Thursday 17 January 2013

Charpentier's Medea - video preview

Sarah Connolly as Medea
in the new ENO production
Medea is Marc-Antoine Charpentier's only opera for the Paris Opera (the Academie Royal de Musique), written  in 1693 to a libretto by the poet Thomas Corneille (brother of the more famous Pierre Corneille). The date of the opera is significant, coming six years after the death of Lully. Lully held a monopoly on operatic entertainments and stuck to it resolutely, so that Charpentier belongs to that group of composers who wrote stage works in the corners, out of Lully's shadow. Charpentier worked in the household of Mlle de Guise, a patroness rich an influential enough (a cousin of Louis XIV) that she could stage chamber operas and employ Charpentier in her establishment. He wrote a number of chamber operas for her in the years 1684-87, but Medea is his only large scale work. The opera is being performed by English National Opera for the first time on February 15, with Sarah Connolly in the title role. Connolly renews her longstanding connection with David McVicar, who is directing the opera with designs (in 1940's style) by Bunny Christie (her first operatic work in the UK). Christian Curnyn will be in the pit. As a taster, after the break, there is a video of Sarah Connolly singing 'Such is the price of love' from the opera.

The plot concerns the familiar story of Medea and Jason, with Medea exacting vengeance on Jason for his unfaithfullness by killing their children.

Sarah Connolly sings 'Such is the price of love' from Medea from English National Opera on Vimeo.
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