La Muette de Portici

La Muette de Portici

La Muette de Portici

Daniel-François-Esprit Auber

OPERA in 5 acts by Daniel-François-Esprit Auber, 1828.
Libretto by Eugène Scribe and Germain Delavigne.

The work will be presented by Agnès Terrier 40 minutes prior to each performance

Musical direction, Patrick Davin
Staging, Emma Dante

With Elena BorgogniMaxim MironovÉglise GutiérrezMichael SpyresLaurent AlvaroTomislav LavoieJean TeitgenMartial Defontaine

Orchestra and choir from Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie

Resume

From its premiere in 1828 at Paris Opéra then located at Rue Le Pelletier until the theater burnt down in 1873, La Muette de Portici topped the bill and spread over Europe, in part thanks to Wagner.

Breaking conventions, the work burns with a new dramatic strength. Scribe and Auber go as far as to give the leading roles to a ballerina and the choir and to stage a revolution: the republican uprising of the people of Naples led by the fisherman Masaniello against the Spanish occupation of 1647.

The subject is political, so is its reception. During its Brussels premiere in August 1830, the patriotic aria “Amour sacré de la patrie” (Sacred love of fatherland) prompts the audience to take to the streets. Within weeks Belgium becomes independent.

The Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels is our partner in mounting anew this exceptional work under the baton of Patrick Davin and the leadership of Emma Dante.


With the support :

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Cast

Musical direction, Patrick Davin
Stage direction, Emma Dante
Scenery, Carmine Maringola
Stage sets and costumes, Vanessa Sannino
Lighting, Dominique Bruguière
Fencing master, Sandro Maria Campagna
Musical assistant, Alexandra Cravero
Assistant stage direction, Giuseppe Cutino
Assistante stage sets and costumes, Mara Ratti
Assistant of the collaboration to movements, Stéphanie Taillandier

Fenella, Elena Borgogni
Alphonse, Maxim Mironov
Elvire, Église Gutiérrez
Masaniello, Michael Spyres
Pietro, Laurent Alvaro
Borella, Tomislav Lavoie
Selva, Jean Teitgen
Lorenzo, Martial Defontaine

Orchestra and choir from Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie

Production, Opéra Comique
Co-production, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie
Associate co-production, Palazzetto Bru Zane – Centre de musique romantique française


With the support :

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Synopsis

Act I
Naples in 1647 under Spanish rule since 1443. Before the palace chapel, Alphonse d’Arcos, son of the authoritarian Viceroy, is preparing to marry noble Elvire who has just arrived from Spain. But he cannot forget Fenella, the humble dumb girl he once seduced incognito. He is worried by her recent disappearance: did she kill herself?
Radiant Elvire appears with the nuptial procession. But Fenella, who has just escaped from the royal prison, bursts in and the commiserated princess takes her under her protection. At the end of the marriage blessing, Fenella recognizes the bridegroom and denounces him in public. She takes advantage of everyone’s astonishment to run away.

Act II
The village of Portici near Naples. The fisherman Masaniello encourages his friends with seditious songs. He is worried by his missing sister Fenella. He intends to avenge her even if it means defying the law imposed by a foreign authority. He invites his friend Pietro to fight for their country.
After having contemplated suicide, Fenella confides in her brother: her seducer is a Spaniard but she chooses not to reveal his name. The reason put forward by Masaniello to mobilize the people is not so much this abuse of power as a new tax.

Act III
The palace of Naples. Deceived as soon as she is married, Elvire forgives Alphonse and decides to watch over Fenella. A crowd gathers at Naples marketplace. Selva, the officer of the guards, recognizes Fenella and is about to arrest her. Masaniello and Pietro are alarmed by the women’s screams. Furious Masaniello stabs a guard. The soldiers are disarmed by the populace who then rely on God. The arms are handed out to the ringing of the tocsin.

Act IV
While the Viceroy is besieged in the fortress of Castel Nuovo, Masaniello receives the leading citizens who beg him for mercy. He pardons them all the more since he is disgusted by the rebels’ murders. Fenella, upset by the slaughter, arrives only to fall asleep from exhaustion. But Portici is endangered as Alphonse and Elvire seek to take shelter there while the people led by Pietro demand the head of the Spanish heir. Fenella welcomes them at her brother’s dwelling and the latter chooses to follow the rules of hospitality, even fostering the princely couple’s departure for Castel Nuovo. While the councilmen present Masaniello with the city’s keys and the people hail their hero, Pietro musters the malcontents who resolve to kill the indulgent fisherman.

Act V
At the Viceroy’s palace, Pietro and the conspirators celebrate the end of tyranny for Masaniello will soon succumb to poison.
But Alphonse marches against the palace with his partisans while the people are worried at the awakening of Vesuvius and appeal to Masaniello. Weakened by the poison’s effect, he briefly regains his senses with his sister by his side and leads the insurgents. He saves Elvire from the mob’s fury before dying. Desperate Fenella throws herself out of a window as Vesuvius is erupting. The people bow down and beg forgiveness for their crime.


With the support :

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