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Vivaldi’s Juditha Triumphans is an allegorical oratorio with a plot full of twists and turns. Though not intended for the theatre, it lends itself perfectly for staged production.
The story of Juditha Triumphans comes from the apocryphal Book of Judith, chronicling the Assyrian siege of the Jewish city of Bethulia. The beautiful young widow Judith goes to the Assyrian army commander Holofernes to beg for mercy and sways him with her charms. But while he lies asleep after too much food and wine, Judith cuts off his head and returns to Bethulia triumphant. The story of her bravery inspired dramatic paintings by the likes of Giorgione, Caravaggio, Gentileschi and Allori.
Vivaldi originally composed Juditha Triumphans for the girls of the Ospedale della Pietà, an orphanage in Venice internationally renowned for its outstanding music school. Juditha features large choral passages and a richly instrumented orchestra, as befitting the occasion of its composition – to celebrate the Venetian victory over the Turks in 1716. The libretto is in Latin.
Juditha Triumphans is a new production directed by Floris Visser (Fortress Europe at OFF 2017), his first at Dutch National Opera & Ballet. Conductor Andrea Marcon is a distinguished Baroque and Vivaldi specialist who previously led Handel’s Ariodante at DNO. This time he is accompanied by his own ensemble, La Cetra Barockorchester Basel.
French mezzo-soprano Gaëlle Arquez debuts at DNO in the role of Juditha. A ‘rising star’ of opera, she has appeared at leading houses worldwide, singing a varied repertoire of titles including Falstaff, L’incoronazione di Poppea, Teseo, Così fan tutte, Idomeneo, Armide (Gluck), Carmen, Pelléas et Mélisande, Le Comte Ory and Norma. At the Victoires de la Musique 2011 she was extolled as a ‘Révélation Lyrique’.
LA CETRA BAROCKORCHESTER BASel
La Cetra Barockorchester was founded in 1999 by Peter Reidemeister, then director of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and named after Antonio Vivaldi's Violin Concert at. 9. The orchestra specialises in early music and regularly accompanies operas at the Basel Theatre. Andrea Marcon has been chief conductor since 2009. Under his direction, the orchestra has become one of the most important early music orchestras.
Team, Cast and Chorus
- Musical Director
- Andrea Marcon
- Stage Director
- Floris Visser
- Set and costumes
- Dieuweke van Reij
- Alex Brok
- Klaus Bertisch
- La Cetra Barockorchester Basel
- Chorus of Dutch National Opera
- Chorus Conductor
- Klaas-Jan de Groot
- Gaëlle Arquez
- Teresa Iervolino
- Vasilisa Berzhanskaya
- Francesca Ascioti
- Polly Leech - Opera Studio
‘Andrea Marcon conducts. Best known as a Vivaldi specialist (…). He coaxes from the musicians (…) a sensual polish.’
ANDREA MARCON (musical director) is known for his interpretations of Baroque, classical and early Romantic repertoire.
Floris VisserStage director
Floris Visser has rapidly gained international recognition as one of the leading talents of the next generation of opera directors. With engagements in opera houses as Opernhaus Zürich, the Bolshoi Opera, Dutch National Opera, Staatsoper Hannover & the Internationale Händelfestspiele Karlsruhe he is one of the most sought after stage directors of our present day.