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Cancelled: L'OlimpiadeNew production

OpernhausFalkenstrasse 1, Zürich, 8008, Switzerland
Dates/times in Zurich time zone
Sunday 29 November 202020:00
Wednesday 02 December 202020:00
Zurich Opera
Ottavio DantoneConductor
David MartonDirector
Christian FriedländerSet Designer
Tabea BraunCostume Designer
Henning StreckLighting Designer
Carlo AllemanoTenorClistene
Sophie JunkerSopranoArgene
Anna BonitatibusMezzo-sopranoLicida
Vivica GenauxMezzo-sopranoMegacle
Thomas ErlankTenorAminta
Delphine GalouContraltoAlcandro
Claus SpahnDramaturgy
Orchestra La Scintilla Zurich

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi only lived to the age of 26. His period of artistic activity lasted just five years. But the brilliance of his works is vast. The Neapolitan composer was one of the most influential of the 18th century. He was an ingenious melodist, developing the stylistic  aria form of Italian opera seria to allow for more emotional agility, created movement in Baroque operatic plots, and placed precise and intimately-interpreted emotion at the center of his music. His famous comedy La serva padrona became the opera buffa model par excellence. Despite their importance, however, Pergolesi’s operas are heard far too rarely today. In our efforts to include Baroque works that have unjustly fallen into obscurity, we present here L’Olimpiade, an opera unanimously appreciated as Pergolesi’s masterpiece. Pietro Mestastasio’s libretto was the libretto most often set to music in the 18th century. The plot begins with the ancient Olympic Games, in which the hero Megacle is taking part. His goal is to win, but under a false name: the winner’s prize is the hand of Aristea, the king’s daughter, which Megacle wants to win for his best friend. The story is more serious than its sporty title might imply, though. Pergolesi brings together characters struck by fate, afflicted by fatal separation, tied up in family predicaments, and consumed by love affairs. Like no other composer, Pergolesi peers into his characters’ souls with melodic agility. 

David Martin, the Hungarian director recognized for his work in playhouses and opera houses, makes his debut at the Opernhaus Zürich with this production. Marton is known for rethinking theatrical forms, and in spoken word plays he has developed a reputation for associative projects in which he himself becomes a co-author of the work. What interests him about L’Olimpiade are the scattered biographies, alienation of the self, and inner anonymity in which the protagonists are forced to live and love. No conductor alive today has conducted more Pergolesi operas than Ottavio Dantone, who appears at the podium of the Orchestra La Scintilla. The excellent vocal soloist ensemble, anchored by Vivica Genaux and Anna Bonitatibus, couldn’t be more stylistically adept.

November 2020
December 2020
Evening performance
Matinee performance
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