Friday, June 11, 2010

Coming up in 2010/11: DON QUIXOTE

Our new opera next season (new to Seattle Opera, anyway, although it turned 100 years old this year) is Massenet's delightful comédie héroïque Don Quichotte. A French confection inspired by the famous old Spanish story, Don Quichotte is much briefer than Cervantes's vast novel, much sweeter than the well-known Broadway musical Man of La Mancha, and more fun than the other two Massenet operas which have been performed at Seattle Opera in recent memory, Manon and Werther. Our new production of Don Quichotte will feature whimsically intriguing sets, flamenco dancing, sword-fighting, a live Rocinante and Rucio (horse and donkey), and the two incomparable perfomers who inflamed Seattle Opera's stage last year in Bluebeard's Castle, John Relyea and Margorzata Walewska.

Photo by Rozarii Lynch

CLICK HERE to go to the video trailer of Seattle Opera's Bluebeard's Castle, to hear the amazing voices of these two singers.

Eduardo Chama, who has sung Don Pasquale and Leporello for Seattle Opera, is their Sancho Panza; the other cast features two former Seattle Opera Mozart Figaros (Nicholas Cavallier and Richard Bernstein) and Daniela Sindram, who sang Cherubino in Seattle last year.

Since Massenet's opera is new to many in our Seattle Opera audience, I want to draw your attention to a few of my favorite passages. Needless to say, the opera features a lively scene in which Quichotte attacks windmills, under the impression that they are vicious giants:

He has a hot-blooded ladylove, la belle Dulcinée:

And he serenades her, in Act One, with one of Massenet's loveliest tunes, one which returns again and again over the course of the opera:

(Examples from the Toulouse recording conducted by Michel Plasson, starring José van Dam and Teresa Berganza)