The National Centre for the Performing Arts of Beijing Presents:
Nabucco (short for Nabucodonosor, English Nebuchadnezzar) is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera, based on the Biblical story and the 1836 play by Auguste Anicet-Bourgeois and Francis Cornue. It is Verdi’s third opera and the one which is considered to have permanently established his reputation as a composer. Nabucco follows the plight of the Jews as they are assaulted, conquered, and subsequently exiled from their homeland by the Babylonian King Nabucco (in English, Nebuchadnezzar). The historical events are used as background for a romantic and political plot. Its first performance took place on 9 March 1842 at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan under the original name of Nabucodonosor. The definitive name of Nabucco for the opera (and its protagonist) was first used at a performance at the San Giacomo Theatre of Corfu in September, 1844. Nonetheless, a more plausible alternative for the establishment of this abbreviated form claims that it was the result of a revival of the opera in Teatro Giglio of Lucca.
Nabucco is NCPA’s second Giuseppe Verdi’s opera of the year. It’s worth mentioning that famous stage designer Ezio Frigerio and costume designer Franca Squarciapino, who has won the Oscar Award of Best Costume Design for the movie Cyrano de Bergerac, has participated in the production.
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto: Temistocle Solera
Conductor: Eugene Kohn
Director: Gilbert Deflo
Set Design: Ezio Frigerio
Costume Design: Franca Squarciapino
Lighting Design: Vinicio Cheli
Projection Design: Sergio Metalli
Chorus: NCPA Chorus
Orchestra: NCPA Orchestra
CAST AND ARTISTIC TEAM
Gilbert Deflo Director
Gilbert Deflo was born in Belgium in 1944. He graduated from Institut National Supérieur des Arts du spectacle et des techniques de diffusion (INSAS), and advanced his studies at Piccolo Teatro di Milano with famous director Giorgio Strehler. Deflo directed L’Amour des trois oranges, his first work in Frankfurt. As a resident director of Théatre Royal de la Monnaie, Deflo directed many different works during the period from 1981 to 1989. In 1989, he began his career in Italy and traveled around Palermo, Catania, Macerata and Milan. His productions included Carmen, Tosca, Falstaff, etc. Deflo is also an active director on the international stage. He had directed Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Danse macabre, Pelleas et Melisande in Hamburg, Die Frau Ohne Schatten in The Welsh National Opera, Aida in Scottish Opera, The Queen of Spades in Barcelona, etc. He produced many baroque operas, such as L’incoronazione di Poppea, Nostos Il Ritorno in Montpellier, Croesus in Berlin, etc.
His recent productions include Semiramide in Théatre des Champs-élysées, Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci in Arena di Verona, Manon Lescaut in Cagliari, etc.
Ezio Frigerio Set Design
After finishing architecture studies, he approached theatre art by realising the costumes for Casa di Bambola and L’opera da 3 soldi, two plays directed by Giorgio Strehler at Piccolo Teatro in the 1955-56 theatre season. From then on a fertile artistic marriage started between art director and producer, setting up several unique productions as I giganti della montagna (1966), Santa Giovanna dei macelli (1970), Re Lear (1972), Il temporale (1980), L’Illusion Comique, which premiered in 1984 at Théatre de l’Odéon in Paris, La grande magia, which premiered in 1985 and was reprised several times.
The collaboration with Strehler made Frigerio enter the world of opera: Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte were realized by Strehler and Frigerio between 1973 and 1996. Così fan tutte was being staged just before Strehler died.
Frigerio also created stage designs for the Burgtheater in Vienna: Trilogie der Sommerfrische (Trilogia della villeggiatura) by Carlo Goldoni, directed by Strehler, 1974; Judith by Hebbel, directed by Gerhard Klingenberg, 1975.
Other operatic stage designs include: Cherubini’s Medea, directed by Liliana Cavani, for the Opéra National de Paris; Strauss’ Elektra, directed by Nuria Espert, for De Munt Theatre in Brussels; Verdi’s Ernani, directed by Luca Ronconi, 1980, Beethoven’s Fidelio, directed by Werner Herzog in 1999 for the Teatro alla Scala in Milan; Bellini’s Norma, directed by Piero Faggioni, for the Vienna State Opera in 1977; Verdi’s Rigoletto, for the Polish National Opera in 1997.
