For the First Time in Israel - Verdi's Ernani
The Israeli Opera Presents
January 7- 22, 2011
Georgian bass Paata Burchuladze (Silva), American soprano Michele Crider (Elvira), Italian baritone Carlo Guelfi (Don Carlo) and Italian tenor Pierro Giuliacci (Ernani) lead the stellar cast of the Israeli Opera's new production of Verdi's early masterpiece Ernani.
The Israeli Opera presents the first performances in Israel of Verdi's Ernani, the composer's early success and the opera that put him at the centre of the Italian opera map. Polish director Michal Znaniecki directs this production in a grand classical style featuring leading international Verdi opera singers.
The production, a co-production between the Israeli Opera and the opera houses of Poznan and Bilbao, features a grand set by Luigi Scoglio, period costumes by Kornelia Piskorek and is conducted by George Pehlivanian. Ernani is performed in Italian with surtitles in Hebrew and in English. 12 performances are scheduled between January 7-22.
Ernani is no doubt one of the finest examples of the early Verdi style, the style that follows the bel canto tradition of Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti, yet which presents them in a new light. It features all the musical and dramatic ingredients that will later bloom in Verdi's more mature works. Set in 16th century Spain, Ernani focuses on a lover quadruple in which three men yearn for the love of one lady. But it is a romantic opera that deals first and foremost with the concepts of honor, protection and hospitality side by side with the ongoing battle in Spain between the king and his followers and those who oppose him. It follows the lady Elvira who is in love with the outlaw bandit Ernani yet has to wed the old noble Silva while the King, Don Carlo, is doing everything in his power to win her as his queen.
Ernani is based on the play Hernani by Victor Hugo (1882-1885), one of the most important romantic French playwrights whose works have become the source for many operas including Verdi's own Rigoletto.
Director Znaniecki explains that "all four characters in this opera are associated, and create together an odd net of mutual dependences, which is extremely fascinating for me. That’s why I placed my characters on the stage, in that strange sort of way. Even if they don’t sing, they observe one another, control their feelings, love and rejection. Silva, the noble count turns into a man obsessively blinded by revenge. Ernani gives up again, and again, and is ready to die in the name of love all the time and Elvira, who is torn between a will of being an active, and/or a passive woman. However, the most interesting character for today’s spectator is in my opinion Don Carlo, a King who becomes a Caesar. He is a vulgar, young, vivid man, who turns into a mature leader and resigns from his own happiness in the name of his national duties. He has also a new desire – to gain a place in history. Don Carlo’s aria about his previous life and need to change is the most beautiful part of this opera at all. "
Also performing in the cast are American tenor Hugh Smith (Ernani), Italian baritone Vitorio Vitelli (Don Carlo), Georgian bass Ramaz Chikviladze (Silva) and Israeli soprano Mirela Gradinaru (Elvira).