Odyssey Opera Presents Five-Hour Concert of Wagner's RIENZI, 9/15
ODYSSEY OPERA, a new, Boston-based opera company dedicated to presenting adventurous repertoire, debuts Sunday, September 15th at Boston's Jordan Hall offering a five-hour concert performance of Wagner's rarely heard opera "Rienzi." In celebration of the bicentennial of Richard Wagner's birth (1813-1883), Odyssey salutes one of history's greatest and most controversial opera composers in a spectacular Wagnerian event performed in true Bayreuth fashion. (Program details are below.)
"Like Wagner, Odyssey Opera is reaching beyond traditional opera," says Gil Rose, Odyssey's Artistic and General Director. "What better way to kick-start this journey than to present the spectacular 'Rienzi' opera to Boston audiences for the first time?!" Known to arouse feelings of intense passion, "Rienzi" continues to ignite strong emotions today. "It's a bold piece of art. 'Rienzi' combines pageantry with excitement, mystery, drama and action. We guarantee it'll get pulses racing!"
Led by Conductor Gil Rose, "Rienzi" will be performed by the Odyssey Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Boston's Lorelei Ensemble and an international cast headed by Lithuanian tenor Kristian Benedikt, one of the world's most promising and exciting dramatic tenors of his generation, making his North American debut. "This marks my second Wagnerian role," says Benedikt. "'Rienzi' is a pathetically big antic tragedy. I'm sure that everyone who attends this performance will leave happy." Cast members include: Metropolitan Opera soprano Elisabete Matos, Margaret Jane Wray who was recently acclaimed for her performances in Seattle Opera ring cycle, Grammy nominee Kristopher Irmiter, Stephen Salters, David Kravitz, Ethan Bremner, Kristen Watson, Robert Honeysucker, and Frank Kelley.
Wagner's third completed opera, "Rienzi" was written in the "grand opera" style - five acts and a great deal of spectacle. It was the composer's first success. "Rienzi" is the story of a 14th-century tribune who seeks to return Rome to its former glory. Disavowed by Wagner himself for sounding "too Italian," the epic-length "Rienzi" is rarely performed perhaps due to its difficult title role, lofty special stage effects including a lengthy ballet in the French Grand Opera tradition. The score is soaked in huge, elaborate choral numbers, romantic melodies, and rousing marches. It remained Wagner's greatest success during his lifetime.