Tuesday 24 September 2013

Your chance to see Antonacci as Brunnhilde!

Ernest Reyer
Next week, if you travel to Geneva, to the Grand Theatre De Geneve, you can see Anna Caterina Antonacci as Brunnhilde. No, I haven't gone mad, they are not performing The Ring but Ernest Reyer's Sigurd, based very roughly on the same legends as Wagner's opera. Ever since I heard Regine Crespin on one of her early recordings singing an excerpt from Reyer's opera, it has fascinated me, (you can hear her after the break).

Joining Antonacci as Brunehild, is a strong cast with Anne Sophie Duprels as Hilde, Marie-Ange Todorovitch as Uta, Andrea Carè as Sigurd, conducted by Frederic Chaslin in concert performances. Other characters include Gunther and Hagen! 

Further information from the theatre's website, performances are on 6, 8 and 10 October 2013. It may be your only chance of hearing the opera live. Alas, I won't be getting to Geneva to hear it.

Ernest Reyer (1823 - 1909) was born in Marseilles and had his early musical training directed by his aunt who was a professor at the Conservatoire. He achieved a degree of success with his operas and Sigurd seems to have been his most successful. It was written in the 1860's but not performed until its premiere in Brussels in 1884. Initial success did not lead to the opera gaining a strong hold in the repertoire in the 20th century.

Though Reyer admired Wagner, he insisted the opera was written independently of The Ring and in fact the music owes much to Reyer's mentor Berlioz. One thing you notice is that the senior gods like Wotan are missing from the cast; Reyer's opera very much concentrates on the human side of things. Though there have been French radio broadcasts of modern performances, currently the only available CD versions are historic performances on the Malibran label. You can hear the overture on YouTube.

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