Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



Plumbago_9780993198359_1.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Repertoire

Giovanni Pacini: Medea

Medea: Melodramma tragico in three acts.

Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Die Tote Stadt

Die Tote Stadt, an opera in three acts.

Music composed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957). Libretto by Paul Schott (Julius and E. W. Korngold) after the novel Bruges la morte by Georges Rodenbach.

Stendhal on the Rossini Revolution

Some Details concerning the Revolution inaugurated by Rossini

PUCCINI: Manon Lescaut

Manon Lescaut, dramma lirico in quattro atti

STRAUSS : Elektra

Elektra: Tragedy in one act.

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycle

Lyric Opera of Chicago has announced both schedules and cast-lists for is Spring 2020 performances of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Given the series of individual productions already staged by the company since Fall 2016, that pave the way for the complete cycle, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s complete production should affirm the artistic might of the great composer.

Carlo Diacono: L’Alpino

“Diacono himself does not know what musical talent he possesses” – Mascagni

The Nibelungen-Myth. As Sketch for a Drama

From the womb of Night and Death was spawned a race that dwells in Nibelheim (Nebelheim), i.e. in gloomy subterranean clefts and caverns: Nibelungen are they called; with restless nimbleness they burrow through the bowels of the earth, like worms in a dead body; they smelt and smith hard metals.

Martín y Soler: Una cosa rara

Una cosa rara, ossia Bellezza ed onestà. Dramma giocoso in two acts.

Music composed by Vicente Martín y Soler (1754–1806). Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte from the comedy La luna de la Sierra by Luis Vélez de Guevara.

Mefistofele at Orange’s Chorégies

This is the one where a very personable devil tells God that mankind is so far gone it isn’t worth his time to bother corrupting it further.

A culinary coupling from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama

What a treat the London Music Conservatoires serve up for opera-goers each season. After the Royal Academy’s Bizet double-bill of Le docteur Miracle and La tragédie de Carmen, and in advance of the Royal College’s forthcoming pairing of Huw Watkins’ new opera, In the Locked Room, based on a short story by Thomas Hardy, and The Lighthouse by Peter Maxwell Davies, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama have delivered a culinary coupling of Paul Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner and Sir Lennox Berkeley’s The Dinner Engagement which the Conservatoire last presented for our delectation in November 2006.

THOMAS: Hamlet, Moscow 2015

Hamlet: Opéra in five acts. Music composed by Ambroise Thomas. Libretto by Michel Carré and Jules Barbier after The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare.

La Púrpura de la Rosa

Advertised in the program as the first opera written in the New World, La Púrpura de la Rosa (PR) was premiered in 1701 in Lima (Peru), but more than the historical feat, true or not, accounts for the piece’s interest.

Das Liebesverbot, Vienna 1962

Das Liebesverbot: Grosse komische Oper in two acts.

Lohengrin, Bayreuth 2010 Live

Opera in three acts. Words and music by Richard Wagner.

Parsifal, Bayreuth 2012 Live

Parsifal. Bühnenweihfestspiel (“stage dedication play”) in three acts.

Music from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“German poet, dramatist and novelist. One of the most important literary and cultural figures of his age, he was recognized during his lifetime for his accomplishments of almost universal breadth. However, it is his literary works that have most consistently sustained his reputation, and that also serve to demonstrate most clearly his many-faceted relationship to music. . . .

Operas Based on French Literature

Here are operas based on French literature from Balzac, Hugo and beyond:

Jules Massenet: Le Cid

Le Cid, Opéra in 4 acts

Vincenzo Bellini: I puritani

I puritani, opera seria in three acts

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Repertoire

<em>Medea</em> by Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys (painted 1866-68) [Source: Wikipedia]
04 Nov 2019

Giovanni Pacini: Medea

Medea: Melodramma tragico in three acts.

Streaming Audio

Giovanni Pacini: Medea

Calcante: Giorgio Giuseppini
Cassandra: Maria Cristina Zanni
Creonte: Marcello Lippi
Giasone: Sergio Panajia
Licisca: Enrica Bassano
Medea: Jolanta Omilian
Orchestra Sinfonica di Savona, Coro Schola Cantorum S. Gregorio Magno Trecate, Richard Bonynge (cond.)
Live performance, 5 October 1993, Savona.

Above: Medea by Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys (painted 1866-68) [Source: Wikipedia]

 

Music composed by Giovanni Pacini. Libretto by Benedetto Castiglia.

