“La Traviata” at La Fenice Theater in Venice

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Synopsis

ACT ONE

In the Salon in the house of Violetta Valéry, a fascinating and much-wooed courtesan in fashionable Parisian society, a sumptuous reception is in progress. Among the last guests to arrive, after gambling at cards in the house of Flora Bervoix, Viscount Gaston de Letorières introduces Violetta to Alfredo Germont, who is a fervent admirer of hers: so deeply in love, confides Gaston, that when she was recently ill he came each day to enquire secretly after her health. Violetta, touched by this unusual devotion, amiably dispels the young man’s shyness. Encouraged by his friends, Alfredo improvises a toast to beauty and to the joy of life. After supper, as the guests move off towards the ballroom, Violetta has a sudden fit of coughing. Alfredo, who is alone with her, begs her fondly to take more care of her health, assuring her that he would know how to look after her jealously. And tenderly he declares his love to her. Violetta is surprised and feigns indifference, replying that he will receive only friendship from her. Inwardly, however, she is perturbed by this confession. Plucking a flower from her bosom, she offers it to Alfredo for him to bring back when it has withered. Exultantly he takes it to mean an invitation to return the following day. Dawn has risen and the guests take their leave after the dancing. In solitude, Violetta ponders over Alfredo’s words of love. For the first time, someone has expressed a sincere affection for her. Accustomed to spend her life among fleeting joys and worldly pleasures, should she take him seriously, and change her way of life? No, she resolves not to pursue this foolish illusion. Though deep in her heart she feels that their love must be true.

Caramba (Luigi Sapelli, 1865-1936), figurini (Violetta, Alfredo) per la ripresa scaligera del 1906, la prima in costumi moderni. Cantavano Rosina Storchio (Violetta; 1876-1945; la prima Mimì e Zazà per Leoncavallo, e la prima Butterfly), Leonida Sobinov (Alfredo; 1872-1934), Riccardo Stracciari (Germont; 1875-1955).

Caramba (Luigi Sapelli, 1865-1936), costumes (Violetta, Alfredo) for the Verona premiere of 1906, the first one with modern costumes. The performers were Leonida Sobinov (Alfredo; 1872-1934), Riccardo Stracciari (Germont; 1875-1955), and Rosina Storchio (Violetta; 1876-1945), who was the first Mimì, but also the first Zazà for Leoncavallo, and the first Butterfly.

ACT TWO

Scene one

In a country house near Paris Violetta and Alfredo are spending an idyllic life together, far from the social whirl of the capital. Alfredo expresses the fullness of his joy at this delightful situation, which has lasted now for three months. But the spell is unexpectedly broken by Annina, the maid, who tells him she has been to Paris upon Violetta’s orders, to sell jewels, horses and property to pay for the expenses of their stay in the country. Alfredo’s pride is hurted and he decides to leave at once in order to settle these affairs personally. Violetta enters. She is reading a letter from Flora, who has discovered the lovers’ retreat and invites her friend to a reception that same evening. Let her wait in vain, smiles Violetta. In the meantime a visit is announced. Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father, introduces himself to Violetta with a contemptuous air, convinced that the woman is being kept by his son. Proudly Violetta shows Germont the deed of sale of her estate. Germont is favourably impressed by this gesture. However he asks her on the strength of her affection, to renounce Alfredo in order not to ruin the happiness of another member of his family, his daughter, whose marriage with a young man «of good family» is liable to fall through unless her brother’s scandalous liaison is broken off. Violetta claims the rights of her love, telling Germont of her serious state of health, and desperately resists his pressing requests. But in the end she yields. In resignation she agrees to sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of Alfredo and his loved ones. She promises Germont, who is deeply moved, to face her immense sorrow alone and never to reveal to Alfredo why she has deserted him so precipitately. She is on the point of writing him a farewell letter when Alfredo himself appears and asks the reason for her strange uneasiness. Violetta answers with a heartrending cry of love, before hastening away. Later she sends him a note saying that she has decided to return to her former society life and old friends. Alfredo is deeply shaken. Germont arrives, but his fond words of consolation are of no avail, even though he reminds his son of the peaceful times spent in their native Provence, where he invites him to savour once again the warmth of family affection.

