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Jonas Kaufmann © Dietmar Scholz - Scholzshootspeople

Giordano Andrea Chénier

From 30 November TO 09 December 2022
Wiener Staatsoper - Wien
Program

Giordano : Andrea Chénier

Cast
  • Conductor
    Francesco Lanzillotta
  • Director
    Otto Schenk
  • Performers
    Andrea Chénier: Jonas Kaufmann
    Maddalena di Coigny: Maria Agresta
    Carlo Gérard: Carlos Álvarez
  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Wiener Staatsoper - Wien Location Opernring 2 - 1010 Wien Autriche

  • Venue's Capacity: 1709

The Vienna State Opéra is much more than just a local institution; it is a vital part of the city's identity and a national landmark.

As of the 17th century, the Hapsburgs lavishly patronized the opéra. Family members Ferdinand III and Leopold I composed for the théâtre, while Charles VI tried his hand at conducting the orchestra, and the Empress Maria-Theresa often mingled with the corps de ballet.

During the 19th century, the Karntnerthor-Theater was demolished and the présent building was constructed on the famous " Ring ". It was here that Mahler, with the help of the set designer Alfred RoUer, imposed a new style of performance, based on audacious stagings and a very précise interprétation ofthe score, which demanded countless rehearsals.

After the fall of the Hapsburgs, Richard Strauss took over the reins of the newly baptized Vienna State Opéra. Curiously enough, only one of Strauss'operas, THE WOMAH WITHOUT A SHADOW, was premiered in Vienna. Clemens Krauss and Karl Bôhm were to follow in his footsteps. Under Bôhm's direction, the Opera created its own Company, which was to serve as a model for several générations. Even the bombs that destroyed the opéra house in 1945 could not prevent singer s such as Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Irmgard Seefried, Sena Jurinac or Erich Kunz from becoming legendary.

One musn't think that the Viennese applaud only their homegrown stars. In 1955, when Maria Callas came to sing LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR in the reconstructed building with Karajan conducting, the public blocked traffic to pay tribute to the diva... in the street! Karajan succeeàed Karl Bôhm, and invited many international stars to corne sing on the Viennese stage. Works were henceforth sung in their language of origin, and coproductions with La Scala permitted the disco-very of voices such as that of Mirella Freni in LA BOHEME.

Ioan Holender has suceeded in deftly combining these international distributions with an ensemble System. He has scheduled many works never heard on the Viennese stage, which are now included in the Opera's répertoire, such as Verdi's JERUSALEM and Enesco's OEDIPE, furthering a policy instated under Claudio Abbado's brilliant direction. Whatever changes may now occur, the Opera will continue to stage at least 300 performances per season (an absolute world record ren-dered feasible thanks to the în-house technical crew, which hires no less than 250 people), and the public will continue to applaud the finest orchestra any amateur could wish for in the pit : the Vienna Philharmonie !

Wiener Staatsoper

The seating plan is given as an indication and has no contractual value.
The division of categories may differ depending on shows and dates.

Synopsis

Andrea Chénier

ANDREA CHENIER, A POPULAR OPERA

A verisimo opera in four acts by Italian composer Umberto Giordano and sung to a libretto by Luigi Illica, the story is based on the real life of a French poet, Andrea Chénier who was executed in the days of the French Revolution. Though not performed as often now, the opera remains a highly popular work with audiences who enjoy the dramatic music and lyrics written by Giordano for the leading tenor. A wonderful chance for singers to show off their exceptional vocal skills, the tenor Giuseppe Borgatti was catapulted to the top echelon of Italian opera singers thanks to his magnificent portrayal of the role.

HISTORY

Set in and around Paris in the period 1789-94, the opera is based on the life of a popular poet at the time of the French Revolution. Chénier is increasingly affected by the suffering of the poor in the turbulent society of his times, and comes under scrutiny. Maddalena the daughter of the Countess is known as 'Speranza' or hope, she pleads for Chénier's life after he is trapped and arrested, but to no avail. Although Gérard admits that he had Chénier accused because he too is in love with Maddalena, Robespierre refuses to pardon him. Maddalena changes places with an imprisoned noblewoman and goes to the guillotine in her place at Chénier's side.

Act 1

At a ball at the home of the Countess of Coigny, Chénier meets her daughter Maddalena after she gets him to recite poetry containing the word 'love' as a bet. Chénier becomes enraged and sings of the suffering of the poor. He appears with a crowd of beggars asking for food, and the Countess has him removed, comforting herself with thoughts of her gifts to charity.

Act 2

Now a merveilleuse, Bersi who was Maddalena's former serving girl chats with an Incroyable, or spy in a cafe in Paris. She jokes that she has nothing to hide. The Incroyable sees a blonde lady and notes that Chénier was seated at a nearby table. Robespierre passes with a former servant, Gérard who comes into the cafe in search of the blonde. The Incroyable tell him that she will return to the cafe that night. A hooded woman enters the cafe. It is Maddalena, known now as 'Speranza' or hope. Gérard accosts them and wounds Chénier in a sword fight.

Act 3

The Revolutionary Tribunal find Chénier guilty. Maddalena cries for justice, telling how the mob has burned down her mothers palace and left it in ruins.
Gérard's admits that it was he who had Chénier arrested to clear the way to Maddalena who he has always loved. Maddalena tries to give herself to Gérard in return for Chénier's life. Despite trying to take back his accusations, Gérard can not save Chénier and he is sentenced to death.

Act 4

Gérard's pleas for justice fall on deaf ears and Robespierre refuses to pardon the poet Chénier. Maddalena exchanges places with a condemned noblewoman and goes to the guillotine with Chénier in her place.

MAIN ROLES

Andrea Chénier - popular poet - tenor
Carlo Gérard - servant - baritone
Maddalena de Coigny - soprano
Bersi - maid to Maddalena - mezzo-soprano
The Incredible - a spy for Robespierre - tenor

Wiener Staatsoper © Michael Poehn

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