First ever performance in Frankfurt of Haendel's Xerxes
Xerxes by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) was performed for the first time on April 15th 1738 in London's King's Theatre, Haymarket, but the run was stopped after only five performances. It was Oskar Hagen's German adaptation of one of Handel's most dramatic and musically delightful operas that snatched the work from oblivion. Now it can be heard in Frankfurt for the first time. The structure of text and music in Xerxes, its graphic liveliness is quite unlike any of Handel's more popular operas. Its musical greatness lies in the intensity of the emotional language, which the composer achieved with minimal effort.
The three act story about the unrulable nature of hearts, which begins with Xerxes' famous Largo („Ombra mai fù“), takes place in Persia: young King Xerxes has left Princess Amastre and longs for a new lover: Romilda, the daughter of his general, Ariodate. But she loves his brother, Arsamene who, of all people, is commanded by Xerxes to plead his cause. Arsamene refuses, warns Romilda and is banished by the king, who intends to force Romilda into marriage and have Arsamene killed. His fiancée Amastre, desperate not to lose him, disguises herself as a soldier to go to war. Xerxes is contrite at the end of the complicated story about the misunderstandings and confusions of love, and begs for forgiveness. Romilda and Arsamene and Amastre and Xerxes are reunited.
Constantinos Carydis (conductor) is back at Oper Frankfurt where he led the 2010/11 double bill of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle and Bizet's Carmen in 2015/16.
Tilmann Köhler (director), House Director at the Staatsschauspiel in Dresden from 2009 to 2016, made his debut with the company in 2012/13 with Handel's Teseo in the Bockenheimer Depot, which was followed by Radamisto in the 2015/16 season.
The French mezzo-soprano Gaëlle Arquez (Xerxes), who recently made her triumphant debut at the Vienna State Opera in the title role of Gluck's Armide, took part in both productions. Roles sung by the countertenor Lawrence Zazzo (Arsamene) at Oper Frankfurt have included Odysseus in the 2014/15 World Premiere of Rolf Riehm's Sirenen. Forthcoming engagements include performances of Handel's Rodelinda and Britten's A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the opera houses in Hamburg, Palermo and Madrid. All the other roles are performed by Members of Oper Frankfurt's Ensemble and Opera Studio: Elizabeth Sutphen (Romilda), Louise Alder (Atalanta), Tanja Ariane Baumgartner (Amastre), Brandon Cedel (Ariodate) and Thomas Faulkner (Elviro).
Premiere / First ever performance in Frankfurt: Sunday January 8th 2017, at 18.00hrs in the Opera House Further performances: January 12th, 15th, 18th, 21st, 26th, 29th 2017. Unless otherwise stated, all performances begin at 19.30 hrs.
Tickets cost: € 19 to € 165 (with a 12.5% pre-booking fee when not purchased direct from the theatre)