf Naxos (Austin Opera); Turandot, Turandot (Des Moines Metro Opera); Helmwige, Die Walküre (Lyric Opera of Chicago)
Upcoming: Tosca, Tosca (North Carolina Opera); Soloist, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 (Madison Symphony Orchestra)

Last updated: May 2018

 

Alexandra LoBianco

Aida

May 6, 9, 12, & 18

Milijana Nikolic

Amneris

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Amneris, Aida

Hometown: Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Azucena, Il trovatore (Fondazione Petruzzelli and Teatro Verdi di Trieste); Amneris, Aida (Opera Australia, Gold Coast)
Upcoming: Azucena, Il trovatore (Tokyo, Bunka-Kaikan); Amneris, Aida (Opera Australia, Sydney); Carmen, Carmen (West Australian Opera)

Last updated: May 2018

Milijana Nikolic

Amneris

Seattle Opera Debut
May 5, 11, 13, 16, & 19

Elena Gabouri

Amneris

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Azucena, Il trovatore

Hometown: Paris, France
Seattle Opera Debut: Amneris, Aida ('18)
Recently: Amneris, Aida (Arena di Verona); Ulrica, Un ballo in maschera (Seoul Opera Center); Azucena, Il trovatore (Opéra de Lille)
Upcoming: Amneris, Aida (Opera Australia and Arena di Verona); Azucena, Il trovatore (Seattle Opera)

Last updated: June 2018

Elena Gabouri

Amneris

Seattle Opera Debut
May 6, 9, 12, & 18

Brian Jagde

Radamès

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Radamès, Aida

Hometown: Plainview, NY
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: The Stranger, Das Wunder der Heliane (Deutsche Oper Berlin); Calaf, Turandot (San Francisco Opera); Maurizio, Adriana Lecouvreur (Royal Opera Covent Garden)
Upcoming: Cavaradossi, Tosca (San Carlo Opera Festival, San Francisco Opera)

Last updated: May 2018

 

Brian Jagde

Radamès

Seattle Opera Debut
May 5, 11, 13, 16, & 19

David Pomeroy

Radamès

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Radamès, Aida

Hometown: Newfoundland, Canada
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Florestan, Fidelio (Opera de Bellas Artes); Pinkerton, Madame Butterfly (Manitoba Opera); Tannhäuser, Tannhäuser (Oper Köln)
Upcoming: Don Jose, Carmen (Bregenzer Festspiele); Peter Grimes, Peter Grimaes (Vancouver Symphony); Calaf, Turandot (New Orleans Opera)

Last updated: May 2018

David Pomeroy

Radamès

Seattle Opera Debut
May 6, 9, 12, & 18

Gordon Hawkins

Amonasro

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Amonasro, Aida

Hometown: Washington, DC
Seattle Opera Debut: Amonasro, Aida (’92) 
Previously at Seattle Opera: Nabucco, Nabucco (’15); Porgy, Porgy and Bess (’11); Count di Luna, Il trovatore (’10); Donner/Gunther, Der Ring des Nibelungen (’09) 
Recently:Scarpia, Tosca (Arizona Opera); Amonasro, Aida (Washington National Opera); Alberich, Der Ring des Nibelungen (Washington National Opera)

Last updated: May 2018

Gordon Hawkins

Amonasro

May 5, 11, 13, 16, & 19

Alfred Walker

Amonasro

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Porgy, Porgy and Bess

Hometown: New Orleans, LA 
Seattle Opera Debut: Orest, Elektra (’08) 
Previously at Seattle Opera: Amonasro, Aida (’18); The Dutchman, The Flying Dutchman (’16); Lindorf/Coppélius/Dr. Miracle/Dapertutto, The Tales of Hoffmann (’14) 
Recently: Orest, Elektra (San Francisco Opera); Josh Gibson, The Summer King, world premiere (Pittsburgh Opera); Titurel, Parsifal (Metropolitan Opera)
Upcoming: Jochanaan, Salome (Oper Köln); Thoas, Iphigénie en Tauride (Oper Stuttgart); Speaker, The Magic Flute (Metropolitan Opera)

Last updated: July 2018

Alfred Walker

Amonasro

May 6, 9, 12, & 18

Daniel Sumegi

Ramfis

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: The Bonze, Madame Butterfly; Don Basilio, The Barber of Seville; Don Pedro, Beatrice and Benedict; Ramfis, Aida
At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Zuniga, Carmen