Scene two

In a hall in the house of Flora Bervoix. A masked ball is in full swing. Violetta is in attendanceon the arm of Baron Douphol, her former protector. Not expecting to find Alfredo there,she is upset on seeing him, but he pretends to take no notice. He makes for the card tables, wherehe wins with shameless luck, while provoking Douphol’s resentment with vague allusions. The announcementof dinner prevents a quarrel, and the guests move into the dining room. Alfredo re-entersimmediately, having received an invitation from Violetta to talk with her. She implores him to leave and not to incur the baron’s wrath. Also, she confesses, if he would but realize, she fears most of all for his own life. But Alfredo replies that he will leave only if she will follow him. Violetta is compelled to reveal that she has sworn never to see him again. But since Alfredo insists on knowing who has had the right to impose this oath upon her, she allows him to understand that it was the Baron. Beside himself with jealousy and despair, Alfredo summons the guests. Confessing his shame at having allowed a woman to squander her fortune for him, he flings at Violetta’s feet a purse full of money, proclaiming that he has thus repaid her. Violetta faints, while Alfredo’s gesture is received with general indignation. Germont, who is arrived in the meantime, reproaches his already humiliated and repentant son, and drags him away, followed by Douphol who demands satisfaction for the insult to his partner.

ACT THREE

Violetta, whose illness is by now beyond hope, is being looked after by the faithful Annina. It is a grey winter’s morning. Doctor Grenvil arrives and tries so instil hope and courage into his patient, but confesses to Annina that the end is near. Violetta once again re-reads the affectionate letter received from Germont, in which he thanks her for having kept her promise. He also informs her that the Baron was wounded in the duel and that he has at last revealed the truth to Alfredo, who is now on his way to visit her to beg forgiveness. A echo of carnival music and revelry rise from the street, Violetta gazes mournfully her pale image in the looking-glass and her heart breaks when she remembers the happy months spent with her lover. But now Annina enters to prepare her for a great emotion, followed at once by Alfredo, who throws himself into Violetta’s arms. Together they dream once again of a radiant future. Blissfully happy, Violetta would like to get dressed and go out into the festive city. But her strength fails her and she realizes she has not much longer to live. As Germont, who has joined his son, now clasps her to his heart like a daughter, she gives Alfredo a portrait of their happy years, begging him to keep it in memory of her who has loved him so deeply, and to offer it one day to the young woman who will be his future wife: on the stage Annina and Doctor Grenvil too. Suddenly she feels lifted by a mysterious force. Rising in one last longing for life, she falls back dead in Alfredo’s arms.

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“Il trovatore” in Prague

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trovatoredateLibretto: Salvatore Cammarano
Musical preparation: Jan Latham-Koenig
Conductor: Jiří Štrunc
Stage director: Lubor Cukr
Sets: Josef Jelínek
Costumes: Josef Jelínek
Chorus master: Adolf Melichar
Dramaturgy: Jitka Slavíková

State Opera Orchestra

State Opera Chorus

Premiere: May 26, 2011

The romantic story set in 15th-century Spain about the troubadour Manrico and the Gypsy Azucena, replete with heroism, machinations, love, hatred and revenge, is rather intricate and its plot improbable to say the least. The celebrated tenor Leo Slezak, a favourite guest of the New German Theatre (today’s State Opera) and a superlative performer of Manrico, remarked: “I have sung the Troubadour at least a hundred times, and I still haven’t the slightest inkling as to what this opera is actually about!” Nevertheless, Giuseppe Verdi superbly negotiated all the unlikely plot twists and duly created one of his most forcible works. The melodies in Il trovatore are lavishly expressive and the celebrated Anvil Chorus “Vedi le fosche notturne” from Act 2 has experienced numerous paraphrases, including Glen Miller’s jazz arrangement. The premiere on 19 January 1853 at the Teatro Apollo in Rome was a triumph and opera stages were soon scrambling to stage the work. Alongside La traviata and Rigoletto, Il trovatore is the apex of Verdi’s creation, and the three operas are still record-breakers when it comes to the number of performances and visitors at opera houses around the world.

