Blazing faith or burning hatred? These questions will probably be essential in the new production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Don Carlo” on the stage of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre (LNOBT). The premiere will take place on 4 March.
The production is created by a renowned German stage director Günter Krämer, who is well-known for his stunning theatrical ideas. The music director of the upcoming premiere is a famous French conductor Pierre Vallet. Other members of the creative team include conductor Martynas Staškus, set designer and dramaturg Herbert Schäfer (Germany), costume designer Isabel Ines Glathar (Germany), chorus master Česlovas Radžiūnas.
How Krämer manages to stage operatic conflicts between faith, power and love, the Vilnius’ audience already knows: in 2004 he presented J. F. Halevy’s “La Juive” at the LNOBT. The production is still regarded by Lithuanian opera lovers and critics as an example of purest aesthetics and deep conceptualizing of operatic performance.
One can expect Krämer to provide original solutions and references this time too. He was affected and inspired by the rock star David Bowie’s spectacular farewell message, his final album “Blackstar”. Since one of the central scenes of “Don Carlo” is that of an auto-da-fe arranged by the Spanish Inquisition, the aesthetics of the video for album’s title song “Blackstar” and another track “Lazarus” have become certain point of departure for the staging. However, whether this inspiration will result in some concrete forms on the stage, we shall see only at the premiere of “Don Carlo”.
In any case, one can hope for a striking production carrying a strong dramatic impact. Adding to the effect is the fact that Verdi’s “Don Carlo” – a grand opera premiered in Paris on 1867 – is a powerful drama, impressive not only due to its great music, but also due to historical characters and well-constructed dramatic plot. The libretto was written after the dramatic play “Don Carlos, Infant von Spanien“ by Friedrich Schiller. The opera’s story is based on conflicts in the life of Carlos, Prince of Asturias (1545–1568), after his betrothed Elisabeth of Valois was married instead to his father Philip II of Spain as part of the peace treaty ending the Italian War of 1551–1559 between the Houses of Habsburg and Valois.
Of course, many Lithuanian opera goers still remember the scenery created by the famous stage designer Liudas Truikys (1904–1987) for the previous LNOBT production of “Don Carlo“ (1981) – his work will certainly remain in history of Lithuanian theatre. Nevertheless, the new production will doubtlessly provide new and unexpected meanings in the interpretation of this opera.
The list of singers includes Askar Abdrazakov (Russia), Luciano Batinic (Croatia), Liudas Mikalauskas (Phillip II), Adam Diegel (USA) and Eric Fennel (USA, Don Carlo), Valdis Jansons (Latvia/Italy) and Eugenijus Chrebtovas (Rodrigo), Liudas Norvaišas and Liudas Mikalauskas (The Grand Inquisitor), Viktorija Miškūnaitė, Regina Šilinskaitė, Raminta Vaicekauskaitė (Elisabeth of Valois), Jovita Vaškevičiūtė, Eglė Šidlauskaitė (Princess Eboli), Gunta Gelgotė and Rita Petrauskaitė (a Voice from Heaven), as well as Vladas Bagdonas, Žygimantas Galinis, Arūnas Malikėnas, Rokas Šveisteris, Deividas Staponkus, Šarūnas Šapalas. Impressive roles shall also be created by supernumeraries Česlovas Nausėda and Ina Tervydytė.
Premieres of “Don Carlo“ at the LNOBT – on 4, 5, 6 March 2016.
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