TWO OPERAS OF PUCCINI IN A MONTH
MANON LESCAUT, 23 December at 19:30 h
TOSCA, 12 January at 19:30 h
The great opera spectacles with a large ensemble are coming back to our stage. The audience of the Opera & Theatre Madlenianum will have an opportunity to see on the Large Stage and within a short time, two famous operas of Giacomo Puccini, the sovereign lord of opera stages. The opera Manon Lescaut, the co-production of the National Theatre in Belgrade and Madlenianum is presented to the audience this Thursday, 23 Decembre at 19:30 h, after almost two years of not performing, as its last performance was the premiere performance on 29 February 2020 on our stage. In the opera, Ana Rupcic is to make her debut performance in the title role, as well as Vuk Zekic in the role of her brother Lescaut and a conductor is Djordje Pavlovic. Afterwards, the opera Tosca, a guest performance of the Romanian National Opera, Timișoara, for the first time performing on our stage, with our renowned baritone Zeljko Lucic in the role of Scarpia, conducted by Dejan Savic, supposed to be performed on 28 December, but our audience will see it in the new year- 12 January 2022 at 19:30 h. The said rescheduling occurred due to prescribed epidemiological measure of Romania. Already purchased tickets can be returned beginning from today to 30 December at our box offices in the Theatre and the Zepter Museum. The money for the tickets bought online will be automatically returned to the purchasers.
Puccini (Giacomo Puccini) is the most representative opera composer of the late romanticism. His works perhaps most coincide with the ingrained concept of the opera as a sentimental genre with pathetic love dialogues and obligatory scenes of death in the ending. When it comes to music, his operas are works of unsurpassed orchestration and melodic lines that very eloquently follow a development of a plot, characters and emotions. A plot is set in an exciting atmosphere that affects the emotions of listeners / spectators, drawing them into the story to such an extent that they forget about the unconvincing events and actions and one-dimensional characters. The man with a confident theatrical instinct, Puccini could sense the stage, looking for exciting dramatic conflicts and cherishing a cult of great gestures and desperate cries that resulted from strong passions.
Manon Lescaut is Puccini’s first “opera blockbuster“ and the sole opera of his that was not contested at all when premiered at the Teatro Regio in Turin in 1893. Manon Lescaut placed Puccini among the world's top composer. Puccini has introduced a new level of a sincere emotion and a melody flow into the story, and in addition has created an archetypal opera heroine, who even nowadays manages to fascinate the audience.
The supreme team of authors, led by a director Pier Francesco Maestrini, has participated in the production of our Manon. The very large orchestra has been prepared by a conductor Stefano Romani and taken over by Djordje Pavlovic. Over 250 magnificent costumes have been created by a costume designer Luca Dall’Alpi, and the monumental set design is the work of Alfredo Troisi.
The large ensemble of this opera with soloists, choir and orchestra of the National Theatre in Belgrade is led by Ana Rupcic, making her debut performance in this role, Manon’s brother Lescaut is Vuk Zekic, Chevalier Des Grieux is Janko Sinadinovic, while Mihailo Sljivic is in the role of Geronte di Ravoir. The following soloists are also participating: Milan Obradovic, Vuk Radonjic, Sinisa Radin, Milan Panic, Ivana Zivadinovic, Mihailo Otasevic and Luka Predja.
The ensemble of the Romanian National Opera, Timișoara is to perform for the first time on our stage, presenting us the famous Tosca. The Romanian National Opera, Timișoara is a cultural public institution subordinated to the Ministry of Culture, with its activities in each annual artistic season, performing opera, operetta, ballet and opera for children performances, at home and abroad. The Romanian National Opera, Timișoara was establishing through Royal Decree of March, 1946. The very first manager was Aca de Barbu. Timișoara, as the most dynamic cultural centre of the western part of Romania, at the confluence of Central and East Europe, offers a large opening of cultural aspects. Situated at 700 km away from the 13 Europeans capitals, Timișoara has had a continuous connection to the values of the continental cultures. Multi-ethnic and multicultural population of various ethnicities and religions make from Timișoara a role model of the European civilization. The Romanian National Opera, Timișoara received the title of the National Opera House in 2004.
Madlenianum already collaborated with the Timișoara Opera back in 2003, being a guest at their stage with the ballet performance Orpheus in the Underworld. The last guest visit was in 2017 with the opera Don Giovanni, done in co-production with the National Theatre in Belgrade. It is the first time the Romanian National Opera, Timișoara has been a guest at Madlenianum’s stage, with the performance of the soloists led by Lăcrimioara Cristescu, then Alin Stoica, Marius Goșa, Gelu Dobrea, Vasile Bădescu, Mircea Dan Petcu, Mihai Prelipcian, Cristina Vlaicu and the large chorus and orchestra under the conducting baton of Dejan Savic and directed by Ognian Draganoff. The greatest pleasure and curiosity of this opera production is certainly the chance to see our renowned baritone Zeljko Lucic, just a few days after he had the same performance with the ensemble in Timișoara.
Tosca is an opera in three acts. There are two types of plots involved in Tosca: a political and a love one. It is set in Rome, in a tense and crisis time of fierce bigotry and struggle between Napoleon's supporters and the official regime imprisoning and punishing them. In the opera, the regime is embodied in the cruel and unscrupulous a chief of secret police, Baron Scarpia, both an arrogant and lustful man as. An initiator of the political plot in the opera is a Bonapartist Cesare Angelotti, imprisoned due to his political beliefs. A love story occurs between the jealous singer Floria Tosca and the painter Cavaradossi, who is arrested because of Angelotti, and eventually executed, despite Tosca’s trying to save him by giving herself to insidious Scarpia.
Tosca remains the main work of the opera repertoire, even though suffering a lot of criticism for its brutal plot. Cavaradossi is entrusted with the first aria in the introductory act, Recondita armonia, in which he compares the dark-haired beauty Tosca with the fair-haired unknown woman he saw in the church, combining both beauties in his painting. Cavaradossi's second great aria comes in the third act, as he prepares for execution in E lucevan le stele (And the stars were shining), and the world famous tenors vocally "growl" on it. The role of Tosca is dramatically very strong. Her most famous aria is the famous Vissi d'arte (I lived for art), as she despairs over the inconvenience she found herself in due to Scarpia, and certainly the most famous interpretation of this aria is the one performed by Maria Callas.
This is how Puccini formulated the secret of every theatrical success: "There are three laws when it comes to theatre: to arouse interest, to surprise and touch." Puccini's style is a direct continuation of verism, but through his scores and mosaic musical contents, with his determined hand of a master, Puccini underlines drama, creates sudden contrasts, great gradations, often theatrical and unconvincing, and then temperamental outbursts, wide singing of melodic lines in terms of Italian tradition - these are all the main features of Puccini's operatic style.