opera 13. 1. 2015

Mefistofeles´ temptation of Faust begins at the State Opera

The only completed opera by the Italian composer and Verdi´s contemporary Arrigo Boito, brings world renown musical personalities to Prague. Mefistofele at the State Opera is a meeting of the sought by Italian conductor Marco Guidarini and bassist Stefan Kocan in the title role. And not just them. Among the soloists are Raúl Gabriel Iriarte, Peter Mikulas, Eva Urbanova, Christina Vasileva or Alžběta Poláčková. Also the State Opera Choir and the Boys' Choir Pueri gaudentes have a vital role in the production. Directed by Ivan Krejci Mefistofele will premiere at the State Opera 22nd and 24th January 2015.

"Mefistofele deals with the most fundamental philosophical issues, questions of desire for eternal youth, undying beauty, boundless knowledge. And increasingly also the modern man is now turning to such questions," says conductor Marco Guidarini who musically prepared the piece. "This opera unveils the truth about ourselves. Faust and Mefistofele represent the metaphor of these desires, fears, illusions and hopes. Listening to Mefistofele is thus a means to participating in a unique expedition of discovery," says Guidarini. He has had a number of musical directions, among others, he conducted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York or Milan's La Scala. His conducting beginnings are associated with the position of assistant to Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the National Opera in Lyon. From 2001 to 2009 he was principal conductor of the Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra in Nice, France.

Peter Mikulas and Jiri Sulženko will also star alongside Stefan Kocan in the title roles for nine evenings during this season. For Kocan it is his third role in Prague over the past few years - he introduced himself as Vodník in a production of Jiri Herman at the National Theatre and two years ago also played the character of Philip II. in Don Carlo at the State Opera. "I'm really excited that the Music Director Martin Leginus managed to secure maestro Guidariniho," says Stefan Kocan. "Mefistofele is one among a handful title roles for bass, and I dare say that it is the toughest in the entire operatic bass literature. On the one hand the role is vocally and dramatically difficult, but equally attractive and varied. It is definitely a great satisfaction for every artist, " says Kocan.

 The director is Ivan Krejci, artistic director of the Chamber Stage Arena in Ostrava, which received the Alfred Radok Award for Theater of 2013. "The devil is a hidden option in ourselves. When we desire something, he is always there and waits patiently; if we give him a hand, he will not let go. And it has its consequences," says Ivan Krejci. "It wasn´t by accident that Arrigo Boito didn´t write Faust, instead he wrote Mefistofele. As a result, we were able to present the opera as Mefistofeles´ performances, which he staged for Faust. He works with theatrical illusions and grants all wishes. He is charming and capable. Who wouldn´t succumb to the world of illusion, when it serves his desire? To be famous, to be young, to be powerful ... but there always eventually comes a point, when each of us must account for his own actions. It's still the same old question of what to do with my life. And here they sing about it beautifully and it's so wonderful, it hurts. A great team met on this production and I am happy that together, we could tempt Faust," says Ivan Krejci.

An extraordinary task stands before State Opera Choir, who studied under choir master Martin Buchta. Choirmaster for choir Pueri gaudentes is Zdena Součková.

The following opera premiere of the National Theatre is a new production of Mozart's The Magic Flute, directed by Vladimir Moravek and musically prepared by Jaroslav Kyzlink (5 and 7 February 2015 at the Estates Theatre). Before this January 27, 2015, the National Theatre is celebrating Mozart's birthday with its traditional Prague concert at the Estates Theatre. Performing this time will be the soloist soprano Jana Šrejma Kačírková, mezzo-soprano and winner of the National Theatre International Competition Antonin Dvorak in 2014 Dorothea Spilger, baritone Svatopluk Sem and bassoonist and winner of the International Competition Prague Spring in 2014, a member of the National Theatre Orchestra Jan Hudeček. The conductor of Mozart's Birthday, 2015, the Robert Jindra.

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