Here’s something a bit different. Later this month, the community arts space the Black-E will play host to a rare and important new production by the Liverpool-based company Opera Europe. Dardanus (Controlled) is a new version of a Jean-Philippe Rameau work from 18th century France described as “one of the first great operas”.
The opera is only performed occasionally, and almost invariably in its first version, given in Paris in 1739 at the Académie Royale de Musique. Five years later, composer Rameau revised it, creating in effect an entirely new work. Although considered dramatically superior, this second version of Dardanus has never been revived in modern times, largely because there has been no adequate modern edition of the piece — up to now.
This new production has been commissioned by the European Opera Centre and adapted by the French musicologist, Dr Gilles Rico. The Liverpool dates will be the first time this new version has been heard in the UK. The production is by the acclaimed French theatre director, Bernard Rozet, and stars a cast of young European singers joining young period instrument players conducted by Laurent Pillot, whose previous posts have included associate music director of the Los Angeles Opera Company (working with Placido Domingo), and directing the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.
Kenneth Baird, European Opera Centre’s managing director said: “I am very pleased we are able to bring this great 18th century French opera to our home city of Liverpool – the only place in the UK it can be seen. I am also delighted that we have persuaded the eminent French theatre director, Bernard Rozet to return to Liverpool after his successful production with the European Opera Centre and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 2008. He updates Rameau’s masterpiece to highlight the dramatic strength of what was in effect one of the first great operas of modern times.”
The European Opera Centre’s previous productions have included Donizetti’s Emilia di Liverpool – which opened Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture, and joint presentations with Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. The Centre is based at Liverpool Hope University.
Catch Dardanus at the Black-E next week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday). Tickets are available from the Philharmonic box office at http://boxoffice.liverpoolphil.com or 0151 709 3789. For further information visit www.theblack-e.co.uk.