Les Ballets Russes
At the beginning of the last century, Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes shook conventions and threw open the door to modernity, initiating a collaboration between painters, musicians and choreographers of the avant-garde. The artistic elite of the era was brought together under one breathtaking playbill: Debussy, Stravinsky, Falla, Picasso, Bakst, Massine, Nijinsky, Fokine… And yet, this tribute brings together works from different periods revealing an unexpected diversity of inspiration, from the heady romanticism of The Specter of the rose, the unbridled eroticism of The Afternoon of a Faun, to the tragic festivities of Petrouchka and the subtle Spanish flavour of The Three- Cornered Hat. Four essential works, bringing together the artistic elite of their day – choreographers, painters and musicians – are performed in their unsurpassable original choreography.
“Anna Netrebko – better than Maria Callas” (Süddeutsche Zeitung) – Since her sensational success in La Traviata, the soprano Anna Netrebko, at the height of her popularity, returns regularly to the great festival hall of the Salzburg Festival. This time, Netrebko shines as Leonora in Giuseppe Verdi’s tragic opera Il Trovatore with Plácido Domingo as Count di Luna. The critics have gone wild: “A triumph” writes the New York Times, while the Neue Zürcher Zeitung praises the production’s “truly divine sounds”. As the troubadour Manrico, Francesco Meli next to Netrebko and Domingo, singing “clearly and elegantly, possessing such vocal presence” (Der Standard).
The Tagesspiegel was astounded by the enduring stage presence of Plácido Domingo, marveling it “never fails to amaze people when they experience Plácido Domingo live, with his stage presence, the way he takes it all in his stride, how he now sings baritone parts without sounding different.”
No man shall ever possess her – the Chinese princess Turandot sets three riddles for every man that comes to woo her. So far none have been able to solve the riddles, and have paid with their heads. Then an unknown prince achieves the impossible: he correctly answers all three questions. But Turandot is still unwilling to surrender to him. So the Prince is ready to lay down his life if she can find out his name by morning. Throughout the night, no one may sleep: everyone must try to discover his name...
It is this aria sung by Calaf, ‘Nessun dorma‘, that made Giacomo Puccini‘s opera Turandot world famous. On the Bregenz stage it‘s delivered against the imposing backdrop of a dragon-shaped wall on Lake Constance. Marco Arturo Marelli‘s stage set makes use of Chinese symbols of power. The stage wall is inspired by the world‘s longest man-made structure, the Great Wall of China. The Bregenz wall is criss-crossed by detachments of terracotta warriors, over two hundred in all, some of them sky-high, others half-submerged in the water.
There are Chinese elements in the music, too. Puccini was inspired by tunes from music boxes that a diplomat friend brought back from China. But however Chinese Puccini‘ s last opera might appear, the plot is adapted from a Persian tale and the score is full-blown Italian opera.
Lucia di Lammermoor
World debut for Juan Diego Flórez in the role of Edgardo, in the second most performed Donizetti opera (the first is L’ Elisir D’Amore).
The staging is based on a leaning glass tower in a landscape of destruction and desolation, recalling that the country is at war, torn by the ambitions of rival clans.
The opera premiered on the 9th of September 1835 at the Teatro San Carlo n Naples. The first performance at Barcelona’s Liceu was on September 15th 1859.
Scotland: Among two enemy clans, a love is born. Lucia and Edgardo secretly vow to marry each other. Nevertheless, Lucia’s brother convinces her that Edgar has forgotten her and she is forced to marry another man. She becomes crazy, kills her husband and finally dies herself. Hearing the news, Edgardo commits suicide so that he can rejoin his lover.
“Oh! Victor Hugo’s Le Roi s’amuse is the greatest subject, and perhaps the greatest drama of modern times. It’s a work worthy of Shakespeare!” A few months before he wrote those words to Francesco Maria Piave urging him to “turn Venice upside down and persuade the Censor to authorise the subject” – no easy matter given that moral values would be easily offended – Verdi was working on an adaptation of King Lear. No doubt, he was already imbued with the play by his revered master, Shakespeare, when he read Victor Hugo’s drama.
On discovering in the works of the French writer to whom he would owe Ernani, the greatest triumph of his “difficult years”, a parallel with the triangle formed by the King, his daughter and the jester, it was “like a thunderbolt, an inspiration”. Between the frivolous, licentious Duke, and Gilda, a victim of the ignorance which holds her captive, stands the double-faceted character of the hunchback, both buffoon and curse-obsessed father. Monstrous and heartrending, grotesque and sublime, the title role reaches its apogee in the aria “Cortigiani, vil razza dannata”, whose descending movement, from the explosion of rage to the moment of entreaty, confirms the composer’s ability to adapt a form inherited from bel canto to theatrical realism. Under the baton of Nicola Luisotti, this new production of Rigoletto marks director Claus Guth’s first collaboration with the Paris Opera.
Pricing for special presentation series
General Adult Admission $14.00 • Seniors $12.00