Saturday, November 23rd, 2013 – 6pm
dress code: black tie
conductor: Emmanuel Villaume
director: Leo Muscato
sets: Massimo Checchetto
costumes: Carlos Tieppo
Jessica Pratt (23,26,29/11 – 1/12)
Zuzana Markova (27, 30/11)
Veronica Simeoni (23,26,29/11 – 1/12)
Patrizia Biccirè (27, 30/11)
Vasco de Gama
Gregory Kunde (23,26,29/11 – 1/12)
Antonello Palombi (27, 30/11)
Angelo Veccia (23,26,29/11 – 1/12)
Luca Grassi (27, 30/11)
Le grand inquisiteur de Lisbonne
Le grand-prêtre de Brahma
La Fenice Opera House Chorus and Orchestra
Chorus master Claudio Marino Moretti
italian and english surtitles
La Fenice Opera House new production
on the 150th anniversary of Meyerbeer’s death
L’Africaine by Giacomo Meyerbeer
The 2013-2014 Opera Season will open at Teatro La Fenice on Saturday 23 November 2012 with a new production of L’Africaine [The African Woman], a five-act opera by Giacomo Meyerbeer to a libretto by Eugène Scribe; this was the composer’s last posthumous masterpiece, debuting at the Paris Opéra in 1865.
A key figure in nineteenth-century European opera, and born in Berlin in 1791, Giacomo Meyerbeer lived in Italy from 1815 to 1824 and in the following forty years went on to become one of the most important artifices of Parisian grand opera; several years ago it was to this composer that La Fenice dedicated the opening of the 2007 Opera Season with a modern-day première of the Crociato in Egitto, composed for the Venetian opera house in 1824 just before leaving Italy. 2014 marks the 150th anniversary of the composer’s death (Paris 1864): an opportunity not to be missed to continue with the rediscovery and common development of some of the greatest international opera houses.
The unfinished opera of a lifetime, Meyerbeer worked on L’Africaine from 1837 to 1864 and it had its debut posthumously on 28 April 1865 at the Paris Opéra. It seems to have combined the entire history of French opera in the nineteenth century, mixing the sumptuous monumentality of the grand opéra with the intimism of drama lyrique at the end of the century, with an exotic subject as its plot, focussing on the love between the slave-queen Sélika and the explorer Vasco de Gama.
Last performed at La Fenice in 1892 (but staged no less than four times with a total of 59 performances between 1868 and 1892), L’Africaine will be conducted by a specialist of French repertoire, Emmanuel Villaume (previously at La Fenice with Crociato in Egitto and Thaïs by Massenet), with a double cast that sees in the main roles the tenors Gregory Kunde (Premio Abbiati 2012 for Verdi’s Otello at La Fenice) and Antonello Palombi, Vasco de Gama; the sopranos Jessica Pratt and Zuzana Marková, Inès; the mezzo-sopranos Veronica Simeoni (who was met with great success as Carmen and Azucena at La Fenice) and Patrizia Biccirè, Sélika; and the baritones Angelo Veccia and Luca Grassi, Nélusko; the bass Luca Dall’Amico will be Don Diégo, Inès’ father, tenor Emanuele Giannino Don Alvar, the bass Mattia Denti the grand inquisitioner of Lisbon and Anna Bordignon Anna’s confidante.
The new production of this challenging project is entrusted to the hands of the forty-year old director from Puglia, Leo Muscato, with sets by Massimo Checchetto and costumes by Carlos Tieppo and lights by Alessandro Verazzi.
The preview on Saturday 23 November 2013 will be broadcast live by Rai Radio3 and there will be a recorded broadcast by the Euroradio circuit; it will be followed by another five performances on Tuesday 26 (subscription cycle A), Wednesday 27 (subscription cycle E) and on Friday 29 (subscription cycle D) at 18.00, Saturday 30 (subscription cycle C) and Sunday 1 December (subscription cycle B) at 15.30.
The opera will be performed in French with overtitles in Italian and English.