In short

King Ouf I, monarch of a fantasy realm, celebrates his birthday each year with a public execution, both for his own pleasure and that of his subjects, on the grounds of lese majesty. This year, the disrespectful pedlar Lazuli looks set to be next victim, after having boxed the king’s ears. But the court astrologer warns Ouf that his stars are so closely linked to Lazuli’s that the king himself will soon die as well. The pedlar is promptly brought to the royal palace to be pampered.

When a jealous minister makes an attempt on Lazuli’s life, Ouf fears the worst: that his days are numbered as well. By setting back all the clocks he tries to gain time. But Lazuli survives. The king grants him Princess Laoula’s hand and announces that the young couple will succeed him. The gruesome ritual is done away with! The chaotic developments are reflected in the decor in the form of labyrinthine staircases and passageways. Sometimes they lead to the top, sometimes they are dead-end streets.

Background

Conductor Patrick Foumillier makes his first guest appearance at De Nationale Opera; stage director Laurent Pelly previously impressed Amsterdam audiences with his comical staging of L’amour des trois oranges. Most of the singers make their house debut; mezzo-soprano Stéphanie d’Oustrac (Lazuli) sang Idamante here in Idomeneo, like Lazuli a trouser role.

Production

Stéphanie d’Oustrac
Stéphanie d’Oustrac’s trim figure and versatile acting talent has made her a popular singer for ‘trouser roles’ such as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. She has performed at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and joined Les Arts Florissants for a tour of Europe and the United States. She has previously worked with director Laurent Pelly on La belle Hélène, La Périchole and Les contes d’Hoffmann.