Our privacy policy was last updated on Friday 31 January 2020View it hereDismiss
Sign in
Bachtrack logo
What's on
Young artists

Video on demand: La JuiveNew production

Recorded at Grand Théâtre de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland
Free to view
Dates/times in your browser's time zone
On demand until Wednesday 07 June 2023 23:59
Grand Théâtre de Genève
Marc MinkowskiConductor
David AldenDirector
Gideon DaveySet Designer
Jon MorrellCostume Designer
D.M. WoodLighting Designer
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Chorus of the Grand Théâtre de Genève
Ruzan MantashyanSopranoRachel
John OsbornTenorÉléazar
Ioan HoteaTenorPrince Léopold
Elena TsallagovaSopranoPrincess Eudoxie
Dmitry UlyanovBassCardinal Brogni
Leon KošavićBaritoneRuggiero, Albert

Continuing our exploration of French grand opera, which began with Les Huguenots, we present another masterpiece of this fascinating and questionable genre, currently enjoying quite the comeback in the opera world: La Juive, composed in 1835 by Fromental Halévy. Although somewhat forgotten today, this Parisian composer was one of the great names in Romantic music and taught composition to the young man who later became his son-in-law, Georges Bizet. La Juive was not only Halévy’s first great success, but also arguably the grandest of all grand operas, with its colossal spectacle and final execution scene, the stuff of operatic legend. Among his many admirers, one is surprised to find Richard Wagner, who wrote an enthusiastic review of Halévy’s operas. For, beneath its sumptuous stage finery, obviously intended for the greater glory of the mindless entertainment of the Parisian bourgeoisie, La Juive deals with very serious themes: religious intolerance, imperialism, fanaticism. Its fictional plot, modelled on Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, is a serious and tragic description of Jewish life in Europe threatened by Catholic fanaticism and forced to migrate constantly. The goldsmith Éléazar and his daughter, the beautiful Rachel, take in a young man who introduces himself as Samuel, but the truth and the price of love will only too soon become clear to the protagonists. Shock! Horror! Samuel is none other than Prince Leopold, not only a Christian but also engaged to Princess Eudoxie. And above all, is Rachel really Éléazar’s daughter, as he would lead us to believe?

American director David Alden, a star in the opera world since the days of Peter Jonas at the Bayerische Staatsoper and the English National Opera, is fascinated by the sumptuous and entertaining structure of French grand opera. His sense of irony and black comedy will serve him well in dealing with the harsh and disturbing plot of La Juive, as it did recently in his production of Les Huguenots at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Is this an enlightened attempt, in an age of French political liberalism, to confront European antisemitism, or a continuation of the dubious themes of The Merchant of Venice or Nathan the Wise? At David Alden’s side to rekindle this complicated, exciting and dangerous operatic artefact, Marc Minkowski seizes his baton as the maestro of grand opera. In the legendary role of Éléazar, sung in the past by the greatest tenors from Caruso to Carreras, and for the first time in his career, John Osborn, an impressive Raoul in our Huguenots of 2020, and in the title role of Rachel, the Jewess, is Ruzan Mantashyan, unforgettable Natasha from War and Peace in 2021.