The opera is staged in Italian original version and Czech and English surtitles are used in the performance.

Duration of the performance: 2 hours and 35 minutes, 1 intermission

Photo: Martin Divíšek

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Aida in the Czech Republic

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aidadateLibretto: Antonio Ghislanzoni
Conductor: Martin Leginus
Stage director: Petar Selem
Sets: Hafiz Abdel Farghali
Costumes: Josef Jelínek
Chorus master: Adolf Melichar
Choreography: Otto Šanda

State Opera Orchestra
State Opera Chorus
Czech National Opera Ballet

Premiere: June 2, 1994

To inaugurate the Suez Canal, Ismail Pasha, Viceroy of Egypt, commissioned an opera from the composer whose Rigoletto opened the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo in 1869. Giuseppe Verdi dedicated great care to preparing the new work and even visited Egypt so as to have his own idea of the country. (He even had Old Egypt “Aida trumpets” made in Milan.) Yet he only completed the opera after the Suez Canal was opened (17 November 1869) and the premiere took place on 24 December 1871 at the Teatro del’Opera in Cairo.

aida-1 aida-2 aida-5The dramatic charge of the story of the Egyptian Princess Aida and the warrior Radames grows out of the inner torment of a woman who has to decide between being loyal to her country or dedicating herself to a man who is one of the oppressors of her nation. The dilemma of choosing between love and duty is also faced by Radames, who ultimately betrays his homeland because of Aida. The current State Opera production was premiered in 1994. The renowned Egyptian painter Hafíz Abdel Farghali gave a genuine Egyptian colour to the sets which, together with Josef Jelínek’s exquisite costumes, contributed to the great success of the performances. The production also met with a tremendous response during the State Opera Prague’s two tours of Japan – in 2001, the role of Radames was portrayed by the world-famous artist José Cura, and in 2005 the celebrated singer Maria Guleghina performed with our company.

The opera is staged in Italian original version and Czech and English surtitles are used in the performance.

Photo: Oldřich Pernica and Dan Jäger

Duration of the performance: 2 hours and 45 minutes, 1 intermission

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Cast

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Dvořák’s The Jacobin performed by the Czech State Opera

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jacobindateLibretto: Marie Červinková-Riegrová
Musical preparation: Tomáš Netopil
Conductor: David Švec, Jan Chalupecký
Stage director: Jiří Heřman
Sets: Pavel Svoboda
Costumes: Alexandra Grusková
Choreography: Lucie Holánková
Chorus master: Pavel Vaněk
Dramaturgy: Beno Blachut
Light-design: Daniel Tesař
Chorus master of the Kühn’s Children’s Choir: Jiří Chvála

National Theatre Orchestra

National Theatre Chorus

Ballet of the National Theatre Opera

Kühn Children’s Choir

Premiere: October 8 and 9, 2011

 

jakobin-1 jakobin-3 jakobin-4Dvořák’s The Jacobin is one of the most popular and most frequently performed Czech operas. To date, the National Theatre has staged twelve productions, most recently in 1993. The story, depicting life in a small Czech town on the one hand and the return of a “suspicious” émigré to his homeland on the other, is often understood in a somewhat simplistic, hyperbolic manner. Yet it is rather borne – primarily owing to Dvořák’s musical genius – in an ambiguous atmosphere of melancholy, sentiment, humorous bird’s-eye view and self-irony. As in many other similarly tuned Czech dramatic works, here too all the accumulated and pointed conflicts end up in humble, conciliatory and amicable lesson-learning.jakobin-5