First Performance: 28 November 1843, Real Teatro Carolino, Palermo
Revised, Teatro Eretenio, Vicenza, 1845.

Summary of Euripides’ Play

Medea is centered on a wife’s calculated desire for revenge against her unfaithful husband. The play is set in Corinth sometime after Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece, where he met Medea. The play begins with Medea in a blind rage towards Jason for arranging to marry Glauce, the daughter of king Creon. The nurse, overhearing Medea’s grief, fears what she might do to herself or her children.

Creon, in anticipation of Medea’s wrath, arrives and reveals his plans to send her into exile. Medea pleads for one day’s delay and eventually Creon acquiesces. In the next scene Jason arrives to explain his rationale for his apparent betrayal. He explains that he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to marry a royal princess, as Medea is only a barbarian woman, but hopes to someday join the two families and keep Medea as his mistress. Medea, and the chorus of Corinthian women, do not believe him. She reminds him that she left her own people for him ( “I rescued you [...] I betrayed both my father and my house [...] now where should I go?” ), and that she saved him and slew the dragon. Jason promises to support her after his new marriage ( “If you wish me to give you or the children extra money for your trip into exile, tell me; I’m ready to give it with a lavish hand” , but Medea spurns him: “Go on, play the bridegroom! Perhaps [...] you’ve made a match you’ll one day have cause to lament.”)

In the following scene Medea encounters Aegeus, king of Athens. He reveals to her that despite his marriage he is still without children. He visited the oracle who merely told him that he was instructed “not to unstop the wineskin’s neck.” Medea relays her current situation to him and begs for Aegeus to let her stay in Athens if she gives him drugs to end his infertility. Aegeus, unaware of Medea’s plans for revenge, agrees.

Medea then returns to plotting the murders of Glauce and Creon. She decides to poison some golden robes (a family heirloom and gift from the sun god Helios) and a coronet, in hopes that the bride will not be able to resist wearing them, and consequently be poisoned. Medea resolves to kill her own children as well, not because the children have done anything wrong, but because she feels it is the best way to hurt Jason. She calls for Jason once more and, in an elaborate ruse, apologizes to him for overreacting to his decision to marry Glauce. When Jason appears fully convinced that she regrets her actions, Medea begins to cry in mourning of her exile. She convinces Jason to allow her to give the robes to Glauce in hopes that Glauce might get Creon to lift the exile. Eventually Jason agrees and allows their children to deliver the poisoned robes as the gift-bearers.

Forgive what I said in anger! I will yield to the decree, and only beg one favor, that my children may stay. They shall take to the princess a costly robe and a golden crown and pray for her protection.

In the next scene a messenger recounts Glauce and Creon’s deaths. When the children arrived with the robes and coronet, Glauce gleefully put them on and went to find her father. Soon the poisons overtook Glauce and she fell to the floor, dying horribly and painfully. Creon clutched her tightly as he tried to save her and, by coming in contact with the robes and coronet, got poisoned and died as well.

Alas! The bride had died in horrible agony; for no sooner had she put on Medea’s gifts than a devouring poison consumed her limbs as with fire, and in his endeavor to save his daughter the old father died too.

While Medea is pleased with her current success, she decides to take it one step further. Since Jason brought shame upon her for trying to start a new family, Medea resolves to destroy the family he was willing to give up by killing their sons. Medea does have a moment of hesitation when she considers the pain that her children’s deaths will put her through. However, she steels her resolve to cause Jason the most pain possible and rushes offstage with a knife to kill her children. As the chorus laments her decision, the children are heard screaming. Jason then rushes onto the scene to confront Medea about murdering Creon and Glauce and he quickly discovers that his children have been killed as well. Medea then appears above the stage with the bodies of her children in the chariot of the sun god Helios. When this play was put on, this scene was accomplished using the mechane device usually reserved for the appearance of a god or goddess. She confronts Jason, reveling in his pain at being unable to ever hold his children again:

I do not leave my children’s bodies with thee; I take them with me that I may bury them in Hera’s precinct. And for thee, who didst me all that evil, I prophesy an evil doom.

She escapes to Athens with the bodies. The chorus is left contemplating the will of Zeus in Medea’s actions:

Manifold are thy shapings, Providence! / Many a hopeless matter gods arrange / What we expected never came to pass / What we did not expect the gods brought to bear / So have things gone, this whole experience through!

[Source: Wikipedia]

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):