All Emerging Pictures Opera in Cinema productions are presented in stunning High Definition, 5.1 surround sound, and subtitled in English.
Sunday January 6th - 2:00p
Tuesday January 8th - 7:00p
Conducted by Antonio Pappano
Directed by Francesca Zambello
Starring Anna Caterina Antonacci and Jonas Kaufmann
Sung in French
2 hrs 30 mins plus two intermissions
Anna Caterina Antonacci is “mesmerizing” and Jonas Kaufmann is “the finest
Jose to be heard for ages,” in Carmen. (Tim Ashley, The Guardian) This Royal
Opera production by director Francesca Zambello is a darkly passionate and
sumptuously exotic reading of one of the world’s favorite operas. Under the
baton of Music Director Antonio Pappano, Bizet’s irresistible score drives
the tragedy forward, in this powerful landmark staging of a musical masterpiece.
Sunday January 20th - 2:00p
Tuesday January 22nd - 7:00p
Conducted by Daniel Barenboim
Directed by Claus Guth
Starring Rene Pape,Jonas Kaufmann, and Annette Dasch
Sung in German 4 hrs 35 mins plus two intermissions
It is the story of a knight, the prince of Christianity, who comes to the rescue of the mild Elsa of Brabant, to save her from a dishonorable accusation of fratricide. The disappearance of Gottfried, Elsa’s brother, is actually the work of Ortrud the witch, who belongs to the world of the dark divinities of ancient Germany. Lohengrin asks for Elsa’s hand in marraige, but anonymously: as the custodian of the Holy Grail, he cannot say who he is and where he comes from. However, Elsa cannot control her doubt and curiosity, and demands to know who he is. He gives in but is forced to leave forever, this time in a boat pulled by a dove in flight. Barenboim will be conducting this first opera in which Wagner wove a dense-knit mesh of symbolic musical motifs. The production is staged by director Claus Guth, who aroused no end of admiration last Season with Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten.
Act I - A field by the banks of the river Scheldt in Antwerp King Heinrich der Vogler has come to Brabant and asks Friedrich von Telramund why the Brabantians have no leader and are fighting amongst themselves. Telramund himself takes over the dukedom, claiming that upon the Duke of Brabant’s death, his daughter Elsa had murdered her brother and heir to the tile Gottfried, in order to gain power for herself. For this reason Telramund preferred to marry Ortrud instead, who descends from a pagan race. The king then summons Elsa to defend herself and she recalls a dream of a knight sent by God, who will prove her innocence and save her, and then become her husband and sovereign. The king decides to settle the matter in combat and after the trumpet blasts have been repeated, a knight, Lohengrin, magically appears in a boat drawn by a swan. When he has stepped ashore, he makes Elsa his wife on the one condition that she never asks his name or where he comes from. Lohengrin defeats Telramund and proclaims the innocence of his bride.
Act II - The fortress in Antwerp. Telramund and Ortrud sit outside the castle, where festivities are being held in honor of Elsa and Lohengrin. Telramund is distraught and blames his wife for the cause of his ruin. Ortrud retorts that Lohengrin won the duel using magic powers. Ortrud convinces Telramund to work out a plan of vengeance. When Elsa appears on the balcony, Telramund hides, and Ortrud, pretending to be sorrowful, succeeds in winning Elsa’s friendship and pity. She also attempts to sow suspicions in Elsa’s mind about the knight sent by God. In a fury, Telramund enters the castle and accuses the knight of sorcery, demanding him to declare publicly his name and lineage. Lohengrin says he owes this answer only to Elsa. Although Elsa is torn by doubt, she reiterates her trust in her savior and the bridal couple is led into the church.
Act III - The bridal chamber; the field on the banks of the Scheldt. After
the wedding, Elsa and Lohengrin declare their love, until Elsa’s anxiety
and uncertainty compel her to try and unravel the mystery surrounding Lohengrin.