At the end of the 18th century, Bohuš, a count’s son, who at one time was hounded out by his father owing to his liberalism returns to an idealised Czech town. Yet before he is allowed to reconcile with his father, he and his wife have to experience a slew of provincial intrigues which the locals direct both at themselves and – because of his being suspected of “Jacobinism” – against Bohuš and his wife. We encounter a number of stock and popular dramatic types – the happily amorous Jiří and Terinka, between whom the big-headed burgrave Filip wants to drive a wedge, the count’s power-hungry nephew Adolf, as well as the good-natured teacher Benda. A crucial role in the story is played by the traditionally lauded Czech musicality; the Czechs’ affectionate relationship to music, whose ardency and tenderness is able to soften even the most hardened of hearts. The scene at the school during which the teacher Benda is preparing with the children a festive cantata in honour of the new master is one of the most remarkable in Czech opera.

Orchestra of the National Theatre, Chorus of the National Theatre Opera and Kühn Childern´s Choir, Ballet of the National Theatre Opera

The opera is staged in Czech original version and Czech and English surtitles are used in the performance.

Duration of the performance: 3 hours, 2 intermissionsjakobin-6 jakobin-7 jakobin-8

CAST

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Rigoletto performed by the Prague State Opera

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Libretto: Francesco Maria Piave
Conductor: Richard Hein
Stage director: Karel Jernek
Sets: Zbyněk Kolář
Costumes: Olga Filipi
Chorus master: Adolf Melichar
Choreography: Daniel Wiesner

State Opera Orchestra

State Opera Chorus

Premiere: January 14, 1988

 

rigoletto-3 rigoletto-4 rigoletto-7 rigoletto-10Together with La traviata and Il trovatore, Rigoletto (1851) is an opera that made Verdi famous worldwide. Its theme, taken over from Victor Hugo’s drama Le roi s’amuse, is the tragic story of the court jester Rigoletto and his beautiful daughter Gilda, who falls victim to her father’s promiscuous master, the Duke of Mantua. The genesis of the work, written for the Teatro La Fenice, was quite dramatic in itself. The Venice police intervened and subjected the original version to censorship, claiming that the theme was “tastelessly immoral” and “offensive to His Royal Majesty”.

The librettist Francesco Maria Piave carried out acceptable revisions, replaced the character of the King with the Duke, omitted the hunchback personage and the motif of curse, and changed the working title La maledizione to Il duco di Vendôme. Yet Verdi insisted that the main story line be preserved and that Triboletto (as the hunchback was originally called) remain an outcast living on the edge of society. Ultimately, a compromise was reached and the opera was given a new title, the one we know it by today – Rigoletto. The world premiere on 11 March 1851 in Venice was a triumph and the Duke’s cynical song “La donna e mobile” (The woman is fickle) was sung by people in the streets the very next day. Verdi’s splendid melodies and the masterful depiction of the lead characters still enchant opera-lovers around the world.

The opera is staged in Italian original version and Czech and English surtitles are used in the performance.

Duration of the performance: 2 hours and 30 minutes, 2 intermissions

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The Magic Flute at the San Jose Opera

2014-15_MagicFlute_524x412sanjoselogoA quest for enlightenment and honor. A mystical story about the power of love. A young prince discovers a flute with magic and a girl who will make him whole. Mozart’s fantastical and comical tale draws you into a world of magic fantasy, complete with a giant serpent, a secret brotherhood, and a lovesick bird catcher. Sung in German with English supertitles.

