Rehearsals begin today of Handel’s Ariodante, which is due to premiere at Drottningholms Slottsteater on 3 August with international opera star Ann Hallenberg singing the lead role.
Ann Hallenberg is Artist in Residence at Drottningholms Slottsteater. She has a long-standing relationship with the historical stage and last sang here at a concert in 2014.
“It feels wonderful to come back to Drottningholm with Ariodante and such a magnificent team,” she says. “This is by far the best stage for singing baroque opera, and I’ve tried many.”
The Drottningholm Theatre Orchestra will be performing the opera on period instruments under the direction of the celebrated British conductor Ian Page, and on stage international opera stars will be accompanied by four dancers. Ariodante is directed by the internationally acclaimed and award-winning Nicola Raab, the sumptuous costumes are by Gesine Völlm and the sets and lighting are by Swede Linus Fellbom Linus Fellbom. Exploiting the unique environment of the theatre, the creative team takes the audience on a journey in which the baroque facade is slowly peeled away to expose the theatre to the contemporary world.
Ann Hallenberg is an illustrious international opera star but still something of an unknown quantity in Swedish cultural circles. Her career has taken her to the world’s leading opera houses, festivals and concert halls, where her performances have won her glowing reviews. She is a lyrical mezzo soprano specialising in a repertoire of early music, which has earned her a repuation as one of the world’s leading baroque singers. Ann has made over 40 recordings on CD and DVD and is the two-time winner of the International Opera Awards in the Best Operatic Recital category.
Ariodante is one of Handel’s most frequently performed operas. It is a work of sublime baroque music with a plot centred on life and death. The drama is set in mediaeval Scotland, where Ariodante is in love with the princess Ginevra, who is wrongly accused of infidelity. The lovers must hold out through three acts of love, entanglement, betrayal and revenge before they can finally fall into each other’s arms. The opera was first performed in 1735 at Covent Garden, and had its Sweden premiere in 1964 at this very theatre.
Esprit! also offers pre-performance introductions with, amongst other speakers, music critic and writer Camilla Lundberg, who will be talking about the gender roll anarchy of baroque opera.
Premiere 3 August
Performed every other day until 17 August.
Music:Georg Friedrich Handel
Director: Nicola Raab
Choreography: Caroline Finn
Lighting and stage design: Linus Fellbom
Costumes: Gesine Völlm
Makeup and wigs: Sofia Ranow
Performers: Johannes Weisser, Roberta Mameli, Francesca Aspromonte, Ann Hallenberg, Martin Vanberg, Christophe Dumeaux, Olof Lilja.
Drottningholm Theatre Orchestra.
With the kind support of the Friends of Drottningholms Slottsteater through the Henrik Nordmark Trust, and theBarbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.
For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact: Elin West, press officer at Drottningholms Slottsteater, 0733 50 26 25, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Drottningholms Slottsteater has remained intact since 1766 and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is the only theatre of its kind in the world that still uses original hand operated stage machinery.
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