The two most popular operas of Italian verism will be performed in one evening: the operas Komedianti and Sedlák kavalír are directed by Ondřej Havelka at the State Opera in Prague, choosing the opposite of the traditional order. However, he is not the first to take this step. The premiere of the first cast is already taking place today from 7:00 p.m.
Ruggero Leoncavallo’s opera The Comedians and Pietro Mascagni ‘s The Peasant Cavalier are among the most popular titles in opera history. Both are also the most typical examples of opera verism. ” Jealousy and murder were the most frequently represented themes in veristic operas ,” says Opera dramaturg Jitka Slavíková . “The Comedians is the tragedy of the aging itinerant actor Canio, who learns from his colleague, the bitter schemer Toni, about the infidelity of his young, charming wife, Nedda, and kills Nedda and his son directly during the performance. “
The musical staging was undertaken by the music director of the State Opera, Andrij Jurkevyč , who believes that the power of these works will touch everyone’s heart even after more than 130 years since their creation: ” It is very fresh and modern music, at the same time melodic and orchestral as well as singing parts they are very intense and emotional. “
In the repertoire of the world’s theaters, they were adopted as a double title; both are staged on the same evening. Director Ondřej Havelka overturns the practice, when The Peasant Cavalier is the first to be performed , followed by The Comedians , and he explains his reasons: “I was attracted by the idea of connecting the two operas. That’s why I decided to reverse the order. So both stories will take place in one and the same village, and the connecting element will be a character who has a crucial role for the plot and outcome of both stories: Tonio. When Canio kills his wife Nedda and her lover Silvio in front of the village audience, Tonio realizes with horror that he was the one who provoked the whole tragedy and flees. He finds refuge in the very village in front of which the story of the nomadic acting company took place. There, thanks to his cleverness and not always correct behavior, he almost turns from a beggar into one of the most important personalities of the village. In our production, Mascagni’s Alfio becomes Tonio. “
The dramaturg of the opera, Jitka Slavíková, adds: ” The order of both operas in one evening – the first Sedlák kavalír and, after the break, the Comedians – is traditional, but not unchanging! After all, our performance has the same sequence as, for example, the New York Metropolitan Opera chose already in 1893. However, both operas were performed in various combinations, sometimes bizarre, such as The Peasant Cavalier with the third act of Twilight of the Gods or the Comedians with the second act of Lohengrin. There is even evidence of a combination of Bedřich Smetana’s Comedians with Hubicka – at the Vienna Court Opera in 1894. “
In addition to choreographer Jana Hanušová, mime Jiří Bilbo Reindinger helps the new production with movement cooperation , especially in the opera Komedianti . ” The performance performed by the comedians in the second act of the opera should be really funny and entertaining. It will be all the more shocking when the cheerful, somewhat naive clowning results in a terrifying tragedy. ” adds Havelka.
The main roles alternate in Comedians Jan Siber / Yukiko Kinjo (Nedda), Denys Pivnickij / Michal Lehotský (Canio), Daniel Scofield / Daniel Čapkovič (Tonio), Csaba Kotlár / Daniel Kfelíř (Silvio) and Petr Nekoranec / Daniel Matoušek (Peppe).
Ester Pavlů / Viktorija Korosunova (Santuzza), Alejandro del Angel / Peter Berger (Turiddu), Michaela Zajmi / Alena Kropáčková (Lola) and Daniel Scofield / Daniel Čapkovič (Tonio–Alfio) took on the main roles in Sedlák kavalíro .
Photo: Jan Hromádko