Comedy, tragedy, warmth and laughter can all be found in the exciting programme of opera coming to Norwich Theatre Royal as the Glyndebourne Tour 2019 arrives in the city.
The classic romantic comedy L’elisir d’amore (above), epic tragedy Rigoletto and the colourful tune-filled Rinaldo will all be performed by the company which has won international acclaim for its work and was the starting point for many top-class performers including Emma Bell, Robin Ticciati, Roberto Alagna and the iconic Alfie Boe.
The week of Norwich performances begins on December 3 and 5 with Donizetti’s comedy bursting with love and laughter, L’elisir d’amore (above). It tells the story of the sophisticated and wealthy Adina who catches the eye of everyone in the small Italian town where she lives. Country boy Nemorino loves her but she is only interested in the smooth-talking Sergeant Belcore. When a magical love potion enters the mix, all sorts of things start happening.
Updated to a 1940s setting, the opera is set in a country on the brink of political change and features a host of sweet melodies. It stars Korean tenor Sehoon Moon as the lovesick Nemorino along with Glyndebourne debuts from Beneditta Torre as Adina and Matthew Durkan as Belcore.
It will be conducted by Ben Glassberg, who is regarded as one of the fastest-rising stars in the opera world. He conducted a performance of La Clemenza di Tito in summer 2017 making him one of the youngest conductors to debut at the Glyndebourne Festival in its history. He is now the company’s principal conductor having also performed with the likes of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, and with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland at the Latitude, Glastonbury and Edinburgh Festivals.
The week will also feature the Glyndebourne premiere of Verdi’s favourite opera Rigoletto on December 4 and 7. The title character is a Duke who has everything he wants including money, power, looks and any woman he wants apart from Gilda, the innocent daughter of the jester Rigoletto. When she is kidnapped and seduced, Rigoletto plots revenge with tragic results.
This is a tragedy which is almost Shakespearean in its power and is a disturbing psychological portrait of a man caught up in a world dominated by power, privilege and corruption. It features a dramatic score laced with menace to fit in with the themes of the production.
Rising star Christiane Lutz directs a cast including Matteo Lippi who returns to the Glyndebourne company to play the Duke, Georgian baritone Nikoloz Lagvilava making his Glyndebourne debut in the title role, and award-winning South African soprano Vuvu Mpofu portraying Gilda.
Completing the programme is an exciting re-imagining of Handel’s most successful opera Rinaldo (above) on Friday December 6. It tells the story of the knight Rinaldo who finds his lover has been kidnapped by the scheming sorceress Armida. It leads to a battle of wills between Rinaldo’s Crusaders and the Saracen army as the fate of two lovers and two nations hangs in the balance.
This production moves the action from the Crusades to a school which merges elements of Harry Potter and St Trinians and boasts an energetic exciting score.
Two exciting new singing talents take on the lead parts with counter-tenor Jake Arditti in the title while Anna Devin portrays Almirena, fresh from winning critical and audience acclaim in the Glyndebourne Festival’s Saul.
John Bultitude, of Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “This programme will feature a wide-ranging programme of performances which will appeal to opera lovers.
“The company enjoys a strong and well-deserved heritage for taking fantastic productions around the UK and this will also give audiences he chance to see some of the brightest stars in the operatic world performing innovative and exciting productions of some classic works.”
For over 30 years, Glyndebourne has been touring its work. It currently presents around 120 performances annually to an audience of 150,000 with many more enjoying productions in cinemas and via online screenings.
Enjoy a preview of Rinaldo at