Monday 19 July 2021

We can dream: Bayreuth Baroque Festival 2021

Bayreuth Baroque Festival
One of the reasons that Richard Wagner built his festival theatre in Bayreuth was because he had been recommended the town because it was the home of Germany's largest theatre, the Margravial Opera House built by Frederick the Great's sister Wilhelmine in 1748, with an interior designed by the Italian theatre-design family of Bibiena, father and son. Performances had effectively ceased after Wilhelmine's death in 1758, which is why the theatre is so well preserved. Wagner barely used the theatre, it was not suited to his purposes, but restored in 2018 the theatre forms a superb backdrop for Baroque opera. 

The Bayreuth Baroque Opera Festival was founded in 2020, under artistic director Max Emanuel Cencic, and the festival is returning this year for a second edition from 1-12 September 2021. There will be another chance to see Cencic's production of Nicola Porpora's opera Carlo il Calvo with Franco Fagioli, Max Emanuel Cencic and Julia Lezhneva, conducted by George Petrou in a production directed by Cencic which debuted last year. The opera debuted in 1738 in Rome, which meant that as women were not allowed on stage by order of the Pope, all the female roles were originally taken by castrati.

There will also be a concert performance of Porpora's Polifemo, written in 1735 for London for Handel's rivals, the Opera of the Nobility with star castrato Farinelli playing Aci. The Bayreuth performance features as Yuriy Mynenko as Aci, Max Emanual Cencic as Ulisse, Pavel Kudinov as Polifemo and Julia Lezhneva as Galatea, conducted by George Petrou.

Other events include Handel's oratorio Judas Maccabeus with Benjamin Hulett, Pavel Kudinov and Lucy Crowe and B'Rock conducted by Bart Nessens, plus recitals from Simone Kermes, Jakub Jozef Orlinski, Franco Fagioli, Dorothee Oberlinger and Magdalena del Gobbo.

Full details from the festival website.

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