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Le Grand MacabreNew production

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OpernhausFalkenstrasse 1, Zürich, 8008, Switzerland
February 03, 07, 10 18:00, 13, 16, 21, 24 14:00, March 02 (at 19:00 unless shown)
Performers
Zurich Opera
Tito CeccheriniConductor
Tatjana GürbacaDirector
Henrik AhrSet Designer
Barbara DrosihnCostume Designer
Alina AdamskiSopranoAmanda
Sinead O'KellySopranoAmando
Alexander KaimbacherTenorPiet the Pot
Leigh MelroseBaritoneNekrozar
Jens LarsenBassAstradamors
Judith SchmidMezzo-sopranoMescalinaFeb 07, 10, 13, 16, 21, 24 mat, Mar 02
Sarah Alexandra HudarewMezzo-sopranoMescalinaFeb 03
David HansenCountertenorPrince Go-Go
Eir InderhaugSopranoChief of the Gepopo, Venus
Yuriy TsipleBaritoneRuffiack
Dean MurphyBaritoneSchobiack
Richard WalsheBassSchabernack
Martin ZyssetTenorWhite-Party Minister
Oliver WidmerBaritoneBlack-Party Minister
Philharmonia Zürich
Zurich Opera Chorus

Humanity’s last hour has struck. The end of the world is nigh, for Nekrotzar, the terrifying Grand Macabre, rises from the grave and announces the day of anger and the end of time. No wonder everybody’s teeth are chattering in Breughelland – a Sodom and Gomorrha, full of sex and alcohol, ridiculous princes, corrupt ministers and perverse toadies. But in the end, our fears turn out to be unfounded: the saintly boozer Piet vom Fass drinks the loudmouthed Grim Reaper under the table, who then sleeps through the anticipated apocalypse. Breughelland is spared destruction. And everyone wonders: Was Nekrotzar really the terrifying rider of the Last Judgement, or merely a pompous charlatan? Could it be that Death is simply a braggart? György Ligeti’s opera, Le Grand Macabre – which premièred in Stockholm in 1978 – is one of the 20th century’s most potent works of musical theatre. The piece is based on a play by the Belgian dramatist Michel de Ghelderode and is a cryptically coarse, garishly colourful, meticulously composed mixture of mediaeval mystery play, absurd theatre and ludicrous grotesquerie. In a polemical barb against the highbrow and restrictive ideologists of musical Modernism, Ligeti himself described the piece as an “anti-anti-opera.”

This magnificent, cryptic and always slightly vulgar piece of world theatre, whose overture consists of a concert of car horns, will be staged by director Tatjana Gürbaca, who has already displayed her exuberant theatrical imagination in several opera productions at Zurich Opera House. The piece will be conducted by General Music Director Fabio Luisi, who once again demonstrates his predilection for the modernist operatic repertoire. Nekrotzar will be performed by the characterful English baritone Leigh Melrose, who last enthralled Zurich audiences as Ruprecht in Sergei Prokofiev’s opera, Der feurige Engel (The Fiery Angel).

Jens Larsen (Astradamors) and Leigh Melrose (Nekrotzar) © Herwig Prammer
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