Verdi's Sicilian Vespers from the Royal Opera House

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Sicilian Vespers performed at the Royal Opera House in London. The Sicilian Vespers performed at the Royal Opera House in London. (© ROH / Bill Cooper 2013)

Of all the operas that feature fatal illness, murderous jealousy and bloody revenge, there's one that may be deadlier than them all. At the end of Giuseppe Verdi's The Sicilian Vespers (spoiler alert), just about everyone meets their maker.

Tune in on Saturday at 1 pm to hear the original, French version of this tumultuous work, in a recent production from London's Royal Opera House. It's led by the company's music director, conductor Antonio Pappano, and features soprano Lianna Haroutounian as Hélène, tenor Bryan Hymel as Henri, and bass-baritone Erwin Schrott as Procida.

In the mid-1850's, Verdi was on a creative hot streak that few composers have ever matched. He had just finished three operas that are still among the most popular ever written: Rigoletto, Il Trovatore and La Traviata. On the heels of those successes, Verdi got the chance to write a new opera for Paris: Les Vêpres Siciliennes (The Sicilian Vespers). When the French master Hector Berlioz heard Verdi's Vêpres in Paris, he said the work had "a grandeur, a solemn mastery more marked than in the composer's previous creations."

Program Details:

Conductor: Antonio Pappano
Hélène: Lianna Haroutounian (soprano)
Henri: Bryan Hymel (tenor)
Montforte: Michael Volle (baritone)
Procida: Erwin Schrott (bass-baritone)
Béthune: Jean Teitgen (bass)
Vaudemont: Jeremy White (bass)
Ninette: Michelle Daly (mezzo-soprano)
Danieli: Nicolas Darmanin (tenor)
Thibault: Neal Cooper (tenor)
Robert: Jihoon Kim (baritone)
Mainfroid: Jung Soo Yun (tenor)
Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Comments [6]

concetta nardone from Nassau

Yes, very nice performance.

Nov. 30 2014 01:23 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

FredKeller: Chee-che-re for chick peas in Sicilian. For some reason, the French had trouble pronouncing this.
Best wishes

Nov. 30 2014 01:20 PM
FredKeller from Rio de Janeiro

interesting but what pleas was CHICK PEASE
in siciliano then?

thought this was a great performance especially from
the orchestra and chourus.

Nov. 30 2014 11:27 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Concetta, you have it right, when the French did not know their appropriate Ps and Qs their ignorance terminated their existence. Knowledge is always the key to success. Today's cast was sensationally talented, particularly Bryan Hymel, the hero lover henri. As must be expected, Maestro Antonio Pappano captured and relayed the spirit and dynamic score that has too long been marginalized for lack of the proper casting possibilities. Congratulations to all involved in this production.

Nov. 29 2014 04:47 PM
Adele F (aka AF) from Nassau County, Long Island

Concetta Nardone: That's fascinating about the "chick peas"--thanks for the info!

To ALL opera fans: Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov. 29 2014 02:30 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

CBC: Hope you are well and had a Happy Thanksgiving as I wish all music lovers out there.
I love an opera that ends in a mass murder. This is supposed to be a true story. When Sicily was under French domination, the password used by the Sicilians to ferret out spies was "chick peas" in Sicilian dialect. The French could not pronounce this word correctly. When someone who could not pronounce this word was found, the foreigner was killed. I kid you not.
Best wishes

Nov. 29 2014 06:57 AM

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