Frigerio also created the sets for Liliana Cavani’s movie Galileo e i Cannibali and Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s Cyrano de Bergerac, which got an Oscar nomination in 1991.
Frigerio often collaborates with Italian costume designer Franca Squarciapino who is also Frigerio’s partner in life.
Frigerio designed the grave of Rudolf Nureyev.
Franca Squarciapino Costume Design
She frequently collaborates with Ezio Frigerio, who is also her partner and husband in life.
La femme de chambre du Titanic(1998): Goya Awards for Best Costume Design
Le hussard sur le toit(1995): SNGCI’s Nastri d’Argento Awards, César Awards (nomination)
Le colonel Chabert(1994): SNGCI’s Nastri d’Argento Awards , César Awards (nomination)
Louis, enfant roi(1993): César Awards (nomination)
Cyrano de Bergerac(1990): César Awards, BAFTA Film Award for Best Costume Design, SNGCI’s Nastri d’Argento Awards, Academy Award for Costume Design, European Film Awards
Vinicio Cheli Lighting Design
At the same time since 1989 he worked at the Salzburg Festival, Theatre Champs-Elysees, Chalet Theatre in Paris with the set design by Pier Luigi Pizzi, then respondeed to the La Scala in Milan. Recollaborated some years with the Teatro La Fenice in Venice.
The 90s of the last century saw himwork in the Opera Bastille, National Theatre of Prague,Festival of Aix en Provance, Ravenna Festival, the Opera of Monte Carlo, Opera of Geneva, Maggio Musical Fiorentino, Baroque Festival of Versailles, Opera Garnier in Paris, Easter Festival in Salzburg, Teatro Liceu in Barcelona, Atticus Theater in Athens, Ginza Saison Theater in Tokyo, Theatre of the axes of Brussels, Amsterdam Opera, Teatro Comunale of Bologna, Teatro dell’Opera in Rome, Opera of Toulouse, National Theatre of Catalunya in Barcelona,Teatro Real Madrid, Metropolitain in New York, and collaborated with P.L.Pizzi,Ezio, Frigerio, Hugo de Ana, KM Gruber, Henning Brockaus, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, to name just a few.
In the new miennium, Vinicio Cheli continued to expand his collaboration with Ezio Frigerio, Hugo de Ana, F. Zeffirelli, V. Gergiev, Claudio Abbado, Nicola Joel, Quirino Conti, Mario Gas, in productions covering a vast realm of the opera repertoire.
In 2010, he set up La donna del lago of Rossini direqued by Luis Pasqual with scenes by Ezio Frigerio and costumes by Franca Squarciapino; Boris Godunojv directed by Andrei Konchalovsky
In the beginning of 2011, he worked in Senso a new opera directed scenes and costumes by Hugo De Ana. July 2011 ‘Medea’ directed by Theodorakis in Syros Festival of the Aegean. In November of 2011, he worked in ‘The sleeping beauty’, first ballet of reopening of Bolshoi Theater. Vinicio Cheli also taught theatrical lighting at the New Academy of Fine Arts in Milan and at the Professional School of La Scala.
Sergio Metalli Projection Design
In over a decade of successful career he has made over 360 productions and he has worked with major opera theatres around the world.
Yuan Chenye as Nabucco
Mr. Yuan’s clear and supple voice, matched with his facility to portray vastly different characters, have earned him international acclaim. For his Rigoletto with the Welsh National Opera, The Evening Herald described him as, ‘…outstanding in the title role, combining great vocal power with heartfelt emotion.’ Mr. Yuan has put his stamp on this title role having performed it with Houston Grand Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Minnesota Opera, Lyric Opera of San Antonio, Sacramento Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Opera St. Louis, and the Welsh National Opera which was broadcast live on BBC.
In addition to performing with many of the United States and Canada’s premiere Opera Houses and Symphonies, Mr. Yuan has favored the stage of many highly acclaimed venues stretching across Europe and Asia, including his native country China. Mr. Yuan is widely known for his compelling interpretations of the standard repertoire such as Mozart, Beethoven, Puccini and Verdi; however, this auspicious baritone is no stranger to the challenge of a world premiere. Mr. Yuan sang the Dragon King in the premiere Legend of Yao Ji. In Beijing, at the National Centre for the Performing arts, he showcased his seasoned artistry in the roles of Cheng Ying in Chinese Orphan and Zhou Luoping in A Village Teacher.
