Odyssey Opera Ends Season with Verdi's GIOVANNA D'ARCO
One of the nation's most innovative opera companies, Odyssey Opera, culminates Trial by Fire: Joan of Arc and the Hundred Years' War, a season-long exploration of operatic works inspired by martyr, saint, and military leader Joan of Arc (1412-1431). For two nights, Odyssey Opera presents an Italian-language fully staged performance of Guiseppe Verdi's seventh opera, Giovanna d'Arco (Joan of Arc). This rarely-heard treasure premiered in 1845 and dates from the middle of the first decade of the composer's long career. Directed by Beth Greenberg, renowned for her work with the New York City Opera, and conducted by Artistic and General Director Gil Rose, Odyssey Opera presents the Boston premiere of this Verdi rarity featuring soprano Haeran Hong (Giovanna) and baritone Daniel Sutin (Giacomo).
Giovanna d'Arco (Joan of Arc) is a bold and vivid portrayal of the iconic Joan of Arc, a woman who sacrifices everything in fighting for her beliefs and her country. In Verdi's interpretation of the saint's saga audiences will experience a version of Joan of Arc's story unlike anything so far this season. Joan's father, Giacomo, gives his valiant warrior-daughter up to the invading English army, believing she has given her soul to the devil.
Having convinced him of her chaste and godly devotion (in the first of Verdi's great father-daughter duets), Joan dies on the battlefield and ascends to heaven to anthems of salvation and victory. In addition to Verdi's quintessential virtuosic writing for the lead principals, this passionate story serves as a vehicle for some of his most brilliant orchestral and choral music.
"Odyssey Opera is thrilled to be ending its Joan of Arc season with such first-rate Verdi voices," says Gil Rose, Odyssey Opera's Artistic and General Director. "This is a singers' opera for brilliant and fabulous solo voices."
Performing the role of Giovanna is South Korean soprano Haeran Hong, who was recently named the International Queen Elizabeth Grand Prize winner. According to The New York Times, Hong "sings with gleaming tone and deftly negotiated ornate lines." In her young, yet fast-paced career, she has performed various leading roles including Adina in L'elisir d'amore, Gilda in Rigoletto, and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte. Playing Giacomo, Joan's father, is baritone Daniel Sutin whom Boston audiences will remember from appearances in Macbeth and Tosca when critics called him "vocally impressive (The Examiner)" with a "complex and richly resonant baritone (The Hub)". Other recent engagements include appearances with the Metropolitan, San Francisco, and Washington National Operas.
Joan of Arc's presence both as a warrior and spiritual visionary sparked the beginnings of France's rise as a great European power. Divine voices guided the 17-year old peasant girl to liberate the city of Orle?ans in 1429 and subsequently turn the tide for the French in the closing years of the Hundred Years' War. Burned as a heretic in 1431, the Maid of Orle?ans was portrayed by her enemies as a witch, and a madwoman. She was later pardoned and eventually recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church. Today, she is a national hero of the French.
Representing a wide range of styles, Odyssey Opera presented five operas during the 2017-18 season inspired by Joan of Arc. Preceding Giovanna d'Arco were The Maid of Orle?ans by Tchaikovsky (September 16, 2017), L'assedio di Calais by Gaetano Donizetti (October 26 + 28, 2017), The Trial at Rouen (December 1, 2017) by Norman Dello Joio, and Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher by Arthur Honegger (February 17, 2018).
About Odyssey Opera
Founded in 2013 by artistic director/conductor Gil Rose, Odyssey Opera presents adventurous and eclectic works that affirm opera as a powerful expression of the human experience. Its world-class artists perform the operatic repertoire from its historic beginnings through lesser-known masterpieces to contemporary new works and commissions in varied formats and venues. Odyssey Opera sets standards of high musical and theatrical excellence and innovative programming to advance the operatic genre beyond the familiar and into undiscovered territory. Odyssey Opera takes its audience on a journey to places they've never been before. odysseyopera.org