22 November 2010 at 6.18pm | Comment on this article
Here are the latest rehearsal shots from David McVicar’s glamorous new production of Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, with grand set designs by Charles Edwards and beautiful period costumes by Brigitte Reiffenstuel.
Michaela Schuster as Princesse de Bouillon, Alessandro Corbelli as Michonnet, Angela Gheorghiu as Adriana Lecouvreur and Bonaventura Bottone as Abbé de Chazeuil in Adriana Lecouvreur © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2011
David Soar as Quinault, Sarah Castle as Mademoiselle Dangeville, Alessandro Corbelli as Michonnet, Janis Kelly as Mademoiselle Jouvenot and Iain Paton as Poisson in Adriana Lecouvreur © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2011
The opera was first seen at Covent Garden in 1906, and this marks the Royal Opera’s first performance of Adriana Lecouvreur since that date. Cilea was Puccini’s contemporary, and this rich Italianate score warms a tragic libretto, based on a play by Eugéne Scribe and Ernest Legouvé.
The opera is based on the life of French Actress Adrienne Lecouvreur (1692-1730) who rose from humble origins to become a leading lady at the Comédie Française. Adriana is caught between the attention of two lovers, one her manager, the other Maurizio, Count of Saxony. Unknowingly, she is trapped and poisoned by a rival in love. The drama reaches its poignant climax when, in the vane of true Italian tragedy, her lover returns to find Adriana dying and deluded, a victim of anger, jealousy and unrequited love.
The lead roles comprise virtuosic talent and musical depth. Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu sings the challenging role of Adriana, which she shares with Spanish soprano Ángeles Blancas Gulín. Leading German tenor Jonas Kaufmann is Maurizio, with Michaela Schuster and Olga Borodina sharing the role of Adriana’s rival and murderess. Mark Elder leads the orchestra of Covent Garden from the pit.
Listen to conductor Mark Elder discuss Cilea’s music for Adriana: its playfulness and lyricism, its similarities and dissimilarities to the works of Cilea’s great contemporary Puccini.