Just when Elsa breaks her vow not to ask him, Telramund and four noblemen
burst into the room. Lohengrin slays Telramund. Aware by now that he has
lost Elsa, Lohengrin tells her he will deliver his answer in public. The
next morning, on the banks of the Scheldt, the king receives the Brabantians
who are leaving for the war. Lohengrin appears, announcing that he has killed
Telramund in legitimate defence and reveals his identity. He is Lohengrin,
son of Parsifal, King of the Grail. Sent out to combat evil, he is protected
by a divine power, which vanishes however if he discloses his name. Lohengrin
bids farewell to Elsa and turns to the swan that has reappeared to take the
knight back. Then, when Ortrud reveals that she turned Elsa’s brother Gottfried
into a swan, Lohengrin kneels in prayer. A dove descends onto the boat, the
swan vanishes into the water and re-emerges as Gottfried. Ortrud falls lifelessly
to the ground and while Lohengrin floats away on the boat, Elsa faints into
the arms of her brother.
Sunday January 27th - 2:00p
Tuesday January 29th - 7:00p
Conducted by Mark Elder
Directed by John Copley
Starring Rolando Villazon, Miaja Kovalevska and Stefania Dovhan
Sung in Italian 2 hrs 45 mins including two intermissions
Puccini no doubt drew on his own student escapades – which anticipated his later reputation as a legendary bon viveur – for the robust humor of the comic scenes. And in his depiction of the tender and ultimately tragic love between Mimì (Maija Kovalevska) and Rodolfo (Rolando Villazón) Puccini achieved an immediacy, warmth and humanity that have rarely been equaled.
Act 1- Paris, 1830. In the four bohemians’ garret. Marcello, a painter, and the poet Rodolfo try to keep warm by burning the manuscript of Rodolfo’s latest drama. Colline, the philosopher, enters with Schaunard, the musician of the group, who arrives with food, wine and cigars. As the others indulge in eating and drinking, Schaunard interrupts, telling them that they must save the food for the days ahead, and that he will treat them to dinner tonight as a celebration of his fortune at nearby Cafe Momus. The friends are interrupted by the landlord Benoît, who arrives to collect the rent. They flatter and ply him with wine, and urge him to tell them of his amorous adventures, then throw him out in mock indignation. Everyone departs for a night out, but Rodolfo remains alone, promising to join his friends soon. There is a knock at the door and it is Mimì, the neighbor who lives in another room in the building, asking for matches to light her candle. When she feels suddenly faint, Rodolfo helps her to a chair and offers her a glass of wine. Mimì feels better and turns to leave, but she realizes that she has lost her key. They both search for the key and their candles go out forcing the pair to stumble in the dark. Rodolfo, eager to spend time with the girl, takes her cold hand and tells her of his life as a poet, and then asks her to tell him more about her life. The girl describes her simple life as an embroiderer. Impatiently, the waiting friends call Rodolfo. He answers and turns to see Mimì bathed in moonlight. They realize that they have fallen in love and Mimì decides to accompany him to the Cafe Momus. As they leave, they sing of their newfound love.
Act II - Amid Parisian vendors, and the clamoring children of the streets eager to see toys, Rodolfo buys Mimì a bonnet from a vendor, and the friends enter the Cafe Momus. Musetta, formerly Marcello’s sweetheart, ostentatiously arrives with her rich government minister admirer, Alcindoro, of whom she is clearly tired. She hopes to reclaim Marcello’s attention by singing a provocative song. The ploy works; at the same time, Mimì recognizes that Musetta truly loves Marcello. To be rid of Alcindoro for a bit, Musetta tricks him into leaving, and she and Marcello fall rapturously into each other’s arms. She charges the entire bill to Alcindoro and as he dumbfoundedly returns, everyone has already departed and the waiter hands him the bill.