Mr. Yuan’s schedule continues to be exciting, including upcoming performances of Marcello in La Bohème with the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra and Chou En-Lai in Adams’ Nixon in China with San Francisco Opera and at the Culture Center in Hong Kong, a role with which Mr. Yuan is especially familiar. ‘Yuan sang Chou En-Lai with a gorgeous, burnished baritone, his poise bringing the mysterious figure to life.'(Kansas City Star)
Just a few of Mr. Yuan’s symphony performances include: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Singapore Symphony Orchestra, excerpts of Adams’ Nixon in China with the Chicago Symphony and as a soloist in the Domingo Gala at Kennedy Center.
Vladimir Stoyanov as Nabucco
In 1996, he debuted in Don Carlos in Sofia. He had his Italian debut in 1998 in Macbeth at Teatro di San Carlo of Naples.
Since then, his international career has brought him to the most important opera houses of the world. Particularly noteworthy was his debut at Teatro Alla Scala of Milan in La Forza Del Destino, I Vespri siciliani in Busseto and in Ravenna under the direction of Pier Luigi Pizzi, La Traviata at Teatro Regio of Parma, the opening of the Teatro La Fenice in Le Roi De Lahore, his debut at the Opernhaus of Zürich together with Tsarskaya Nevesta, Attila at Teatro di San Carlo of Naples and Giancarlo Menotti’s Il Console at Teatro Regio of Turin.
In 2008, his debut at the Metropolitan in New York in Pique Dame and in Lucia di Lammermoor, his return to Zürich in Don Carlo, Le Cid and Boris Godunov.
During the 2009 season he sang the main role in Macbeth at the Staatsoper of Berlin, in La Traviata at Teatro La Fenice of Venice, in La Favorita in Seville.
Sun Xiuwei as Abigaille
Sun Xiuwei studied vocal composition under a famous opera sopranist in Milan, Italy. She competed in many kinds of contests around the world within less than two years and won first prize six times. In 1994, she began her opera career with her first singing engagement of G. Verdi’s La Traviata at the Tokyo Opera House. She sang in Norma, La Traviata, La Forza Del Destino, Trovatore, tilla, Suor Angelica, Andrea Chenier, Il Corsaro, Macbeth, Turandor, Pagliacci, and Requiem. She also sang Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly by G.Puccini, after her debut this production in Verona Di Arena, Italy, 1997, she played in this opera more than two hundred times around the world. She sang at opera houses in Roma, Bologna, Palermo, Trieste, Genova, Vanezia, Torre Di Lago, Catania, Verona, Italy; Berlin, Bonn and Carlsruhe, Germany; Nizza, France; Zurich, Switzerland; Oslo, Norway; Helsinky, Finland; Bilbao, Spain; Serbia; Washington, Los Angeles, Detroit, Philadelphia in the United States; Toronto, Canada; and Santiago, Chili. She worked with famous cantors like Arena, Bartoletti, Domingo, Gatti, Nagano, Oren, Palombo, Renzetti,and Rizzi e Santi. She is one of the few Chinese sopranists that are still active on European opera stages.
Anna Markarova as Abigaille
In 2006 Anna became a soloist with the Mariinsky Academy of Young Singers, and since 2010 she has been a soloist with the Mariinsky Opera Company and roles she has performed at the Mariinsky Theatre include Princess Clarice in The Love for Three Oranges, Korobochka in Dead Souls (concert), Grusha the Gypsy in The Enchanted Wanderer, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Odabella in Attila, Elisabeth de Valois in Don Carlo, Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly, title role in Aida, Leonora in La forza del destino, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Amelia in Un ballo in maschera, Prima Donna, Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos. Her repertoire also includes Liza in The Queen of Spades, Tatiana in Eugene Onegin, Yaroslavna in Prince Igor, title role in Turandot, title role in Tosca, Abigaille in Nabucco, Eboli in Don Carlo, title role in Carmen, and Katerina Ismailova in Lady Macbeth from Mtsensk.