Hometown: Sydney, Australia 
Seattle Opera Debut: Daland, The Flying Dutchman (’07) 
Previously at Seattle Opera: Don Pedro, Beatrice and Benedict (’18); Don Basilio, The Barber of Seville (’17); Daland, The Flying Dutchman (’16); Fafner/Hagen, Der Ring des Nibelungen (’09 and ’13)
Recently: Fasolt/Hagen, Der Ring des Nibelungen (Opera Australia)
Upcoming:  Pogner, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Opera Australia); Jokanaan, Salome (Israeli Opera); The Dutchman, The Flying Dutchman (Malmö Opera)

Last updated: May 2018

Daniel Sumegi

Ramfis

May 5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, 18, & 19

Clayton Brainerd

Il Re

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Il Re, Aida

Hometown: Portland, OR
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Soloist, Verdi Requiem (Utah Festival Opera), Soloist, Verdi Requiem (Defiant Requiem), Soloist, Bach’s St. John Passion (Orchestra Seattle)
Upcoming: Soloist, Wotan’s Farewell (LUCO), Soloist, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (American Festival Chorus)

Last updated: May 2018

Clayton Brainerd

Il Re

Seattle Opera Debut
May 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 16, 18, & 19

Eric Neuville

Messenger

Hometown: Waupaca, WI

Seattle Opera Debut: Normanno, Lucia di Lammermoor (’10) 
Previously at Seattle Opera: First Priest, The Magic Flute (’17); Testo, The Combat (’17); Gastone, La traviata (’17) 
Recently: Young Thompson, Glory Denied (Nashville Opera); Pedrillo, The Abduction from the Seraglio (Madison Opera); John Kipling, A Kipling Passion (Choral Arts NW) 
Upcoming: Bernstein’s Mass (Austin Symphony); Ferrando, Così fan tutte (Portland Chamber Orchestra); Considering Matthew Shepard (Conspirare) 

 

Last updated: May 2018

Eric Neuville

Messenger

May 5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, 18, & 19

Marcy Stonikas

High Priestess

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Miss Jessel, The Turn of the Screw

Hometown: Elmhurst, IL
Seattle Opera Debut: Second Lady, The Magic Flute (’11)
Previously at Seattle Opera: High Priestess, Aida ('18); Mother, Hansel and Gretel (’17); Prima Donna/Ariadne, Ariadne auf Naxos (’15); Tosca, Tosca (’15)
Recently: Tosca, Tosca (Arizona Opera); Ariadne/Prima Donna, Ariadne auf Naxos (Berkshire Festival Opera); Turandot, Turandot (Atlanta Opera)
Upcoming: Senta, The Flying Dutchman (Cincinatti Opera); Mother, Hansel and Gretel (San Diego Opera); Miss Jessel, The Turn of the Screw (Seattle Opera)

Last updated: June 2018

 

Marcy Stonikas

High Priestess

May 5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, 18, & 19

Laura Mead

Principle Dancer

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18:  Aida

Hometown: Berkeley, CA
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Jessica Lang Dance; Metropolitan Opera; Betsy, Come Fly Away (Broadway)

Last updated: May 2018

Laura Mead

Principle Dancer

Seattle Opera Debut
May 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 16, 18, & 19

Cast

Creative Team

Francesca Zambello

Original Stage Director

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Porgy and Bess

Hometown: New York, NY
Seattle Opera Debut: Faust (’87)
Previously at Seattle Opera: War and Peace (’90); Florencia en el Amazonas (’05,’98); Tristan und Isolde (’98); Billy Budd (’01); Aida (’18)
General Director of The Glimmerglass Festival, Artistic Director of The Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center
Recently: Candide (Washington National Opera and LA Opera); West Side Story (Houston Grand Opera); La Ciociara (Teatro Lirico di Cagliari)
Upcoming:  Der Ring des Nibelungen (San Francisco Opera); The Barber of Seville (Glimmerglass Festival)

Last updated: June 2018

Francesca Zambello

Original Stage Director

E. Loren Meeker

Stage Director

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Aida

Hometown: Ashland, MA
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Rigoletto (Lyric Opera of Chicago); The Daughter of the Regiment (Atlanta Opera); La pietra del paragone (Wolf Trap Opera)
Upcoming: La bohème (Opera San Antonio); The Cunning Little Vixen (Glimmerglass Opera); The Pearl Fishers (Houston Grand Opera)