Act III - It is late February and peddlers pass through the barriers to enter the city. Mimì appears, coughing violently. She tries to find Marcello, currently living and painting in a little tavern with Musetta. She tells him of her hard life with Rodolfo, and of his terrible jealousy. Marcello tells her that Rodolfo is asleep inside, and overhears their conversation. Rodolfo wakes up and comes out looking for Marcello, thinking that Mimì has left. Mimì is hiding and overhears Rodolfo first telling Marcello that he left her because of her coquettishness, but finally confesses that his jealousy is an act. He breaks down and admits that he fears she is dying and her ill health will only worsen in their poverty. Mimì’s weeping and coughing reveal her presence, and Rodolfo hurries to her. While Marcello runs back into the tavern when he hears Musetta’s raucous laughter, Mimì tells Rodolfo that she is leaving him, and asks that they separate amicably. They compromise and agree to remain together until the spring, as their love for one another is too strong. Meanwhile, Marcello and Musetta quarrel fiercely and separate.
Act IV - Back in the garret some
months later. Marcello and Rodolfo lament that their girlfriends have left
them and found wealthy lovers. Schaunard and Colline arrive with a very frugal
dinner and all pretend they are at a plentiful banquet, dancing and singing,
and engage in a mock duel. Musetta suddenly appears; and tells them that Mimì
is severely weakened by her illness, and begs to bring her to Rodolfo. Mimì,
haggard and pale, is assisted onto a bed. Musetta and Marcello and Colline
leave to sell their belongings in order to buy medicine, leaving Mimì and Rodolfo
some time together. Mimì tells Rodolfo that her love for him is her whole life
and to her delight, Rodolfo presents her with the bonnet he bought her, which
he has kept as a souvenir of their love. They remember their first meeting
and their past happiness and suddenly, Mimì is overwhelmed by a coughing fit.
The others return, with gifts to warm Mimì’s hands and some medicine. As Musetta
prays, Mimì dies quietly. When Schaunard realizes that Mimì has died, Rodolfo
rushes to her bed, calling her name and weeping helplessly.
Sunday February 10th - 2:00p
Tuesday February 12th - 7:00p
Conducted by Daniele Gatti
Directed by Stéphane Braunschweig
Starring Ferruccio Furlanetto, Stuart Neill, Dalibor Jenis, Anatolij Kotscherga, Fiorenza Cedolins and Dolora Zajick
Sung in Italian with English subtitles
3 hrs 22 mins plus two intermissions
Don Carlo is possibly the most intense, deep, nuanced, rich, and masterful work of the mature Giuseppe Verdi. It is also the Verdi opera that exists in the most number of versions. The version presented here is the 1884 four-act version that Verdi reduced and changed into Italian from the original 1867 five-act version in French. The story is based on conflicts in the life of Carlos, Prince of Asturias, after his betrothed Elisabeth of Valois married his father, Philip II of Spain, as part of the peace treaty ending the Italian War of 1551-1559 between the Houses of Habsburg and Valois.
Act 1 Scene 1: The monastery of Saint-Just in Spain: While monks pray for the soul of the Emperor Charles V, his grandson Don Carlo laments that the woman he loves, Elisabeth, is now married to his father. Carlo’s friend, the Marquis of Posa, enters. He has come from the oppressed land of Flanders and wants Don Carlo’s help. Meanwhile, King Philip and his new wife, enter to do homage at Charles V’s tomb.
Scene 2: A garden near Saint-Just: Princess Eboli sings about a Moorish King and his neglected wife. Posa delivers a secret note to Elisabeth from Don Carlo; Meanwhile, Eboli is hopeful that it is she that Carlo loves. Elisabeth resists Carlo’s declaration because they are now mother and son. Meanwhile, the King places him trust in Posa.
Act 2 Scene 1: the Queen’s garden: Don Carlo has a note suggesting a meeting in the garden, which he thinks is from Elisabeth, but is actually from Eboli, to whom he mistakenly declares his love. Eboli realizes Carlo thinks she is the Queen; Carlo is horrified that she knows his secret. Eboli threatens to tell the King that Elisabeth and Carlo are lovers. Carlo prevents Posa from stabbing her, and Posa and Carlo reaffirm their friendship.
