12/28/2012 12:51:00 PM The Met: Live in HD presents Hector Berlioz's Les Troyens
Marcello Giordani stars as Aeneas, the Trojan hero whose adventures take him from the fall of Troy to the shores of the North African kingdom of Carthage.
Deborah Voigt sings Cassandra, the Trojan prophetess who tries to warn her countrymen of the dangers about to befall them
Metropolitan Opera Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leads a rare revival of Berliozís epic Les Troyens, based on Virgilís Aeneid. Marcello Giordani stars as Aeneas, the Trojan hero whose adventures take him from the fall of Troy to the shores of the North African kingdom of Carthage.
"Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham triumphed in her first Met performance as Dido...in one of the greatest works in the repertory."-Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
The Met: Live in HD continues 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Sedona Performing Arts Center, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road.
Metropolitan Opera Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leads a rare revival of Berlioz's epic Les Troyens, based on Virgil's Aeneid. Marcello Giordani stars as Aeneas, the Trojan hero whose adventures take him from the fall of Troy to the shores of the North African kingdom of Carthage.
Deborah Voigt sings Cassandra, the Trojan prophetess who tries to warn her countrymen of the dangers about to befall them, and Susan Graham makes her Met role debut as Dido, the Carthaginian queen who gives her heart to Aeneas with disastrous consequences.
The five-act epic will be seen in Francesca Zambello's critically acclaimed 2003 production, receiving its first Met revival this season.
Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato hosts the transmission and conducts backstage interviews with the stars. The Sedona performance is made possible with support from Dottie Webster.
The Met: Live in HD is shown in more than 60 countries worldwide and as part of a global network of HD fans the opera world continues to expand. The on-screen super-titles bring the opera to full life with clear translations for viewers.
Artist interviews during the simulcasts connect opera lovers with Met artists with engaging and intriguing insights. Additional insights are available to HD fans through on-line interviews and trailers.
French composer Hector Berlioz was far ahead of his time, he was one of the most original of great composers, but also an innovator as a practical musician, and a writer and critic whose literary achievement is hardly less significant than his musical output. Few musicians have ever excelled in all these different fields at once.
Berlioz's opera Les Troyens begins following a ten year of siege, when the Greeks have departed from Troy, leaving behind a giant wooden horse as an offering to Pallas Athena.
Only the prophetess Cassandra, daughter of the Trojan king Priam, wonders about the significance of their enemies' disappearance. In a vision, she has seen her dead brother Hector's ghost walking the ramparts. She has tried to warn her father of impending disaster and now urges her fiancé, Coroebus, to flee the city, but neither man will listen to her.
When Coroebus begs her to join the peace celebrations, she tells him that she foresees death for both of them. The Trojans offer thanks to the gods. Hector's widow Andromache brings her young son, the heir to the throne, before King Priam and Queen Hecuba. The warrior Aeneas arrives and reports that the priest Laocoön is dead. Suspecting the wooden horse to be some kind of a trick, Laocoön had thrown his spear at it and urged the crowd to set fire to it, when two giant sea serpents appeared and devoured him and his two sons.
Priam and Aeneas order the horse to be brought into the city to beg pardon of Athena. Cassandra realizes that this will be the end of Troy.
In Act Two Aeneas is visited by the ghost of Hector, who tells him to escape the city. His destiny, he says, is to found a new empire that someday will rule the world. As the ghost disappears, Aeneas's friend Panthus runs in with news that the Greek soldiers who emerged from the horse are destroying the city. Aeneas rushes off to lead the defense.
The Trojan women pray for deliverance from the invaders. Cassandra prophesizes that Aeneas and some of the Trojans will escape to Italy to build a city - a new Troy. Coroebus has fallen, and Cassandra prepares for her own death.
She asks the women if they will submit to rape and enslavement. When Greek soldiers enter, the women collectively commit suicide. Aeneas and his men escape with the treasures of Troy.
Act Three takes place in Carthage, North Africa. The people greet their queen, Dido. In the seven years since they fled their native Tyre following the murder of Dido's husband, they have built a flourishing new kingdom.
Dido's sister Anna suggests that Carthage needs a king and assures her sister that she will love again. Visitors are announced who have narrowly escaped shipwreck in a recent storm -- they are the remaining survivors of the Trojan army, with Aeneas among them.
Dido welcomes them. When news arrives that the Numidian ruler, Iarbas, is about to attack Carthage, Aeneas identifies himself and offers to fight alongside the Carthaginians. Dido accepts, and Aeneas rallies the united forces of Carthage and Troy, entrusting his son, Ascanius, to the queen's care.
In Act Four Aeneas has returned victorious to Carthage. During a royal hunt, he and Dido seek shelter from a storm in a cave. They discover their love for each other. It is several months later.
Narbal, the queen's adviser, is worried that since Dido fell in love with Aeneas, she has been neglecting her duties. He fears that in welcoming the Trojan strangers, Carthage has invited its own doom. Dido enters with Aeneas and her court to watch an entertainment of singing and dancing.
She asks Aeneas to tell her more about Troy's last days. When he talks about Andromache, Hector's widow, who married Pyrrhus, one of the enemy, Dido sees a parallel to her own situation.
Alone, she and Aeneas again proclaim their love, as the god Mercury reminds Aeneas of his duty and destination - Italy.
Act Five opens at night in the Trojan camp by the harbor where a young sailor sings a homesick ballad. Panthus and the Trojan captains are worried about omens and apparitions that remind them of their failure to move on.
Aeneas enters, torn between his love for Dido and his duty to leave Carthage. He makes up his mind to see the queen one last time. But when the ghosts of Priam, Hector, Coroebus, and Cassandra appear, urging him to leave, he orders his men to set sail before sunrise.
Dido appears. Aeneas swears that he loves her but must leave her. She curses him. As dawn breaks, the queen asks her sister to persuade Aeneas to stay, but the Trojan ships are already on their way out to sea. Furious, Dido orders a pyre built to burn his gifts and remembrances of their love.
Now resolved to end her life, she bids farewell to Carthage and everything she held dear. The pyre has been set up. Priests pray for Dido, who predicts that her fate will be remembered: a future Carthaginian general, Hannibal, will avenge her against Italy one day. Then she stabs herself with Aeneas's sword.
Dying, she has a vision of Carthage destroyed by eternal Rome. As the Roman Capitol is seen like a vision in the distance, the Carthaginians curse Aeneas and his descendants.
Sedona Met HD patrons are invited to attend the pre-opera "Curtain Raiser" talk from 8:45-9:25 a.m. in the main theater presented by Edward Ingraham. Patrons too are encouraged to order opera lunches no later than noon Thursday before the opera.
Tickets are $23 for reserved and $19 for general admission and may be purchased on line at www.SedonaMetInHD.org, at the door the day of the opera, or by calling 928-204-2415.
Student tickets are $10 at the door with ID. The next Met HD performance is Jan. 19 at 11 a.m. with Gaetano Donizetti's opera, Maria Stuarda.
Chamber Music Sedona's 30th Anniversary Season is made possible with underwriting support from Aspey, Watkins & Diesel, P.L.L.C., Attorneys at Law. Additional support comes from The City of Sedona; Arizona Commission on the Arts with funding from the State of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts, The Margaret T. Morris Foundation, the Verde Valley Medical Center and WESTAF.