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Nicholas McGegan, Philharmonia Baroque have been great for each other / The Mercury News interview

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Nicholas McGegan is back in the Bay Area this week, preparing an innovative, gender-fluid production of Handel's "Aci, Galatea, e Polifemo." Innovative isn't a word often used to describe early music performance, but McGegan, the acclaimed music director of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, has been expanding the boundaries of the form for more than three decades.

A co-production with the New York based venue and arts presenter National Sawdust, "Aci" opens Jan. 24 at ODC following a bracing 2017 run in New York. Handel's experimental early opera is directed by Christopher Alden and stars countertenor Anthony Roth Costanza, who recently conquered the opera world in the title role of "Akhnaten" at the Metropolitan Opera.

In a recent interview at the Berkeley Hills home he shares with his husband, producer and recording engineer David Bowles, the English conductor said the timing was right. "I'm very proud of how Philharmonia has grown and changed during my tenure," said McGegan. "I think the orchestra is in a very good place right now. It's a tribute, really, to our tremendous musicians. They're a wonderful bunch." PHOTO: Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group 

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