Scene 2: The Cathedral of Valladolid: The people rejoice at the coming coronation of the King and Queen. Don Carlo brings in Flemish deputies, who plead with the King for their country’s freedom. The King, supported by the monks, orders the deputies’ arrest. Carlo draws his sword against the King, but Posa persuades Carlo to surrender.
Act 3 Scene 1: King Philip’s study: Alone, the King laments his situation. The Grand Inquisitor arrives. The King realizes that he is powerless against the Church. When Elisabeth enters, Philip accuses her of adultery. Eboli confesses that she loved Carlo and he rejected her, but, worse, she has also been the mistress of the King. She resolves to repent and to try to save Carlo from the Inquisition.
Scene 2: A prison: Don Carlo is imprisoned. Posa tells him he will be saved but that Posa himself was incriminated. He is content to die if his friend can save Flanders and rule a happier Spain. Elisabeth, Eboli and the Grand Inquisitor arrive, while a crowd demands Carlo’s release and threatens the King. In the chaos, Eboli escapes with Carlo.
Act 4: The monastery of Saint-Just: Elisabeth
is committed to help Don Carlo on his way to fulfill his destiny in Flanders,
but she herself longs only for death. Carlo appears and they say a final farewell.
Philip and the Grand Inquisitor enter: Carlo, calling on God, draws his sword
to defend himself against the Inquisitor’s guards, when, from the tomb of Charles
V, the Monk emerges to lead Carlo away into the safety of the monastery. Philip
and the Inquisitor are convinced that it is Charles V himself.
Sunday March 17th - 2:00p
Tuesday March 19th - 7:00p
Conducted by Daniel Harding
Directed by Mario Martone
Starring Luciana D’Intino & José Cura
Sung in Italian with English subtitles
2 hrs 55 mins plus one intermission
Opera fans’ favorite double billing, Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, are two brief operas that pack a big punch. The Wall Street Journal raves, “It wasn’t just good—it was magnificent.” As the betrayed clown Canio, tenor José Cura has “a thrilling voice and charisma to burn…a supercharged performer.” (The Telegraph) Don’t miss this world-class production from Teatro alla Scala.
Cavalleria rusticana - It is Easter morning in a small Sicilian village. Santuzza, Turiddu’s lover, suspects that he is striking up an affair with his old flame, Lola – despite the fact that Lola has married the well-off teamster Alfio. Santuzza begs Turiddu’s mother, Lucia, to tell her where her son is. Mamma Lucia guesses the truth about her son’s adultry, and brings Santuzza into her home as the Easter parade begins. The square is filled with townsfolk. Santuzza cannot attend Mass – she was excommunicated for fornicating with Turridu, which scandalized her village. The procession heads into the church, including Mamma Lucia, who senses that something bad will happen. Alone, Santuzza sees Turiddu coming and confronts him about his betrayal. Lola arrives, interrupting their quarrel to mock Santuzza about her excommunication before heading into Mass. The lovers continue their argument, which climaxes when Santuzza curses Turiddu. When Alfio arrives, Santuzza, in a frenzy, reveals to him the liaison between his wife and Turiddu. Alfio swears to avenge his honor. Once Mass is over, Turiddu offers a glass of wine to Alfio, who refuses, saying it may be poisoned. Turiddu pours the glass of wine on the ground, then embraces Alfio and bites his right ear – an ancient Sicilian rite, signifying a challenge to a duel. Alfio accepts. The men leave the village to duel. It is over quickly. From the streets an indistinct murmur is heard, and then a wild cry from a woman rushing into the square: “Turiddu has been killed!”
Prologue - Tonio asks the audience to meditate on the nature of drama – how much is play-acted, and how much is actually real?
