Fulham Opera’s Die Ägyptische Helena – 19 – 30 October 2021 at St John’s Church, Fulham, London
- Fulham Opera to stage the UK premiere of the Vienna version of Richard Strauss’s Die Ägyptische Helena
- New orchestration by Paul Plummer
- New production directed by Guido Martin-Brandis
- Fulham Opera are the most ambitious fringe opera company in London, having produced Don Carlo, Falstaff, Die Meistersinger and a complete Ring cycle since their founding in 2011
In October 2021 Fulham Opera brings to London that greatest of rarities: a Strauss premiere in 2021. The revised ‘Wiener-Fassung’ of Die Ägyptische Helena will have its first performances in the UK at St John’s Church in Fulham, the home of Fulham Opera.
Die Ägyptische Helena, which to date has only received one other full production and one concert production in the UK, has been given an inventive new staging by Guido Martin- Brandis, and a newly-commissioned orchestration by Paul Plummer reduces Strauss’s massive orchestra to six players. Ben Woodward, Artistic Director of Fulham Opera.
In the title role of Helena is soprano Justine Viani. Heldentenor Brian Smith-Walters is her vengeful husband, Menelas. The sorceress Aithra is played by coloratura soprano Luci Briginshaw, and the prince Altair and his son Da-ud are baritone Oliver Gibbs and tenor Dominic J Walsh respectively.
Fulham Opera’s Artistic Director, Ben Woodward, says. ‘Die Ägyptische Helena is a fascinating piece not only for its dramatic complexity, but for the fact that it remains largely unknown despite containing one of Strauss’s best-known arias, “Zweite Brautnacht”. The cast and musical team we have for this production is a luxury, each of them bringing their vast experience and huge enthusiasm for the music. As with many of our previous productions, Helena is an absolutely massive undertaking, but this is what Fulham Opera does – we want to make the grandest works of opera accessible to people, and doing this piece with a new orchestration in a local venue does just that.’
Director Guido Martin-Brandis says, ‘As a Strauss lover, it is an absolute honour to be directing the UK premiere of this version of Strauss’s opera. It is quite unlike anything else that either Strauss or Hofmannsthal wrote, and it has been a fascinating world to explore with this wonderful cast. What a gift to be emerging out of lockdowns with such a rarity.’
Die Ägyptische Helena marks the final production before Fulham Opera and Regents Opera merge, to create the largest fringe opera company in London.
Helena – Justine Viani
Menelas – Brian Smith Walters
Aithra – Luci Briginshaw
Altair – Oliver Gibbs (30 October Andrew Mayor)
Da-ud – Dominic J Walsh
The Omniscient Mussel – Ingeborg Børch (28 October Liza Graham)
First Serving Maid – Christine Buras
Second Serving Maid – Natasha Elliott
Hermione – Liz Stock
Chorus of Elves – Maggie Cooper, Rosalind O’Dowd, Corrine Hart, Rebecca Moulton, Donya Rafati
Chorus of Slaves – Kester Guy-Briscoe, Jack Stone, Robin Whitehouse, Graham Wheeler
DIRECTOR – Guido Martin-Brandis
CONDUCTOR – Ben Woodward (24 October John Paul Jennings)
Tuesday 19 October at 19.30, Friday 22 October at 19.30, Sunday 24 October at 18.00,
Tuesday 26 October at 19.30, Thursday 28 October at 19.30, Saturday 30 October at 19.30
TICKETS – £35, student discount available
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT FULHAM OPERA CLICK HERE
VENUE – St John’s Church, North End Road, Fulham, London SW6 1PB
(about five minutes’ walk from Fulham Broadway Station)