May 15, 2020
Start at 19:00
Verdi said that “with this opera, my artistic career may be said to have begun”. Nabucco’s success helped the 28-year-old composer to overcome the disastrous premieres of his first two operas and a personal tragedy and to permanently establish his reputation as a composer.
This production gives unusual treatment to the biblical story about the defeat of the Jews by the Babylonian King Nabucco and the conflict between the two nations. The story is transferred to the mid-20th century, when the dictatorial regimes in Europe (Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy, and Stalin in the USSR) severely persecuted and repressed the Jewish people.
The action is set at a metro station, where people come to hide from hostilities, bombing and the cruelty of the outside world. But the place gives an ambivalent impression: on the one hand it is safe, while on the other hand the closed space makes the characters’ inner and outward conflict still more piercing and tragic.
Music Director and Conductor – Evgeny Samoilov
May 17, 2020
Start at 19:00
Rachmaninoff’s Aleko (1892) and Leoncavallo’s Zingari (1912) are opera-doubles, based on Pushkin’s poem Tsygany (1824). The plot of Zingari is a typical “romantic cocktail” of the first half of the 19th century: a lonely hero who abandons civilization, a “different”, “wild” nation that is not bound by the civilization conventionalities, and, of course,a fatal entanglement of love and death.There are philosophical problems behind this, primarily the problem of the limits of liberty.
Written in two weeks as an exam assignment at the Moscow Conservatory, Aleko is one of Rachmaninoff’s first masterpieces and a very popular one. Drama scenes (the central: scene at the cradle, and Aleko’s cavatina) are surrounded by marvelous, colourful choral episodes (“Oriental” songs and Gypsy dances).
Conductor Jan Latham-Koenig
Conductor Evgeny Samoilov