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Tragedy of tragedies
George Enescu’s masterpiece Oedipe is already a musical tour de force, but in the hands of director Àlex Ollé it boasts a visual staging that is equally spectacular!
The Greek myth of King Oedipus as told by the tragic poet Sophocles remains as powerful today as when it was originally written. The story of Oedipus, who unwittingly kills his father Laius and marries his mother Jocaste is ultimately a tale about man’s utter vulnerability, the inescapability of fate, and identity and blame.
At Oedipus’ birth the clairvoyant Tirésias foretells that he will murder his father and marry his mother. Though Oedipus attempts to escape the curse on his family and himself, in a terrible sequence of events the prophecy is fulfilled. After making this horrific discovery, King Oedipus wanders in exile for years with his daughter Antigone, wishing himself blind. In George Enescu’s version of the tale, Oedipus finally dies in peace in a sacred grove outside Athens.
Enescu’s engaging music
The French opera Oedipe is one of the few theatrical works that tells the entire life story of its title character. The ending of George Enescu’s work is gentler than in other versions of the myth and the music is highly engaging. With snatches of Romanian folk music, Enescu evokes a pastoral mood that contrasts with the ominous sounds of the percussion, symbolising fate.
Spectacular staging by Alex Ollé
This co-production was previously mounted at La Monnaie/De Munt in Brussels and Royal Opera House Covent Garden, in a spectacular presentation by Alex Ollé of La Fura dels Baus (Faust and Il trovatore). Oedipe is sung by Johan Reuter (Dr Schön in Lulu), and Jocaste by Sophie Koch in her long-awaited DNO debut. Violeta Urmana returns to DNO as La Sphinge (Kundry in Parsifal, Amneris in Aida and Azucena in Il trovatore). The Chorus of the Dutch National Opera also features prominently.
Marc Albrecht, chief conductor at Dutch National Opera and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra | Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, feels a deep resonance with music from the first half of the twentieth century, such as Enescu’s Oedipe. Last season he conducted DNO’s Eine florentinische Tragödie|Gianni Schicchi, Tristan und Isolde and Gurre-Lieder to widespread acclaim.
NETHERLANDS PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Along with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra has been the regular orchestra partner of Dutch National Opera since 1985, and is internationally regarded as one of the best opera orchestras. Each season, the two orchestras perform the majority of the opera productions in Dutch National Opera & Ballet. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra gives a varied programme of concerts in the Concertgebouw and also performs at other major concert halls and festivals in the Netherlands and abroad. Marc Albrecht is the principal conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and of Dutch National Opera. In recent seasons, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra has had great success with audiences and international press alike, with productions including Gurre-Lieder, Lohengrin, Der Rosenkavalier, Il Trovatore and Hänsel und Gretel. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Marc Albrecht, received an Edison for their recording of the DNO production Der Schatzgräber, in December 2014.
Team, Cast and Chorus
- Musical Director
- Marc Albrecht
- Stage Director
- Àlex Ollé (La Fura dels Baus)
- Alfons Flores
- Lluc Castells
- Peter van Praet
- Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
- Chorus of Dutch National Opera
- Ching-Lien Wu
- Children's Choir
- Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor
- Eline Welle
- Johan Reuter
- Eric Halfvarson
- Christopher Purves
- Le Berger
- Alan Oke
- Le Grand-Prêtre
- François Lis
- James Creswell
- Le Veilleur
- Ante Jerkunica
- André Morsch
- Mark Omvlee
- Sophie Koch
- La Sphinge
- Violeta Urmana
- Heidi Stober
- Catherine Wyn-Rogers
- Une Thébaine
- Polly Leech - De Nationale Opera Studio
‘The Romanian virtuoso’s only opera, nurtured over nearly 30 years before its 1936 premiere in Paris, builds over four acts into an epic of glowering power.’
‘The London Philharmonic opened its new season with Oedipe, George Enescu’s only opera, first heard in Paris in 1936. (…) many considered it a lost masterpiece.’
Step into the world of the makers. Sit back with a drink in an informal setting and enjoy an aria or duet, a pas de deux or small ensemble, or an interview with a singer or choreographer. A varied programme, linked to a topical theme, is presented for each production.
NB: In principle, the foyer evenings are given in Dutch, but in practice the high number of international guests means that English is often spoken as well.
Mon 19 November Oedipe
Start: 20.30 (doors open 20.00)
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: € 10, € 7,50 (Vrienden), € 5 (students)
Free for Donors, Geefkringleden of Dutch National Ballet and Patterns of Dutch National Opera & Ballet.