NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2020 – Gluck’s Paris and Helen

15/11/2019

BAMPTON CLASSICAL OPERA 2020 – Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Paris and Helen (1770)

Performances:
Gardens at The Grange, Bampton, Oxfordshire: Friday 17, Saturday 18 July
(please note change of venue)
The Orangery Theatre, Westonbirt School, Gloucesteshire: Monday 31 August
St John’s Smith Square, London: Friday 18 September

In Summer 2020 Bampton Classical Opera will present one of Gluck’s major works, Paride ed Elena (1770), the third of the so-called ‘reform’ operas (after Orfeo ed Euridice, and Alceste) in which Gluck collaborated with the librettist Calzabigi to produce a new type of music drama. Paride ed Elena will be given in a new English translation by Gilly French as Paris and Helen. Despite its considerable historical importance and the superb quality of the music, Paris and Helen is very rarely performed and little-known. Bampton’s St John’s Smith Square performance may be its first-ever London staging.

These performances of Paris and Helen follow Bampton’s exploration in recent years of the neglected shorter operas of Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787) as well as those of his renowned pupil Antonio Salieri. Amongst several Gluck works performed have been Il Parnaso confuso and Bauci e Filemone (believed UK premières).

As in Orfeo, Gluck’s rejection of Baroque extravagance and ornamentation produces a new type of word-setting of extraordinary lyricism. Set in Homeric Sparta, the Trojan prince Paris arrives to seek out Helen, promised to him by Aphrodite when he chose her as the most beautiful goddess and presented the golden apple. Despite Helen’s betrothal to Menelaus, Paris ardently woos her in a ravishing sequence of arias, including the exquisite ‘O del mio dolce ardor’, perhaps the only aria to be well-known. Helen is determined to resist despite the immediate impact the stranger makes on her, but, thanks to the persistent and playful strategies of the disguised Cupid, she ultimately succumbs. In an exciting dea ex macchina appearance Pallas Athene sternly warns of the fatal consequences of their illicit love, but her words are unheeded as the entranced lovers depart for Troy.

A contemporary critic of the première at Vienna’s Burgtheater in 1770 described the opera as of ‘strange and unequal taste’ but more recent assessments have deemed it to be a work of rapturous and rare beauty. Scored for four soprano voices with chorus, and with colourful and exciting orchestration, Bampton’s performances aim to bring this enchanting and sensuous work to new audiences.

Paris and Helen will be conducted by Karin Hendrickson, currently Assistant Conductor to the Royal Northern Sinfonia. She has worked with many orchestras and opera companies both in the UK and internationally and has been Assistant Conductor to Marin Alsop for various concerts and projects. In summer 2019 she was Assistant Conductor for the Longborough Festival production of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena.

Please note: there will be a new Bampton venue for performances in 2020: the gardens of The Grange, Bampton.

Further details of Bampton Classical Opera’s production including casting will be announced in due course.

For the Bampton Classical Opera website click here.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Beethoven 250 at London’s Southbank Centre __________________________________
  • NEW! Snape Maltings – January to April 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Saffron Hall in February – August 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2020 – Gluck’s Paris and Helen __________________________________
  • NEW! Surrey’s Grange Park Opera in 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Leeds Lieder Concert Series 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Edinburgh Usher Hall 2019-2020 Orchestral Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycles __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra’s 50th Anniversary Season in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Geneva Grand Théâtre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2019-20 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden __________________________________
  • NEW! City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera House in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Opera in 2019-2020 and New Artistic Director __________________________________
  • UPDATED! ENB in 2019-2020 and Opening of their New London City Island Home __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music and Other Events at the Southbank Centre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Cleveland Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music at the Barbican in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Free Review Summary Newsletter

    Search S&H

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet’s 70th Anniversary Gala Performances – 17 & 18 January 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR HERVÉ NIQUET INTERVIEWED ABOUT GRÉTRY’S RICHARD, COEUR DE LION __________________________________
  • NEW! SOPRANO ANGELA GHEORGHIU IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • NOW REVIEWED! MATTHEW BOURNE’S ROMEO AND JULIET IN CINEMAS FROM 22 OCTOBER __________________________________
  • NEW! CELLIST JOHANNES MOSER IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • CHORUS MASTER STEPHEN DOUGHTY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • REVIEWED! Ron Howard’s Pavarotti in Cinemas 13 July (Preview) and Nationwide (15 July) __________________________________
  • MULTI-FACETED MUSICIAN JOY LISNEY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • ‘MUSICAL MAGIC’: AN INTERVIEW WITH VIOLINIST HENNING KRAGGERUD __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR THOMAS SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH LISETTE OROPESA AS SHE RETURNS TO LA OPERA FOR ORFEO ED EURIDICE __________________________________
  • BARRY DOUGLAS IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month