The singer’s concert repertoire includes the soprano parts in Verdi’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, and Orff’s Carmina Burana.
Anna Markarova has toured throughout Russia and abroad. She has appeared at Symphony Hall in Birmingham, the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Philharmonic Hall in Dublin, the Théatre du Chatelet in Paris, the Gulbenkian Centre in Lisbon and in various towns throughout France, Spain, Switzerland, Finland and Austria. Under the baton of Valery Gergiev she has appeared at the Red Sea Festival in Israel as Marina Mniszek in Boris Godunov, Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana (in concert), and Cassandra and Didon in Les Troyens. In the season 2011-2012, together with the Mariinsky Opera Company took part in the festival in Mikkeli (Finland) and the Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam (Netherlands).
Regularly she performs at the Easter Festival and at the Stars of the White Nights music festival in Russia.
Among recent recordings of Anna Markarova is Verdi’s Attila for the Mariinsky label (Valery Gergiev, conductor, with Ildar Abdrazakov).
Sergey Artamonov as Zaccaria
Orlin Anastassov as Zaccaria
Jin Zhengjian as Ismaele
Since 2005, Jin Zhengjian has sung Jiao Daxing in China’s original opera Wild Prairie for more than 30 times in various versions of the opera, including the 20th anniversary version, NCPA concert version, and mini-theater version.
In 2007, Jin participated in the premiere of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde in China, as the only Chinese performer in the opera and working with China Philharmonic and numerous world-class artists. In 2008, he performed in the premiere of the original Chinese opera Farewell to My Concubine (as Han Xin) in Beijing, and the six-city tour in the U.S., which was called the ‘Ice-breaking Trip of Chinese Opera in America’. In April, 2008, he sang in the French opera Le roi d’Ys (as Mylio) in NCPA. His performance was highly praised by the French, and, as a consequence, he was sponsored by the French government to study in France. In June, 2008, he sang the leading role in the original Chinese opera Goodbye Again, Cambridge (as Xu Zhimo). In November, 2009, Goodbye Again, Cambridge, with Jin as the leading role, was staged in the Multi-functional Theatre in NCPA. In May and September, 2009, he sang in the premiere and second public performance of the Chinese original opera The Song of Youth, successfully portraying two distinctively different characters, Lu Jiachuan and Yu Yongze, in the opera. In 2010 and 2011, he sang Gastone in La Traviata in NCPA.
He has performed in many important events including Handel’s oratorio Messiah as soloist or leading singer. As a Chinese artist, he has visited countries and regions including Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia, the U.S., Canada, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan.
The Fifth Sister, with Jin as the leading role, won the New Production Award and Grand Award of the Splendor Award in the 7th China Art Festival in 2004 and was named one of the 30 Works of Excellence on the Nation’s Stage in 2005. In 1999, he was a finalist in the Japan Shizuoka International Singing Competition. As a Singer of Excellence, he took part in the Concert of Singers of Excellence in China zone of the Shen Xiang International Singing Competition.
In 2000, he won a silver prize in the BBK Young Singer Competition held by CCTV. In the same year, he won a Lark Cup silver prize for professional singers.
NCPA Chorus was established on December 8, 2009, whose members were carefully selected from famous music schools in and out of China. Now the Chorus invites Wu Lingfen as the conductor, with many artists well-known in China and abroad giving instructions. Affiliated to NCPA, the highest palace of performing arts in China, the Chorus adheres to NCPA’s guiding principles of “for the people, for the arts, and for the world”. The Chorus mainly stages operas and concerts, and also takes part in kinds of cultural communication and arts outreach events.
Ever since its establishment, the Chorus has actively performed in more than 20 operas of NCPA production, such as NCPA’s commission operas Xi Shi, The Chinese Orphan, and The Ballad of Canal, as well as other classical operas in and out of China: The White-Haired Girl, The Red Guards on Honghu Lake, Le Nozze di Figaro, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, L’italiana in Algeri, Rigoletto,La Traviata, Otello, Der Fliegende Hollander, Lohengrin, Carmen, Turandot andTosca, etc. Its artistic quality receives rave acclaims from both the critics and the audience.