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CREATIVE TEAM

Conductor

Joseph Marcheso

Stage Director

Brad Dalton

Assistant Conductor

Andrew Whitfield

Chorus Master

Andrew Whitfield

Set Designer

Ryan McGettigan

Costume Designer

Alyssa Oania

Lighting Designer

David Lee Cuthbert

Wig & Makeup
Designer

Vicky Martinez

CAST*

Role 4/18, 4/19, 4/23, 4/26, 5/1, 5/3
Tamino Kirk Dougherty
Pamina Hae Ji Chang
Papageno Matthew Hanscom
Queen of the Night Isabella Ivy
First Lady Elizabeth Baldwin
Second Lady Chloe Smart
Third Lady Lisa Chavez
Monastatos David Margulis
Sarastro Silas Elash
Papagena Jennie Litster
The Speaker Christopher Filipowicz

Opera San José Orchestra, Chorus, Dancers and Supers

PRE-PERFORMANCE TALKS

California TheatreBefore each performance in the California Theatre (except on Saturday, February 7, 2015), General Director Larry Hancock will share his thoughts on the opera, discuss the plot and characters, tell you about the composer, and answer your questions, greatly enriching your opera-going experience. Each 45-minute Introduction to Opera is FREE and begins at 6:30 prior to evening performances and at 1:30 prior to Sunday matinees.

SYNOPSIS

The Magic Flute

Act 1

Scene 1: A rough, rocky landscape

Tamino, a handsome prince who is lost in a distant land, is being pursued by a serpent and asks the gods to save him (quartet: “Zu Hilfe! Zu Hilfe!”). He faints, and three ladies, attendants of the Queen of the Night, appear and kill the serpent. They admire Tamino for his handsomeness and youth. Each of the ladies tries to convince the other two to leave to tell their mistress about the young prince. After arguing, they reluctantly decide to leave together.

Tamino wakes, hears someone approaching and hides. Papageno enters, arrayed entirely in the plumage of birds. He describes his happy life as a bird-catcher, but also complains of his longing for a wife, or at least a girlfriend (aria: “Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja”). Tamino emerges and introduces himself to Papageno, whom he initially thinks may have killed the serpent. Papageno is only too happy to take the credit – he claims that he strangled the monster with his bare hands. The three ladies suddenly reappear and instead of his daily meal of wine, sweet figs and cakes, they bring Papageno water, a stone and a padlock which they place over his mouth as a warning not to lie. They tell Tamino that it was they who saved him from the serpent and give him a portrait of the Queen of the Night’s daughter Pamina. The ladies leave and Tamino gazes on the portrait, falling instantly in love with Pamina (aria: “Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön” / “This image is enchantingly lovely”).

The arrival of the Queen of the Night. Stage set by Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781–1841) for an 1815 production

The ladies return and tell Tamino that Pamina has been captured by an evil sorcerer, Sarastro, and that her mother longs to see her again. Tamino swears that he will rescue Pamina. The Queen of the Night herself appears and tells Tamino that Pamina will be his wife if he can rescue her from Sarastro (Recitative and aria: “O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn” / “Oh, tremble not, my dear son! You are innocent, wise, pious”). After the Queen leaves, the ladies remove the padlock from Papageno’s mouth, warning him not to tell any more lies. They give Tamino a magic flute, which will protect him on his journey and has the power to change sorrow into joy. They tell Papageno to accompany Tamino on his rescue-mission and present him with some magic bells for protection – the bells will bring great happiness to anyone who hears them. The ladies introduce three child-spirits, who will guide Tamino and Papageno to Sarastro’s temple. Together Tamino and Papageno set forth (Quintet: “Hm! Hm! Hm! Hm!”).

Scene 2: A room in Sarastro’s palace

Pamina, her hands bound, is brought in by Sarastro’s slaves. Monostatos gloats that she is in his power. He orders the slaves to untie her and leave them together. Papageno, sent ahead by Tamino to help find Pamina, enters. (Trio: “Du feines Täubchen, nur herein!”.) Monostatos and Papageno are each terrified by the other’s strange appearance and Monostatos flees. Papageno announces to Pamina that her mother has sent Tamino to save her. Pamina rejoices to hear that Tamino is in love with her. She offers sympathy and hope to Papageno, who longs for a wife. Together they reflect on the joys and sacred duties of marital love (duet: “Bei Männern welche Liebe fühlen”).

