The Riga Opera Festival 2023 will commence with the premiere of Francesco Cilea's opera Adriana Lecouvreur on June 9th. The new production is created by the Music Director and Conductor Mārtiņš Ozoliņš, Conductor Andris Veismanis, Stage Director Vincent Boussard, Set Designer Vincent Lemaire, Costume Designer Clara Peluffo Valentini, Lighting Designer Nicholas Gilli and Video Designer Nicholas Hurtevent. The title role will be interpreted by Julija Vasiljeva or Tatjana Trenogina, along with Raimonds Bramanis or Artjoms Safronovs as Maurizio, Carmen Topciu or Irma Pavāre as Princess de Bouillon and Rinalds Kandalincevs or Jānis Apeinis as Michonnet.
The authors of Adriana Lecouvreur were inspired by picturesque historical events in a story about love, jealousy, and its consequences. Thanks to its outstanding music and the deeply moving story, this Italian opera is regularly staged by major arts and theatre institutions across the world. In the interpretation of the creative team, the opera will encompass the depicted era (early 18th century), the time of the opera's creation (the turn of the 19th/20th century), and the present day when this production is being created. The theatre as a special community that unites all those involved, working towards a common goal, will have a significant role in the performance.
The prototype for the main character of the opera is the star of the Comédie-Française, Adrienne Lecouvreur (1692-1730), who gained fame through her simplicity and authenticity, rejecting the melodramatic declamatory acting typical of her time. A passionate love affair connected the actress with Count of Saxony, who was desired by the Princess of Bouillon, whom he, in turn, had fallen in love with. This love triangle has become a source of inspiration for Eugène Scribe and Ernest Legouvé's play as well as Francesco Cilea's opera. Opera Adriana Lecouvreur was first performed in Milan in 1902. This will be the third production of the opera at the Latvian National Opera.
“Adriana Lecouvreur is the most renowned opera by F. Cilea, rooted in the dominant verismo traditions of late 19th-century Italy. The opera is made of beautiful, wide-ranging melodies expressed through arias; authentic and heightened emotions in duets; recitative dialogues that advance the plot, complemented by vibrant, witty, and sometimes comic characters. The composer has also managed to weave the hierarchy, relationships, and intrigue, prevalent among theatre societies, into the fabric of the work. On this backdrop, the enchanting personality, acting talent, and personal emotions of the main protagonist are revealed,” tells Mārtiņš Ozoliņš, the Music Director and Conductor of the production.
“I would love to give a chance to anyone in the audience to be moved by the story. It’s the story of a young actress who is in love with Maurizio. Unfortunately, he is torn between his love and ambition, forcing him to socialise with toxic people. Adriana is the victim of that game. It is more of a romance than the real story of Adrienna, whose life was far from exciting. I love that her actual character has become a myth. In her life, Adrienna was very secretive. Her death was such a mystery that it lent itself to various interpretations. In fact, I could talk about Adrienna Lecouvreur for hours. I feel like I have a connection with her as a person. I like her way of being in the world of intrigue, lies and toxicity. In sharp contrast to this, she was always full of simplicity and authenticity. She spoke the language of her heart. Though there was an element of naivety about her, she was nonetheless a powerful character. It inspires hope,” explains Stage Director Vincent Boussard. The director's career began in the troupe of Comédie-Française, whose brightest star was once Adrienne Lecouvreur. Vincent Boussard and his creative team's previous work at the Latvian National opera, Dialogues of the Carmelites by Francis Poulenc's - has been highly appreciated by our audience and critics.
Conversations before the Premiere about the opera Adriana Lecouvreur will take place in the New Hall on June 5, at 6.30 pm. The programme includes an audio-visual lecture by opera historian Mikus Čeže titled "Conquering Lecouvreur and Coveting Courland," a conversation between Liene Jakovļeva and director Vincent Boussard, and performances by the soloists of the production.