Rossini's 'William Tell' From the Royal Opera House
Monday, August 03, 2015
Join us Saturday at 1 pm, for what has been the most talked-about opera production of 2015: Italian director Damiano Michieletto's update of Rossini's William Tell, in which the classic tale of the 14th-century Swiss hero is set amid the Balkan conflict of the 1990s.
The Royal Opera House production drew strong reactions when it premiered June 29, largely because of a third-act rape scene with nudity. The opera house issued an age restriction to movie theater audiences soon afterwards and explained that Michieletto's intent is to "convey the horrible reality of warfare."
Radio audiences, of course, will have a very different experience of the production, which stars baritone Gerald Finley as William Tell. The character longs to free the Swiss people from the oppressive Austrian occupation, but when arrested, he must put his trust in fellow young patriots Arnold (tenor John Osborn) and his Austrian lover Mathilde (soprano Malin Byström) to lead the fight.
The production includes Michielotto’s inventive highlights such as the Act II trio "Quand l'Helvétie est un champ de supplices" and the Act III aria "Sois immobile" which evoke the striking grandeur and suspense of the Swiss setting. The opera is sung in French.
Guillaume Tell: Gerald Finley
Arnold Melcthal: John Osborn
Mathilde: Malin Byström
Walter Furst: Alexander Vinogradov
Jemmy: Sofia Fomina
Hedwige: Enkelejda Shkosa
Gesler: Nicolas Courjal
Melcthal: Eric Halfvarson
Rodolphe: Michael Colvin
Leuthold: Samuel Dale Johnson
Ruodi: Enea Scala
Director: Damiano Michieletto