Gábor Bretz – Alfonso D’Este, Ferrara hercege
Already as an established tradition, each year, we can view the concert performance of opera in the Kodály Centre. This time, it is Gaetano Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, opera in a prologue and two acts, whose libretto is based on Victor Hugo's eponymous drama. The melodramatic opera is set in 16th-century Venice and Ferrara, in the world of the red-handed Borgias and aristocrats plotting against each other. The main storyline focuses on Lucrezia Borgia and the young nobleman Gennaro with a mysterious family background. The elephant in the room – the secret – is that Gennero is actually Lucrezia's son. Still, only Lucrezia herself is aware of it, so nobody else understands why she is so well-disposed towards him. Lucrezia's husband wants to have him executed, while Lucrezia wants to take revenge on her enemies, who are also Gennaro's friends. The tragedy is caused by Lucrezia's poison, which alongside his friends, also Gennaro drinks. The duchess arrives too late with the antidote: her son dies in her arms. The popularity of the opera premiering in the Scala of Milan in 1833 is clearly evidenced by it being staged in the two-year-old Pest Hungarian Theatre in Hungarian as early as 1839.
"Beautiful voices, enchanting melodies, exciting plot and thrilling destinies. These are the main features of the universe of the 19th-century bel canto opera. As to the three great names of this repertoire, Rossini is especially beloved for his opere buffe, but Bellini and Donizetti penned several masterpieces of the successor genre of the opera seria, among them, a series of operas with a historical plot. One of these is a rare musical treat, Lucrezia Borgia, performed tonight by international stars. Usually, when it comes to operas based on Victor Hugo’s dramas, we tend to think of Verdi’s Rigoletto and Ernani. This great French poet and writer's drama, written in 1833, Lucrèce Borgia, however, also inspired one of the great composers of the bel canto era, Donizetti, to pen his opera with the eponymous title. It was first staged in the Scala in Milan already in the same year as the drama itself. The plot teeming with secrets and surprises unfold in a prologue and two acts. For the Spanish soprano in the title role, Yolanda Auyanet, the Italian-language repertoire doesn’t only mean Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti but also Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and Leoncavallo. The Romanian tenor, Stefan Pop, winner of Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition in 2010, now starring in the role of the young Venetian nobleman, Gennaro, is, however, a bel canto singer through and through. The concert’s conductor, Edita Gurberova’s frequent partner, a true specialist of the bel canto repertoire, Andry Yurkevych, is already a returning guest in Müpa.”
This production is a joint effort of Müpa, the Pannon Philharmonic, the Zsolnay Heritage Management Ltd.