Act I - A group of travelling players arrives in a new town, beating their drum and shouting that their performance will begin an hour before sunset. Tonio, the company’s hunchback servant, tries to flirt with Nedda. Her jealous husband Canio slaps him, and Tonio vows to get even. By herself, Nedda muses uneasily on the glint of jealousy in Canio’s eyes, almost as if her husband had read her heart. She notices Tonio spying on her and rebukes him, but Tonio declares his love again. Nedda strikes him and threatens to tell Canio. Tonio mutters that she will pay for this. Silvio, Nedda’s lover, appears. He convinces her to run away with him after the evening’s performance. Tonio has overheard the whole thing, and rushes to bring Canio to the scene. Canio flings himself at his wife, but does not get a glimpse of her lover’s face as he runs away. Canio threatens to kill Nedda, but Peppe begs him to stop, as the villagers are coming out of the church and are on their way to the performance. The actors prepare for the show, despite the outrageous backstage drama that is unfolding. Alone, Canio mourns his fate.
Act II - The audience – including the still-unidentified Silvio – assembles
festively in front of the tent stage. The performance begins, with Peppe (Harlequin),
Nedda (Columbine), Tonio (Taddeo) and Canio (Pagliaccio) playing the lead roles.
Columbine is listening enraptured to the serenade which Harlequin sings to
her from outside her window, but Taddeo enters and declares his love. When
rejected he makes heavily ironic comments on the lady’s chastity. Harlequin
climbs through the window and sits down for an intimate supper with Columbine
after handing her a sleeping potion to give to her husband. The unexpected
arrival of Pagliaccio is announced by Taddeo, who looks shaken. The dramatic
situation of the afternoon seems to repeat itself in theatrical pretense. Columbine
quickly sends off Harlequin with the same promise of love made to Silvio. Her
words from the script ring with tremendous force in Canio’s breast. For a few
moments he sticks to be play, but identifies himself ever more intensely with
the role of the cuckolded Clown, until he finally lives the part utterly. With
mounting violence he hammers out the question written in the script. Nedda-
Columbine guesses the ambiguity of Canio’s accents, while the audience follows
the performance with bated breath, still not suspecting the real drama enacted
before their eyes. When Columbine, still according to the play, implores: “Pagliaccio,
Pagliaccio!” Canio suddenly unleashes all the wrath of his desperation (“No,
a Clown I am not”). By now beyond all theatrical convention, he orders the
woman to confess her lover’s name. The audience, too, has begun to sense that
something unusual is happening on stage. Beside himself, Canio screams for
the last time “His name, his name!” and stabs Nedda, who drops on her knees
calling out Silvio’s name. Silvio rushes in dismay onto the stage but Canio
plunges the same blade into his heart. Tonio turns towards the audience and
cynically proclaims: “The comedy is over!”
Sunday March 24th - 2:00p
Tuesday March 26th - 7:00p
Conducted by Antonio Pappano
Directed by Duncan Macfarland
Starring Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel & Lukas Jakobski
Sung in Italian with subtitles in English
2 hrs 11 mins plus two intermissions
Powerful music, a gripping story and a tragic end: Puccini’s ever-popular Tosca performed at the Royal Opera House with a fabulous cast. Among the star singers in this revival are Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel. The Royal Opera Chorus and The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House are under the baton of Antonio Pappano, Music Director of the Royal Opera for a score that includes such great set pieces as the Act I ‘Te Deum’ and the arias ‘Vissi d’arte’ and ‘E lucevan le stelle’. Jonathan Kent’s detailed production draws to the full on the historical backdrop of Rome in 1800, a political world of control and suspicion, beautifully evoked in Paul Brown’s lavish designs. The pageantry of church ritual, the darkness of a brooding study with its hidden torture chamber and the false optimism of the light of a Roman dawn – all throw into relief the love of the beautiful diva Tosca, the idealism of her lover Cavaradossi and the deadly, destructive obsession of the malevolent Chief of Police, Scarpia. Drama, passion and fabulous music – Tosca is one of opera’s great nights out.
