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An ode to actress Adriana Lecouvreur

Opera and classical music lovers gather round. For the first time at the Met, Soprano Anna Netrebko takes on the title role of the 18th century actress Adriana Lecouvreur. On January 12, a broadcast of the play will be shown in Cyprus. And this sounds to be no ordinary show but a mega production as the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, Gran Teatre del Liceu – Barcelona, Wiener Staatsoper, San Francisco Opera and L’Opéra National de Paris collaborate and are conducted by Gianandrea Noseda.

Directed by Sir David McVicar, he ingeniously “sets the action in a working replica of a Baroque theatre.”
The soprano (Anna Netrebko) is joined by tenor Piotr Beczała as Adriana’s lover, Maurizio. The principal cast also features mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili and baritone Ambrogio Maestri. McVicar’s staging premiered at the Royal Opera House in London, where the Guardian praised the “elegant production, sumptuously designed… The spectacle guarantees a good night out.”

The play celebrated its World Premiere in Teatro Lirico, Milan, 1902 and continues to wow audiences. Adriana Lecouvreur obviously occupies a unique place in the repertoire: largely dismissed by experts from its premiere to the present day yet cherished by its fans for the dramatic possibilities provided by the lead roles.

The opera is often described as “a deft combination of frank emotionalism and flowing lyricism, with pseudo-historical spectacle.” Based on a play by Eugène Scribe, the story was inspired by the real-life intrigues of famed actress Adrienne Lecouvreur and the legendary soldier – and lover – Maurice of Saxony. Composer Cilea’s operatic retelling quickly became a favourite of charismatic soloists. The title character in particular is a quintessential diva role.

Director McVicar explained when he was staging his production for the first time at London’s Royal Opera in 2010: “There is little point in doing Adriana Lecouvreur unless you have a grand diva because that’s what it’s about,” he said. “It is absolutely about the act of performing.”

He adds that the production is “an opera about opera, about the mad magic of the theatre and the women who star in it”.

Adriana Lecouvreur
Live theatre play broadcast from the Royal Opera House. Part of the Met: Live in HD. January 12. Rialto Theatre Limassol. 7.55pm. €18 / 14. With Greek and English subtitles. Tel: 25-343900

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