Scene 3: A grove

The three child-spirits lead Tamino to Sarastro’s temple, promising that if he remains patient, wise and steadfast, he will succeed in rescuing Pamina. Tamino approaches the left-hand entrance and is denied access by priests from within. The same happens when he goes to the entrance on the right. But from the entrance in the middle, a speaker appears and lets Tamino in. The speaker tells Tamino that Sarastro is benevolent, not evil, and that he should not trust the Queen of the Night. He leaves, instructing Tamino to trust in wisdom. Outside the temple, Tamino longs for the night to end and to find Pamina. Voices from within the temple reassure Tamino that Pamina is alive. Tamino plays his magic flute. Animals appear and dance, enraptured, to his music. Tamino hears Papageno’s pipes and hurries off to find him.

Papageno and Pamina are trying to find Tamino when they are captured by Monostatos and his slaves. Papageno plays his magic bells, and Monostatos and his slaves begin to dance, mesmerised by the beauty of the music. Papageno and Pamina hear the sound of Sarastro’s retinue. Papageno is frightened and asks Pamina what they should say. She answers that they must tell the truth. Sarastro enters, with a crowd of followers who hail his wisdom and justice.

Pamina falls at Sarastro’s feet and confesses that she tried to escape because Monostatos had forced his attentions on her. Sarastro receives her kindly and assures her that he wishes only for her happiness. But he refuses to return her to her mother, whom he describes as a proud, headstrong woman, and a bad influence on those around her.

Monostatos brings in Tamino. The two lovers see one another for the first time and embrace, causing indignation among Sarastro’s followers. Monostatos tells Sarastro that he caught Papageno and Pamina trying to escape and demands a reward. Sarastro, however, punishes Monostatos for his lustful behaviour toward Pamina, and sends him away. He announces that Tamino must undergo trials of wisdom in order to become worthy as Pamina’s husband. The priests declare that virtue and forgiveness will sanctify life (“Wenn Tugend und Gerechtigkeit”).

Act 2

Scene 1: A grove of palms

The council of priests of Isis and Osiris, headed by Sarastro, enters to the sound of a solemn march. Sarastro tells the priests that Tamino is ready to undergo the ordeals that will lead to enlightenment. He explains that he seized Pamina from her mother so that she could be united with Tamino – he plans for the couple to eventually take over from him as rulers of the temple. He praises the gods Isis and Osiris, asking them to protect Tamino and Pamina (Aria: “O Isis und Osiris”).

Scene 2: The courtyard of the Temple of Ordeal

Tamino and a frightened Papageno are led in by two priests. The priests ask Tamino what he seeks; he says that they are searching for enlightenment, wisdom and love, for which they will risk their lives and undergo every trial. Papageno declines the trials at first, saying that he doesn’t care much about wisdom or enlightenment, and only wants sleep, food and wine, and a pretty woman. One of the priests tells Papageno that Sarastro may have a woman for him if he undergoes the trials: she is called Papagena and is young and beautiful – a perfect wife for Papageno.

The priests advise Tamino and Papageno of the dangers ahead of them, warn them of women’s wiles and swear them to silence (Duet: “Bewahret euch von Weibertücken”). The three ladies appear. They are shocked that Tamino is now an ally of Sarastro and tempt Tamino and Papageno to speak. (Quintet: “Wie, wie, wie”) Papageno cannot resist answering the ladies, but Tamino remains aloof, angrily instructing Papageno not to listen to the ladies’ threats and to keep quiet. Seeing that Tamino will not speak to them, the ladies withdraw in confusion.

The priests congratulate Tamino for successfully passing the first test, while warning him that there are many challenges still to come.

