Venus & Adonis: A modern twist of a classic poem

By Khalifah Jamison // Contributing Writer

This February 6th, FIU’s Department of Theatre and School of Music will be at the First Folio Exhibition at the Frost Museum collaborating on a one-act opera — Venus & Adonis (1674). Originally written by John Blow and based on a Shakespearean poem, the opera will be under the direction of Phillip M. Church, an Associate Professor and Head of External and Community Engagement in the Department of Theatre, with David Dolata, Associate Professor of Musicology, conducting the FIU Collegium. Also working on the production will be Juvenal Correa-Salas as ConcertMaster, Emily Ricca as choreographer, miming by Nina Martin, Video and Graphics by Anton Church, theatre alumna Ileana Mateo as costume developer, and lighting by Paul Steinsland. The full production of Venus & Adonis will premiere on February 19th at Palm Beach Atlantic University, with following performances at the Wertheim Performing Arts Centre, and finishing up at St. Steven’s Church in Coconut Grove on April 15th. A showing at the Mary Anne Wolfe Theatre BBC is still waiting for confirmation.

Unlike past productions of Venus & Adonis however, director Phillip Church intends to deviate from its traditional format and into a “revisionist production,” according to Church. “Triggered last year when I was standing in Miami Airport across from the Cosmetics Salon,” Church plans on transposing this 17th-century Baroque styled opera into “a world to which today’s audience could relate.” For those who are familiar or unfamiliar with its original staging, Cupid, the cherubic god of love, is now Dj Love Jr., the Little Cupids are his love interns, the Shepherds and Shepherdesses are now the Real Housewives and Husbands of Arcadia, the Three Graces are facebooking Philanthropists, Adonis, the Chris Hemsworth heartthrob hunk for whom which Venus has pledged her unfaltering love to, has traded his noble steed in for a Harley Davidson and is accompanied by his Biker-Boys (the Huntsmen), and the angelic goddess, Venus, now resembles a modern-day Angelina Jolie and Madonna. All of which takes place inside of a Beauty Salon with actual footage of Santi International Hair and Nail Salon in GC being projected above the stage. Be sure to attend the First Folio Exhibition at the Frost Museum on February 6th to catch a glimpse of the madness.

The Image above is projected on one of the upstage screens permanently throughout the opera as a symbol of beauty and freewill.

For more information please contact the Department of Theatre by phone at 305.348.2895 or by email at


Photo Courtesy of Harley Davidson

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