I’m very glad to announce that I will be joining the chorus of Gyndebourne Festival Opera for their productions of Donizetti’s Poliuto and Bizet’s Carmen in the summer of 2015.
A new production for Festival 2015 (UK premiere)
Donizetti’s rarely-produced masterwork Poliuto reveals the epic side of this bel canto genius. Poliuto contrasts fierce personal conflict with sweeping heroic scale, in the manner of French grand opera – a choice which would wield great influence on Verdi. Poliuto’s grand Temple Scene in Act II clearly foreshadows the famous Triumphal Scene in Aida .
Based on Corneille’s French Neoclassical tragedy Polyeucte , Poliuto weaves the tale of Saint Polyeuctus (d. 259 AD), an early Christian martyr. The opera portrays Poliuto’s spiritual crisis after his conversion to Christianity incites persecution by Armenia’s Roman occupiers. His wife Paolina, though in love with another man, is so moved by Poliuto’s courage that she finally follows him to his tragic fate.
Conceived as a vehicle for the great French tenor Adolphe Nourrit, the title role demands a tenor of lyricism and suppleness but also power and stamina. Poliuto will be sung by the exciting American tenor Michael Fabiano, who debuted in La traviata in Festival 2014. As Paolina, a role often associated with Maria Callas, the Puerto Rican soprano Ana María Martínez returns to Glyndebourne for the first time since her memorable debut in the title role of Rusalka in 2009.
This Glyndebourne premiere of Poliuto also marks the opera’s UK premiere. Staged by French director Mariame Clément, returning after her winning production of Don Pasquale , this production of Poliuto cuts to the heart of the opera’s intimate personal drama: a classic love triangle, doomed by the conflicting forces of politics and faith, and played out against a timeless, monumental canvas. Enrique Mazzola returns to conduct the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
Peter Moores Foundation
Jon and Julia Aisbitt
Critical Edition by William Ashbrook and Roger Parker
Property of Casa Ricordi, Milan (Universal Publishing Srl)
By arrangement with G. Ricordi & Co (London) Ltd.
A revival of the 2002 Festival production
‘I have written a work that is all clarity and vivacity, full of colour and melody’, wrote Bizet of Carmen , composed shortly before his sudden death at age 37. He would never know that his tale of a free-spirited femme fatale would become one of the world’s most widely performed and beloved operas.
Set in Andalucía, Carmen reflects the 19th-century European fascination with the exotic, evoked through the use of authentic Spanish music – alongside popular-style opéra-comique tunes and soaring French lyricism. Based on the 1845 novella by Prosper Mérimée, Carmen traces the joined fates of the fiery gypsy Carmen and Don José, a naïve army corporal. In love with Carmen, he abandons his childhood sweetheart and deserts from the military, but loses the capricious Carmen to the glamorous toreador Escamillo, with deadly results. The opera’s portrayal of working-class life, dissolution and lawlessness, as well as the shocking onstage murder of its heroine and the ground-breaking music Bizet wrote for it, scandalised early audiences but blazed new trails in opera.
Of David McVicar’s production, last seen in Festival 2008, The Guardian wrote: ‘It is a brooding view of Carmen , a dissection of lost souls embedded in Michael Vale’s scrupulously realist sets… Sue Blane’s meticulously Spanish costumes provide a note of native colour… McVicar powers this Glyndebourne production with the energy of Rent , and with the seediness of Cabaret.’
Jakub Hrůša conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra, with Glyndebourne favourite Stéphanie d’Oustrac in the iconic title role, the charismatic Polish-Brazilian baritone Paulo Szot as Escamillo, acclaimed Czech tenor Pavel Cernoch as Don José, and the dazzling British soprano Lucy Crowe as Micaëla.
Sung in French with English supertitles
a Syndicate of Individuals led by Lord Davies of Abersoch CBE