Scene 3: A garden, Pamina asleep

Pamina is asleep. Monostatos approaches and gazes upon her with rapture. (Aria: “Alles fühlt der Liebe Freuden”) He is about to kiss the sleeping Pamina, when the Queen of the Night appears. Pamina wakes and tells her mother that Tamino is aspiring to join Sarastro’s brotherhood and to gain enlightenment. The Queen is furious and reveals her true plan: she gives Pamina a dagger, ordering her to kill Sarastro with it. (Aria: “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen” / “Hell’s vengeance boils in my heart”). She leaves, and Pamina declares that she will not do as her mother asked. Monostatos returns and tries to force Pamina’s love by threatening to reveal the Queen’s plot, but Sarastro enters and drives him off. Pamina begs Sarastro to forgive her mother and he reassures her that revenge and cruelty have no place in his domain (Aria: “In diesen heil’gen Hallen”).

Scene 4: A hall in the Temple of Ordeal

Tamino and Papageno are led in by priests. They are reminded that they must remain silent. Papageno complains of thirst. An old woman enters and offers Papageno a cup of water. He drinks and, although it is forbidden, he engages the woman in conversation and asks how old she is. She replies that she is eighteen years and two minutes old. Papageno teasingly asks whether she has a boyfriend. She replies that she does and that his name is Papageno. She disappears as Papageno asks for her name, and the three child-spirits bring in food, the magic flute, and the bells, sent from Sarastro. They instruct Papageno to keep quiet. Tamino begins to play the flute, which summons Pamina. She tries to speak with him. Tamino, bound to a vow of silence as part of the trials, cannot talk to her, and Pamina begins to believe that he no longer loves her. (Aria: “Ach, ich fühl’s, es ist verschwunden”) She leaves in despair.

Scene 5: The pyramids

The priests celebrate Tamino’s successes so far, and pray that he will succeed and become worthy of their order (Chorus: “O Isis und Osiris”). Pamina is brought in and Sarastro instructs Pamina and Tamino to bid each other farewell before the greater trials ahead. (Trio: Sarastro, Pamina, Tamino – “Soll ich dich, Teurer, nicht mehr sehn?”) They exit and Papageno enters, in search of Tamino and complaining about the trials. The priests grant his request for a glass of wine and he expresses his desire for a wife. (Aria, Papageno: “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen”). The elderly woman reappears and tells him that unless he marries her, he will be imprisoned forever. When Papageno promises to love her faithfully (muttering that he will only do this until something better comes along), she immediately transforms into the young and pretty Papagena. Papageno rushes to embrace her, but the priests drive him back, telling him that he is not yet worthy of her.

Scene 6: A garden

Tamino and Pamina undergo their final trial; watercolor by Max Slevogt (1868–1932)

The three child-spirits hail the dawn. They observe Pamina, who is contemplating suicide because she believes Tamino has abandoned her. The child-spirits restrain her and reassure her of Tamino’s love. She allows them to lead her to Tamino. (Quartet: “Bald prangt, den Morgen zu verkünden”).

Scene 7: Outside the Temple of Ordeal

Two men in armour lead in Tamino. They recite one of the formal creeds of Isis and Osiris, promising enlightenment to those who successfully overcome the fear of death (“Der, welcher wandert diese Strasse voll Beschwerden”). This recitation takes the musical form of a Baroque chorale prelude, to the tune of Martin Luther’s hymn Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein (Oh God, look down from heaven).[19] Tamino declares that he is ready to be tested. Pamina’s voice is heard. The men in armour assure Tamino that the trial by silence is over and he is free to speak with her. Pamina enters and declares her intention to undergo the remaining trials with Tamino. The pair are delighted to be together again. Pamina hands Tamino the magic flute to help them through the trials. (“Tamino mein, o welch ein Glück!”). Protected by the music of the magic flute, which Tamino plays, they pass unscathed through trials of fire and water. The Priests hail their triumph and invite the couple to enter the temple.

