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Girl with a Pearl EarringWorld premiere

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OpernhausFalkenstrasse 1, Zürich, 8008, Switzerland
2020 May 24 19:00, May 28 20:00, June 01 14:00, June 07 19:30, June 14 14:00, June 17 19:30, June 19 19:00
Programme
Wirth, StefanGirl with a Pearl Earring
Performers
Zurich Opera
Peter RundelConductor
Ted HuffmanDirector
Andrew LiebermanSet Designer
Annemarie WoodsCostume Designer
Lauren SnoufferSopranoGriet
Thomas HampsonBaritoneJan Vermeer
Laura AikinSopranoCatharina Vermeer
Dame Felicity PalmerMezzo-sopranoMaria Thins
Dean MurphyBaritonePieter
Irène FriedliSopranoTanneke
Iain MilneTenorVan Ruijven
Helena RaskerMezzo-sopranoGriet‘s Mother
Lisa TatinSopranoChild engine
Franck EvinLighting Designer
Sam PinkletonChoreography
Fabio DietscheDramaturgy
Philharmonia Zürich

With a pearl gleaming at her ear, the girl’s gaze is gentle and haunting. It seems as if she has just turned in surprise towards the artist who is portraying her – the painter Jan Vermeer. Girl with a Pearl Earring, the famous portrait study by the Dutch master, is a snapshot of mysterious beauty. In her eponymous novel, bestselling American author Tracy Chevalier brought the painting to life, inventing a gripping story about the artist Vermeer and his muse: Griet, daughter of an impoverished family in Delft, is employed in Jan Vermeer’s household as a servant girl. Forced to work hard and bullied by the Vermeer children, when cleaning the artist’s studio she is the only one who gains an insight into the mystery of the artist’s colours, light and perspectives. When Vermeer’s patron, the lecher Pieter van Ruijven, orders a painting of the maid as a portrait study, Griet starts spending more and more time alone with the artist in his studio. Until Vermeer’s wife notices the servant girl wearing her pearl earring…

Zurich Opera House has commissioned the Swiss composer Stefan Wirth to create a work of musical theatre based on the literary model, which has already been successfully adapted for the cinema. The composer, who lives in Zurich, is one of the great talents of the younger generation. He has experience in the theatre, and his writing is indebted to a modern genre of musical drama that is both introspective and sensual. Apart from his compositional oeuvre, Wirth has also made a name for himself as a pianist and virtuoso interpreter of contemporary works, and has collaborated as a theatre musician with directors such as Christoph Marthaler and Frank Castorf. The production’s cast are also a guarantee of the high quality of this première project: Thomas Hampson will return to Zurich Opera House in the role of Vermeer, and the young American Lauren Snouffer will give her début as Griet. Laura Aikin and Felicity Palmer, the grande dame of opera, can respectively be heard as Catharina Vermeer and her mother. Ted Huffman, who thrilled Zurich audiences with his interpretation of Madama Butterfly, will be directing.

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