Mariinsky II (New Theatre)
Performed in French
World premiere: 06 Dec 1890 Großherzogliches Hoftheater, Karlsruhe
Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Music by Hector Berlioz
Libretto by Hector Berlioz after motifs from Virgil’s Aeneid
Musical Director: Valery Gergiev
Stage Director and Set Designer: Yannis Kokkos
Costume Designer: Yannis Kokkos, Thibaut Welchlin
Assistant Directors: Stephan Grögler, Kristina Larina
Dramatist: Anne Blancard
Lighting Designer: Vinicio Cheli
Video Designer: Eric Duranteau
Principal Chorus Master: Konstantin Rylov
Musical Preparation: Natalia Mordashova
French Language Coach: Ksenia Klimenko
Choreographer: Emil Faski
World premiere: 6 December 1890, Großherzogliches Hoftheater, Karlsruhe
First performance at the Mariinsky Theatre: 25 December 2009
Premiere of this production: 28 May 2014
Based on the Théâtre du Châtelet-Paris’ production created by Yannis Kokkos (Premiere: 11 October 2003), in co-production with the Grand Théâtre de Genève
The performance has no intervals
Age category 12+
The Capture of Troy
After ten years of a failed siege of the city of Troy the Greeks are abandoning their camp. The Trojans celebrate their victory on the vacated site. They see a giant wooden horse left by the Greeks, which they regard as a gift to be presented to Pallas Athene. Cassandre, daughter of King Priam of Troy, foresees the fall of Troy and the death of her beloved Chorèbe. Cassandre tries to persuade him to flee from Troy. Chorèbe, however, does not believe her predictions.
The people come together in a hymn of praise to the gods of Olympus for the salvation of Troy; Queen Hécube and Priam himself appear. Amidst the general rejoicing Hector’s widow Andromaque, together with her son Astyanax, gives vent to her implacable grief for her warrior husband. Énée rushes in and relates that the priest Laocoön, who called on the Trojans to burn the wooden horse, has been swallowed up by sea-serpents. This is seen as the wrath of the goddess Athena, enraged at the priest’s blasphemy. Then Priam, ignoring Cassandre’s protests, orders the horse be brought into Troy. The Trojans triumphantly carry the statue towards the city. In despair, Cassandre observes the procession.
The ghost of the murdered Hector appears to the sleeping Énée. He has foreseen the destruction of Troy, and orders Énée to flee the city and travel to Italy where he is to establish a new Troy – Rome. Meanwhile, the Greeks invade the city. The Trojans are prepared to die, but will never surrender to the enemy. Énée and a group of warriors, seizing the treasures of King Priam, flee from blazing Troy. Cassandre prophesies that Énée will become the founder of a new city. Knowing that Chorèbe is dead, Cassandre cries out “Italy! Italy!” and curses her own self in order to escape Greek enslavement. The other women follow her example.
Les Troyens is a tour de force of music that ranges from fiery military marches to intense choruses, passionate soliloquies – such as those of the prophetess Cassandre – and the lyrical love duets of Didon and Énée. It is Hector Berlioz's largest work and he wrote the libretto himself, drawing upon his intimate knowledge of Virgil's Aeneid. To the composer's disappointment, Les Troyens was only performed once in full during his lifetime. It was often presented in shortened form during the 20th century. The Royal Opera's production provides a rare chance to see this epic work in its entirety.