Act 1 – in the Attavanti chapel, in the church of Sant’ Andrea della Valle Escaped political prisoner Angelotti rushes into the church to hide. Soon, painter and fellow dissident Mario Cavaradossi arrives to work on a new portrait of Mary Magdalene, inspired by the visage of Angelotti’s sister, the Marchesa Attavanti, who Mario has seen but doesn’t know personally. He holds a miniature of the singer Floria Tosca, and compares the painting’s light features with Tosca’s dark ones. Angelotti emerges, but Mario urges him to hide again as they hear Tosca approaching. Tosca, always jealous, questions her lover Mario, prays, and reminds him of their planned meeting at his villa that night. Tosca then recognizes the face in the picture – Angelotti’s sister! She bursts with newfound jealousy, but Mario quells her suspicions. After she leaves, Angelotti emerges again – but cannon fire is heard, indicating that Angelotti’s escape has been discovered. The two men rush to Mario’s villa. The Sacristan enters with choir boys excited about their performance in a Te Deum that day. They are hushed when the chief of the secret police Baron Scarpia enters in search of Angelotti. Tosca re-enters, hoping to see Mario again, but is met by Scarpia, who produces a fan bearing the Attavanti crest – deepening her suspicions that her lover has been unfaithful. Tosca storms off, and Scarpia sends his men to follow her. He vows that he will have the singer in his power.
Act 2 – The Farnese Palace Scarpia anticipates the joy he will have when Tosca is his. The spy Spoletta returns. He was unable to find Angelotti, so he brought in Mario for interrogation. Tosca is heard singing at a gala downstairs. She enters the room just as Mario is hauled off to the torture chamber, where the secret police hope to break his silence. Mario’s screams and Scarpia’s questioning break down Tosca’s resolve, and she reveals where Angelotti is hiding. Mario is carried in, and, realizing that Tosca has betrayed Angelotti, turns on her. Another one of Scarpia’s men enter and reports (erroneously) that Napoleon has won the Battle of Marengo – a defeat for Scarpia’s side. Mario exclaims in celebration, and is taken to prison. Scarpia resumes his supper, and suggests to Tosca that she should give over her body to Scarpia in exchange for her lover’s life. Tosca pushes him away as she protests her fate to God. Scarpia makes another move, but they are interrupted by Spoletta – Angelotti, facing capture, has killed himself. Tosca agrees to Scarpia’s proposition. He then seemingly orders a mock execution for Mario – “a la Palmieri,” he tells Spoletta, who responds knowingly and exits. As soon as Scarpia draws up a safe-conduct for the lovers, Tosca stabs him with a knife, killing him. She prays for him, wrenches the document from his hands, and leaves.
Act 3 – At the Castel Sant’Angelo Mario awaits execution. He tries
to bribe a guard to give Tosca a farewell note, but soon Tosca appears, and
gives him the good news. They revel in their newfound freedom. Tosca then gives
Mario an acting lesson on how to die convincingly before the firing squad.
The firing squad arrives, shoots Mario, and departs. Tosca urges Mario to get
up, and to hurry. When he doesn’t move, she realizes that she has been deceived
by Scarpia – the bullets were real. Spoletta rushes in to arrest Tosca for
the murder of Scarpia, but Tosca cries out that she will meet Scarpia before
God, and leaps to her death.