Scene 8: A garden

Papageno despairs at having lost Papagena and decides to hang himself (Aria/Quartet: “Papagena! Papagena! Papagena!”) The three child-spirits appear and stop him. They advise him to play his magic bells to summon Papagena. She appears and, united, the happy couple stutter in astonishment. They plan their future and dream of the many children they will have together (Duet: “Pa … pa … pa …”).

The traitorous Monostatos appears with the Queen of the Night and her three ladies. They plot to destroy the temple (“Nur stille, stille”) and the Queen confirms that she has promised her daughter Pamina to Monostatos. But before the conspirators can enter the temple, they are magically cast out into eternal night.

Scene 9: The Temple of the Sun

Sarastro announces the sun’s triumph over the night. Everyone praises the courage of Tamino and Pamina in enduring their trials, gives thanks to Isis and Osiris and hails the dawn of a new era of wisdom and brotherhood.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

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Madrid will be the European Capital of the Opera in May 2015

madridlogoteatrorealTeatro Real welcomes the International Conference of Opera Europe
From the 6th to the 8th of May, Madrid will celebrate the International Conference of Opera Europe, which will gather, at the Teatro Real, representatives of 150 opera theatres from more than 40 countries all over the world and will turn Madrid into the European Capital of the Opera.

The Conference, whose main discussion point will be the use of new technologies as a tool for the spreading of the opera, will coincide with the celebration of the “European Days of Opera”, for the first time since the Conference in Paris, 2007, and the launch of the digital opera project.

Among the activities planned on the occasion of both celebrations is the screening of opera and children’s shows on different outdoor screens.

European Opera Days

European Opera Days 2014: A successful journey for all

Over 230,000 citizens joined 100 participating houses in 25 countries for the 8th edition of the European Opera Days on 10 and 11 May 2014. Opera, its diversity, rich heritage and contemporary message were celebrated through free activities, out-of-house events, online happenings, rehearsals and performances.

First estimates show that the event’s objectives were realised successfully on a European level, reaching out to new audiences and inviting them to join a ‘Journey to Opera’: over 50% of the participants throughout Europe were opera newcomers.
Moreover, almost 40% of these participants were estimated to be under 30 years of age, thanks to the innovative activities proposed by the opera organisations’ organising teams.

We hope to ensure that this journey will continue for all and look forward to the next edition of the European Opera Days from 8 to 10 May 2015.


European Opera Days invite you on a journey.
For the 8th year running, opera houses all around Europe are opening their doors and inviting everyone to (re)discover opera during the European Opera Days on 10 and 11 May 2014.

The 8th edition of the European Opera Days invites you on a journey; a journey through time, a journey through places, but also an emotional journey.

It is a musical journey that has been enjoyed throughout Europe for 400 years. Linked intimately to the history and developments of Europe, opera mirrors our societies and challenges people to see their world from a different perspective.

This year, 100 companies in 25 countries celebrate opera, its diversity, its rich heritage and its contemporary message through free activities, tours of theatres and workshops, rehearsals and performances.
Since 2007, opera companies from all over Europe have been collaborating on this project. The European Opera Days are an open invitation to discover opera in all its forms on the weekend closest to 9 May, Europe Day.

The European Opera Days are a joint initiative of Opera Europa, the leading organisation for professional opera companies and festivals throughout Europe, serving over 140 members in 37 countries (www.opera-europa.org), and RESEO, the European network for opera and dance education, supporting participation, creative learning and youth productions of 80 members in 21 countries (www.reseo.org), in partnership with la Réunion des Opéras de France (www.rof.fr), ANFOLS (Italty), Opera Norge (Norway), Ópera XXI (www.operaxxi.com), the UK National Opera Coordinating Committee.

See the complete list of participants on http://www.operadays.eu/en/participating-houses.

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Program of the Conference

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