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Five reasons why Robert le diable is a must-see

Putting the 'grand' into French Grand Opera in a new production by Laurent Pelly.

By Amanda Holloway (Freelance writer)

6 July 2012 at 12.46pm | 4 Comments

Poster image for l'elisir d'amore, directed by Laurent Pelly

A world-class cast, colourful music and intriguing supernatural elements come together on the Covent Garden main stage for the first time in 100 years.  Robert le diable will be a true event, and here are some of the reasons you shouldn't miss it:

1) Meyerbeer’s historical melodrama put the Grand into French Grand Opera.
It wasn’t the first grand opera to be written, and it's not entirely typical of the genre, but it was Meyerbeer’s genius to knit together romance, historical detail, stage magic and a classic Romantic ‘white’ ballet into something entirely new and breathtaking in its scale – including four hours of music.

2) It’s the first time it has been staged for over a century at Covent Garden, and the opera is on a spectacular scale.
The staging is by Laurent Pelly and designer Chantal Thomas, the brilliant duo responsible for acclaimed productions including La Fille du régiment and L’elisir d’amore, so expect wit and charm as well as spectacular effects.

3) This opera is a delight for those who love dramatic as well as lyric voices.
The Royal Opera’s world-class cast includes North American stars Jennifer Rowley, Bryan Hymel (most recently in Les Troyens), John Relyea and Russian soprano Marina Poplavskaya, all singers who possess the virtuosity, stamina and dramatic flair necessary for this opera. There is also plenty of work for a huge chorus, who will appear as medieval Sicilians, chanting monks and more.

4) It’s a rare chance to enjoy a specially choreographed ballet during an opera
Immortalized in a painting by Degas, the erotic ballet for ghostly nuns is choreographed for this production by talented young French choreographer Lionel Hoche.

5) Meyerbeer’s music was phenomenally successful in 19th-century Europe and it’s time to rediscover this underrated composer.
He brings out the myriad colours in a big orchestra; his vocal lines demand not only power and volume but also vocal flexibility and a delicatesse that is an essential part of the French style. Even in this grandiose supernatural tale, there is a human dimension that promises to be very moving.

Are you a fan of Meyerbeer's opera? Have you seen it staged elsewhere? Let us know your thoughts.

The Royal Opera's production of Robert le diable will be performed on the main stage from 6-21 December 2012.


By Amanda Holloway (Freelance writer)

6 July 2012 at 12.46pm

This article has been categorised Opera, Performance and tagged

This article has 4 comments

  1. Tony Glenville responded on 20 July 2012 at 5:48pm Reply

    I hope this will be the fully restored version of the score as used some years back at the Berlin Staasoper?
    I am so looking forward to this and hope the ROH realises how fanatical Meyerbeer fans can be?!

  2. Wolfgang Kühnhold responded on 11 October 2012 at 4:37pm Reply

    I am the editor of the new score of "Robert le Diable". I hope this production can tell us that music and scenic action is a untity in Meyerbeer's operas. By the way: The correct title is "Robert le Diable", not "diable". Robert isn't the diable, he is called "Diable" only. In Meyerbeers 1831 score and in his letters he wrote so anywhere.

  3. Jim Brennan responded on 18 October 2012 at 4:45pm Reply

    Has management ensured the stage staff will agree to the hours implied by this production? Failure to do so robbed us of the last Covent Garden attempt at a Meyerbeer blockbuster, "Les Huguenots".

  4. How very exciting....

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