Sunday April 14th - 2:00p
Tuesday April 16th - 7:00p
Conducted by Robin Ticciati
Directed by Kasper Holten
Starring Simon Keenlyside,Krassimira Stoyanova, Elena Maximova, and Pavol Breslik
Sung in Russian 3 hrs including one intermission
An opera full of poignancy and exquisite sensitivity to the nuances of growing up and wrestling to understand your emotions, Eugene Onegin is an inspiring vehicle for Kasper Holten’s first production for The Royal Opera. Working with the Danish set designer Mia Stensgaard, whose design hallmark is clean, strong images ripe with emotion, and fielding a brilliant cast (including Simon Keenlyside in the title role), Holten will provide a fresh reading of this classic opera. “Lyrical Scenes” was Tchaikovsky’s description of Eugene Onegin: his tender exploration of a young girl’s awakening passion, her rejection by the aloof Onegin and her ultimate choice of honor over true love is far more intimate in tone than the archetypal grand Russian opera. Holten himself describes the opera as “full of poetry and melancholy, encapsulating the fragile and turbulent emotions of youth, self-realization and finally the yearning to go back and undo what cannot be undone.”
Act I Scene 1: The garden of the Larin country estate Madame Larina and nurse Filippyevna are sitting outside in the garden when they hear Madame Larina’s two daughters, Tatyana and her younger sister Olga, singing a love song. Madame Larina is reminded of her own story of marraige. Tatyana and Olga watch as a group of peasants celebrate the harvest with songs and dances. Tatyana, shy and introverted, is absorbed in reading a romantic novel, while her carefree sister Olga joins in on the celebrations. Olga’s fiancé Lensky, a young poet, and his friend, a dandy visiting from St. Petersburg, Eugene Onegin, enter and Lensky introduces Onegin to the Larin family. Tatyana is immediately and strongly attracted to Onegin. He tells Tatyana of his boredom in the country and his recent inheritance of his uncle’s estate, and asks if she ever tires of her bucolic life.
Scene 2: Tatyana’s room Tatyana, restless and unable to sleep, begs her nurse Filippyevna to tell her about her youth and early marriage. Tatyana confesses that she is in love. Left alone, Tatyana stays up the entire night pouring out her heart and true feelings in a letter to Onegin. With fear and shame, she tells him that she is desperately in love with him and pleads for his understanding. When day breaks, Tatyana begs Filippyevna to deliver the letter to Onegin.
Scene 3: As servant girls pick fruit and sing while they work, Tatyana waits anxiously for Onegin’s arrival and his reaction to the letter. Onegin enters to see her and he explains, without emotion, that is unsuited to marriage and would tire quickly of it. He can only offer her brotherly affection and warns Tatyana to be less emotionally open in future, advising that another man might fail to respect her innocence. Tatyana is crushed and unable to reply.
Act II Scene 1: The ballroom of the Larin house A party is being given in honor of Tatyana for her birthday. As young couples rejoice in the festivities and waltz across the floor, older guests sit watching and gossiping. Onegin is dancing with Tatyana but quickly grows bored and irritated with the gossiping provincial guests, and with Lensky for persuading him to come in the first place. He decides to make the party more interesting by dancing and flirting with the always outgoing Olga, who gladly responds. Lensky is astounded and becomes extremely jealous. He confronts Olga but she cannot see that she has done anything wrong and tells Lensky not to be ridiculous. Onegin asks Olga to dance with him again and she agrees, as “punishment” for Lensky’s jealousy, at which point the quarrel between the two men becomes more intense. Lensky renounces his friendship with Onegin in front of all the guests, and challenges him to a duel, which Onegin must accept.
Scene 2: On the banks of a stream, early morning Lensky and his second, Zaretsky await Onegin. While Lensky reflects on his life, his fear of death and his love for Olga, Onegin arrives with his manservant Guillot. Both Lensky and Onegin are reluctant to go ahead with the duel, reflecting on the senselessness of their rashness. But pride and impulse prevail and Lensky is fatally killed.