Besides operas, the Chorus has participated in many grand vocal works and themed concerts, such as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Mahler’s Symphony No.2 and No.8, and the grand music and dance epic Road to Revive, etc. As NCPA’s resident chorus, it has been to Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan to participate in performances and arts exchange, both to wide acclaims.
The Chorus has cooperated with many well-known artists ever since its establishment, receiving high praises from them all. Plácido Domingo once said it was his honor to cooperate with these talented young artists; Lorin Maazel ever praised it “a chorus full of passion”, so and so forth. On the stage of NCPA, the Chorus has cooperated with such directors as Francesca Zambello, Giancarlo Del Monaco, Chen Xinyi, Cao Qijing, Liao Xianghong, such conductors as Lorin Maazel, Daniel Oren, Lu Jia, Li Xincao, Zhang Guoyong, such vocalists as Plácido Domingo, Leo Nucci, Inva Mula, Brandon Jovanovich, Dai Yuqiang, Wei Song, Warren Mok, He Hui, Dilbèr, Zhang Liping, to name just a few. With more than a hundred performances each year, the Chorus is surely to play an active role in the further development of NCPA.
The NCPA Orchestra demonstrates an abiding commitment to high levels of artistic excellence and prides itself on its long-term collaborations with the finest musicians of our day. Artists associated with the orchestra in the past two years include Lorin Maazel, Christoph Eschenbach, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Gunter Herbig, Gilbert Varga, Lang Lang, Stephen Kovacevich, Leo Nucci, Wang Yuja and Han-Na Chang. Maestro Lorin Maazel praised the orchestra as “a hard-working excellence with great passion” after a series of concerts and the NCPA’s new La Traviata in June 2010.
In its first season of 2011, China NCPA Orchestra gained critical acclaim for its performances in NCPA’s new productions of Tosca (Directed by Giancarlo Del Monaco), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (co-produced with Castleton Festival), Die Fledermaus, and a new composed opera The Chinese Orphan. Apart from that, the orchestra was also deeply involved in NCPA’s 2011 Gustav Mahler Project. Under the batons of maestros including Christoph Eschenbach, Yoel Levi, Jun Maerkl and Chen Zuohuang, the orchestra completed Mahler’s Symphonies No. 1, 2, 3, 8 and 10.
In the season of 2012, China NCPA Orchestra won a highly successful acclaim for two NCPA’s new productions: Der Fliegende Hollander and Lohengrin, both Wagner’s operas were Chinese premiere. It continually collaborates with prominent musicians around the world for concert programs, including Maestro Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yan Pascal Tortelier and the legendary pianist Rudolf Buchbinder.
In addition to its extensive domestic performances, the NCPA Orchestra also received a widespread international praise in 2012. The orchestra was invited by Kissingen Summer Music Festival and Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in July 2012, and kicked off his first German tour in Nürnberg, Hamburg and Berlin under the baton of Christoph Eschenbach and Chen Zuohuang. This was followed by a successful concert at the Sydney Opera House with Maestro Chen Zuohuang in November.
In the season of 2013, the NCPA orchestra presents colorful programs on the commemoration of Wagner, Verdi and Britten, highlighting the Ring without words with 12 principals from Berlin Philharmonic under the baton of Lorin Maazel. NCPA’s new opera productions that the orchestra is involved include Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Otello and Nabucco, which features her second successful collaboration with Placido Domingo.
The NCPA orchestra aims to build up a world-class orchestra with operation and management conforming to global practices while incorporating Chinese characteristics. Devoted to educational and outreach activities, the Orchestra also has presented a series of Weekend Matinee Concerts since its establishment. With specially selected repertoire, performances of high quality and extremely low ticket prices, these concerts have won great acclaim from both audience and critics. The orchestra is now embarking on a similar path with the complete Beethoven symphonies with Maestro Lu Jia.
In Jerusalem and Babylon 587 BC. Nabucco, the king of Babylon, has invaded Jerusalem. The Israelites are denouncing their impending doom. After that, Nabucco takes the city and expels Jews. It is the patriotic feeling of Jews that touches and makes Verdi think about his own country which is still under the invasion of Austria. Verdi puts his emotions into music. And the opera is fulfilled with passionate spirits.