BERLIOZ, H.: Benvenuto Cellini (Salzburg Festival, 2007)

BERLIOZ, H.: Benvenuto Cellini (Salzburg Festival, 2007)


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- (Disc 1)
Benvenuto Cellini, Op. 23
Libretto/Text Author: Wailly, Leon de

Benvenuto Cellini: Fritz, Burkhard
Fieramosca: Naouri, Laurent
Francesco: Mas, Xavier
Giacomo Balducci: Sherratt, Brindley
Pope Clement VII: Petrenko, Mikhail

Set/Stage Designer: Stolzl, Philipp
Costume Designer: Maurer, Kathi
Lighting Designer: Schuler, Duane
Stage Director: Stolzl, Philipp
Television Director: Morell, Andreas

Date of Production: 2007
Festival: Salzburg Festival
Venue: Grosses Festspielhaus Salzburg
Playing Time: 02:30:00
Catalogue Number: A04001504

"A mix of futurism a la Metropolis, fantasy a la Batman and quotes from Piranesi's Carceri, juxtaposed in the form of photo montages, enhanced with... robots, a helicopter, a shark and the winged vehicle of a pop star Pope," effuses critic Marianne Zelger-Vogt (Neue Zurcher Zeitung). The object of her rapture is not a Broadway musical but a French opera written in the 1830s, Hector Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini. The absence of the work in the operatic repertoire is certainly due in part to its musical excesses: the work is so complex, richly detailed and prolifically imaginative that Berlioz's contemporaries considered it unplayable and unsingable.

This is resoundingly proven false in the 2007 Salzburg Festival production of director Philipp Stolzl, conductor Valery Gergiev (The wild man of music) and a high-caliber cast accompanied by the Vienna Philharmonic and its chorus. Stolzl, above all, has poured his experience as director of music videos, commercials and films into this project, termed "science fiction for Grand Opera" (Suddeutsche Zeitung), "breathtaking" (Der Standard), and "spectacularly successful" (F.A.Z.)

Berlioz hips the action forward by disguising his hero, the celebrated goldsmith and sculptor Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571), as a monk and having him attempt to elope with Teresa, the daughter of the papal treasurer, during the night of the carnival. In the turmoil, a man is killed. Cellini is accused of murder and can only be saved if he finishes a statue for the Pope within a few hours. In a prodigious effort, he melts all his other works to have enough metal and completes the statue – saving his life and winning the hand of Teresa.

Part 1

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