Act III: Several years have passed, a
magnificent ball is being held at a grandiose palace in St. Petersburg. In
this time, Onegin has traveled extensively all over the world in hopes to lift
his boredom and give meaning to his life. He is bitter that his unsuccessful
search has led him to yet another monotonous social gathering. Suddenly, he
recognizes Tatyana across the room, but she has changed entirely. She is no
longer the shy girl he once knew, but rather a sumptuously and elegantly dressed
aristocratic beauty, walking with poise and dignity. Onegin quickly learns
that Tatyana is Prince Gremin’s wife. Tatyana, in turn, is overwhelmed with
emotion when she recognizes Onegin. Gremin tells Onegin about his great happiness
and love for Tatyana, and re-introduces Onegin to his wife. Onegin realizes
that he is in love with Tatyana and determines to write to her. In the palace,
Tatyana has received Onegin’s passionate letter, which has reminded her of
the passion and ultimate heartbreak she suffered for him as a young girl. Onegin
enters and falls at her feet. But Tatyana remains controlled. She asks why
Onegin is pursuing her now. Is it because of her social position? Onegin denies
any ulterior motivation and his pleas grow ardent. Tatyana, moved to tears,
reflects how near they once could have lived in happiness and united, but determines
that he could only bring her grief. Although she still loves Onegin, Tatyana
asserts that their union can never be realized, as she is now married, and
determined to remain faithful to her husband despite her true feelings. Finding
true strength, Tatyana bids him farewell forever, leaving him alone and in
Sunday May 12th - 2:00p
Tuesday May 14th - 7:00p
Conducted by Nicola Luisotti
Directed by Daniele Abbado
Starring Plácido Domingo
Sung in Italian
2 hrs 50 mins including one intermission
Plácido Domingo, one of the most celebrated talents of our time, is making a major role debut. This is a rare chance to see a genre-defining masterwork, containing some of the greatest choral music ever written, along with some wonderful arias and ensembles. This new production of Nabucco is unmissable. Domingo takes another thrilling step into the baritone repertory following his triumphs as Simon Boccanegra, as he sings the title role of Nabucco for the first time. He is joined by an exciting young cast including Ukranian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska as the power-hungry priestess Abigaille. Acclaimed theatre and opera director Daniele Abbado makes his Royal Opera debut directing this coproduction with La Scala, Milan. The plot is based on the biblical story of King Nebuchadnezzar (Nabucco), and focuses on his imprisonment of the Hebrews, his struggle against his unscrupulous daughter, Abigaille, his divine punishment and final salvation. Verdi’s rich score offers melody, power and raw drama on a scale that does full justice to the opera’s epic themes of nationhood, faith, love and redemption and calls upon the full might of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and Royal Opera Chorus.
The Biblically based story of “Nabucco” (Nebuchadnezzar in English) follows the plight of the Jews as they are assaulted, conquered and exiled from their homeland by Babylon’s king: Nabucco. The Babylonian army led by King Nabucco is at the gates of Jerusalem, the defeat of the Jews imminent. Nabucco’s younger daughter, Fenena, while held a hostage of the Jews, has fallen in love with her jailer, Ismaele. Her older sister Abigaille, also in love with Ismaele from his time in Babylon as a diplomatic envoy, enters in disguise with Babylonian guards, only to learn that Fenena and Ismaele are preparing to escape. Unless Ismaele becomes her lover, Abigaille threatens to expose them.
Back in the Babylonia palace after the defeat and enslavement of the Israelites, Abigaille finds out that she was adopted by Nabucco, and that his real daughter, Fenena, who converted to Judaism to placate the conquered people, has been named regent. Nabucco declares himself a god and for this heresy he is struck, though not killed, by a lightning bolt. Abigaille takes advantage of his stunned condition to seize the crown and issue a death decree for all Jews, including her recently converted sister.
Nabucco regains his senses just in time to see Fenena being led as a sacrifice
to the altar of the pagan god Baal. He prays to the god of the Jews, leads
a revolt against Abigaille, frees the Jews and promises to build them a temple
bigger than the one he ordered destroyed in his victory over Jerusalem. Abigaille
takes poison, seeks forgiveness and dies. The high priest Zaccaria proclaims
Nabucco the king of the world as the multitude rejoices. Fenena and Isamele
are now free to marry.