Last updated: May 2018

E. Loren Meeker

Stage Director

Seattle Opera Debut

John Fiore

Conductor

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Aida

Hometown: New York, NY
Seattle Opera Debut: La bohème (’91)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Tosca (’93)
Hometown: New York, NY, and Seattle, WA
Recently: Tosca (Deutsche Oper Berlin); Les Troyens (Semperoper Dresden); Otello (Semperoper Dresden)
Upcoming: Madame Butterfly (Santa Fe Opera); Carmen, (Grand-Théâtre de Genève); The Flying Dutchman (Semperoper Dresden)

Last updated: May 2018

John Fiore

Conductor

RETNA

Artistic Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Aida

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Seattle Opera Debut
RETNA (Marquis Duriel Lewis) was born in 1979 in Los Angeles. At age 15, he began painting on posted fashion advertisements and, from there, led one of the largest and most innovative art collectives in the city. His work has exhibited at institutions and galleries in Los Angeles (including the façade of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s Grand Avenue location for their 2013 Gala celebrating the exhibition Art in the Streets), Miami, London, New York (including the public exhibition space of the Houston-Bowery Wall), and Hong Kong. RETNA has created exclusive collaborations with brands such as VistaJet, Nike, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

RETNA

Artistic Designer

Seattle Opera Debut

Michael Yeargan

Set Design

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Aida

Hometown: Dallas, TX
Seattle Opera Debut: Eugene Onegin (’86)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Vanessa (’99); Mourning Becomes Electra (’03); Aida (’08)
Recently: La traviata (Opera Australia); Romeo and Juliet and The Elixir of Love (Metropolitan Opera)
Upcoming: Rigoletto (LA Opera); Der Ring des Nibelungen (San Francisco Opera); The Merry Widow (Vancouver Opera)

Last updated: May 2018

 

Michael Yeargan

Set Design

Anita Yavich

Costume Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Aida

Hometown: Hong Kong
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Aida (Washington National Opera); Cyrano de Bergerac (Metropolitan Opera); Madame Butterfly (Dallas Opera)
Upcoming: David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s Soft Power, world premiere (Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles)

Last updated: May 2018

Anita Yavich

Costume Designer

Seattle Opera Debut

Mark McCullough

Lighting Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Porgy and Bess

Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Seattle Opera Debut: The Elixir of Love (’98)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Aida (’18), Norma (’03)
Recently: Cyrano de Bergerac (Teatro all Scala); The Queen of Spades (Royal Opera Covent Garden); Der Ring des Nibelungen (San Francisco Opera)
Upcoming: La traviata (Washington National Opera); Norma (Ópera Nacional de Chile); Macbeth (Vienna Staatsoper)

Last updated: July 2018

Mark McCullough

Lighting Designer

Peter W. Mitchell

Associate Lighting Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Aida

Hometown: Chanhassen, MN
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Lighting Designer, Odyssey (Metropolitan Museum of Art); Lighting Designer, Robin Hood (Glimmerglass Festival); Associate Lighting Designer, Aida (Washington National Opera)
Upcoming: Lighting Designer, Odyssey (Glimmerglass Festival); Associate Lighting Designer, West Side Story (Houston Grand Opera & Glimmerglass Festival); Associate Lighting Designer, Silent Night (Glimmerglass Festival)

Last updated: March 2018

Peter W. Mitchell

Associate Lighting Designer

Seattle Opera Debut

Jessica Lang

Choreographer

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Aida

Hometown: Doylestown, NY
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: This Thing Called Love (Jessica Lang Dance); Her Notes (American Ballet Theatre)
Upcoming: En - World Premiere (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre); National Tours (Jessica Lang Dance) 

Last updated: May 2018

 

Jessica Lang

Choreographer

Seattle Opera Debut

Creative Team

Orchestra, Chorus, & Additional Artists

Orchestra

Violin I
Jennifer Bai, Asst. Concertmaster
Mariel Bailey
Blayne Barnes
Eugene Bazhanov
Cecilia Poellein Buss
Kelly Farris
Brian Fox
Timothy Garland
Adrianna Hulscher
Leonid Keylin
Mae Lin, Concertmaster
Mikhail Shmidt
Clark Story
Justin Woo

Violin II
Michael Miropolsky, Principal
Kathleen Boyer, Asst. Principal
Gennady Filimonov
Brittany Boulding Breeden
Linda Cole
Xiao-po Fei
Artur Girksy
Andy Liang
Victoria Parker
Rachael Pearson
Joy Rhee
Andrew Yeung

Viola
Timothy Hale, Principal
Aaron Conitz
Penelope Crane
Wesley Dyring
Allison Farkas
Joseph Gottesman
Laura Renz
Rachel Swerdlow, Asst. Principal
Jordan Voelker
Julie Whitton

