Love and hate in the French Revolution set the scene for the four sold-out Andrea Chénier performances this month at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo.
Leave it to the Italians to create the seminal opera about the French Revolution. First seen at La Scala in Milan in March 1896, with music written by Umberto Giordano and the libretto by Luigi Illica, Andrea Chénier tells the sad tale of the daughter of a countess, Maddalena de Coigny, who falls in love with Andrea Chénier, a poet and French patriot during the Revolution.
Andrea offers her protection, only to find a rival in former servant Carlo, who now holds a position of power and threatens to not only derail their romance, but to eliminate the competition by having Andrea condemned.
Renowned tenor Jonas Kaufmann is taking on the title role alongside Maria Agresta as Maddalena. This piece is one he is well-suited for as a seasoned performer who has taken on other challenging parts such as Don José in Carmen and Cavaradossi in Tosca.
“I think playing a historical character is fantastic, because you have access to a lot of background information that you can incorporate into your interpretation,” said Kaufmann of the role. “In addition, the role of Andrea Chénier is very rewarding musically and vocally, it is in my eyes an absolute masterpiece. And it is an opera through which many great tenors of the past have become immortal, notably Franco Corelli. In this regard, it is always a special honour for me to be able to sing this ‘tenor opera’.”
Andrea Chénier, a co-production with the Teatro Comunale Bologna and directed by Pier Francesco Maestrini, is playing sold-out shows on 19th, 21st, 23rd and 25th February, with a Gala performance being held on 21st.
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Photo credit: Bill Cooper