Opera Lafayette Adds Second Performance Of LEONORE In NYC
The centerpiece of Opera Lafayette's 25th anniversary season is Ludwig van Beethoven's Leonore (1805), the composer's first version of his opera Fidelio. Performances on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 7:00 p.m. at The Kennedy Center, Eisenhower Theater in Washington, DC and Monday, March 2, 2020 and March 4, 7:00 p.m. at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College in New York City.
This production of Beethoven's Leonore features the first-known attempt to restore Florestan's original aria, the only part of the 1805 opera of which no copy survived. Eminent musician and scholar Will Crutchfield has completed the aria based on Beethoven's sketches and existing performance materials. "Consulting with Will about the process of putting together the 1805 version of this scene has been like reading a detective novel," shares Ryan Brown, Artistic Director. "As he uncovers and interprets evidence, it allows us to better understand what may have been Beethoven's originally intended musical narrative." Brown will also be conducting The Opera Lafayette Orchestra and Chorus.
Soprano Nathalie Paulin returns to Opera Lafayette in the title role, bass-baritone Matthew Scollin makes his debut as Pizarro, Stephen Hegedus makes his company debut as Rocco, and the rest of the cast reprise their roles from Opera Lafayette's 2017 production of Gaveaux's Léonore, ou L'Amour conjugal. Reprisals include tenor Jean-Michel Richer as Florestan, soprano Pascale Beaudin as Marcelline, tenor Keven Geddes as Jacquino, and bass-baritone
Alexandre Sylvestre as Don Fernando. Director Oriol Tomas and costume and set designer Laurence Mongeau elaborate upon their wonderful work in that production, with new lighting by Rob Siler.
This production of Beethoven's Leonore marks the company's largest scale production and first German opera. The Opera Lafayette Orchestra will feature 40 musicians, all performing on period instruments.
These performances follow Opera Lafayette's 2017 modern premiere of Gaveaux and Bouilly's Léonore, ou L'Amour conjugal, which was filmed and released last year on the Naxos label. This production of Beethoven's Leonore will also be filmed for future release on the Naxos label. Both operas feature a heroic woman and wrongful imprisonment, as well as themes relevant in the modern world.
While Beethoven had Bouilly's libretto to work with when creating his own Leonore, we do not yet know if Beethoven was familiar with Gaveaux's score. However, it is easy to hear how many of Beethoven's musical responses to the libretto are similar to Gaveaux's, even as Beethoven's writing is inestimably more complicated. It is interesting to speculate which of these responses were part of the era's common musical parlance and which were original to Gaveaux.
Opera Lafayette is renowned for its performances of both lost masterworks, once popular and culturally significant to the history of the 17th through 19th centuries, and early opera that is already part of the modern canon. Preparations include robust research to present the latest in musicological expertise. Each performance features period instruments, artists performing at the highest level, and as appropriate, dance - an important, yet often neglected element of the baroque opera. This attention to detail ensures that each rediscovered gem is performed closely to the way a composer originally might have intended their works to be heard. While preserving these historically significant works, Opera Lafayette stages each performance in imaginative and inventive ways that illuminate the music's original appeal as well as its relevance in our modern world.
Experiencing these productions so close in time to each other allows for the public to understand how both influenced Beethoven's only opera - Fidelio.
Pre-Performance Discussion Opera Lafayette offers a free pre-performance discussion prior to every performance. Ryan Brown will talk with Will Crutchfield starting at 6:00 p.m. on both performance days.
Tickets and Performances Tickets range from $25 - $135 and may be purchased through Opera Lafayette's Box Office: OperaLafayette.org | 202.546.9332, ext 1 or 212.634.9388