Cello
Efe Baltacigil, Principal
Nathan Chan, Asst. Principal
Eric Han
Bruce Bailey
Theresa Benshoof
Vivian Gu
Charles Jacot
Joy Payton-Stevens

Bass
Joseph Kaufman, Principal
Chris Burns
Sam Casseday
Brendan Fitzgerald
Jennifer Godfrey
Travis Gore, Asst. Principal

Flute
DeMarre McGill, Principal
Judy Kriewall
Zartouhi Dombourian-Eby

Piccolo
Zartouhi Dombourian-Eby

Oboe
Mary Lynch, Principal
Chengwen Winnie Lai

English Horn
Shannon Spicciati

Clarinet
Benjamin Lulich, Principal
Laura DeLuca

Bassoon
Paul Rafanelli, Principal
Stefanie Przybylska

Bass Clarinet
Eric Jacobs

Horn
Jeff Fair, Principal
Jonathan Karschney, Asst. Principal
Jenna Breen
John Turman
Danielle Kuhlmann

Trumpet
David Gordon, Principal
Christopher Stingle

Trombone
Ko-ichiro Yamamoto, Principal
David Ritt
Stephen Fissel

Cimbasso
John DiCesare, Principal

Timpani
Matt Decker, Principal

Percussion
Rob Tucker, Principal
Michael Clark

Harp
Valerie Muzzolini Gordon, Principal
John Carrington

Banda
Alexander White, trumpet, Principal
Michael Myers, trumpet
Vincent Green, trumpet
Gabriel Palmer, trumpet
Valerie Muzzolini Gordon, harp

Personnel Manager
Scott Wilson

Assistant Personnel Manager
Keith Higgins

 

The Orchestra is composed of members of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Rotating members of the string section are listed alphabetically.

 

Chorus

Soprano
Carissa Castaldo
Jennifer Cross
Karen Early Evans
Serena Eduljee
Lauren James
Linda Mattos
Mary McLaughlin
Heather Mullin
Ibidunni Ojikutu
Dana Johnson Robbins
Eleanor Stallcop-Horrox
Amy Van Mechelen
Lyndee White
Erin Whitfield
Eliza Woodyard

Mezzo
Lorraine Burdick
Erica Convery
Laura Eichelberger
Elizabeth Galafa
YeonSoo Lee
Cheryse McLeod Lewis
Rachelle Moss
Gail Neil
Dawn Padula
Elizabeth Peterson
Melissa Plagemann
Allison Robertson
Susan Salas
Heidi Vanderford

Tenor
DuWayne Andrews
Michael Anema
Nathan Barnes
Ben Cleveland
Joel Cummings
Andrew Etherington
Jon Farmer
Anthony James
Tim Janecke
Ian Loney
Dan McGraw
German Mendoza
Karl Reyes
Korland Simmons
Logan Skirm
Stephen Wall
James Walters
Colin Ward

Bass/Baritone
Dan Aarthun
Ryan Bede
Walt Brown
Jeff Caldwell
Michael Dunlap
Craig Garretson
Cody Gouge
Craig Grayson
Glenn Guhr
Michael Heitmann
Ben Kramer
Kwangsuk Ku
Dierre Lopez
Michael Monnikendam
Misha Myznikov
Matthew Posner
Julian Reisenthel
Jonah Spool
Revere Taylor

 

 

Dancers

Laura Mead, Dance Captain
Charmaine Butcher
Alice Cao
Matthew Dibble
Trevor Hansen
Thomas House
Molly Levy
Bradley Schlagheck
Reed Tankersley

Actors

Ronin Araucto
Braden Cook
Andy Gantner
Elliott Gantner
Summit Geiselman
Gavin Michaels
Hersh Powers
Shepard Swaner
Keoki Takeno
Forrest Wu

Supernumeraries

Bruce Gardner
Henry Hossner
David Lee
Gary Lee
James Milton
Curtis Notestine
Tyrone Olds
Monk Romer
Andrew Schirmer
John Smilgin

Orchestra, Chorus, & Additional Artists

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Performances take place at McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street, Seattle. Join our email list to receive personalized alerts with updates on traffic, dining, and parking for your specific performance, or choose a topic below to learn more.

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Production Sponsors

Lenore M. Hanauer
C.E. Stuart Charitable Trust
Additional Support from: 4Culture

Main Photo © Philip Newton | Photos: © Philip Newton, © Jacob Lucas, © Jacob Lucas