Bastarda

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A ‘Virgin Queen’ with numerous male ‘favourites’, a bastard child who went on to become an adored monarch: Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533–1603) has, for centuries, fascinated historians, poets, playwrights, painters, and composers. Gaetano Donizetti devoted no fewer than four of his operas to the Elizabethan era: Elisabetta al castello di Kenilworth (1829), Anna Bolena (1830), Maria Stuarda (1834), and Roberto Devereux (1837).


In Bastarda, the director Olivier Fredj and the conductor Francesco Lanzillotta have reforged this unofficial Tudor tetralogy to create an ambitious epic, over two evenings of opera, recounting the life of Elizabeth I. From the musical and dramatic highlights of the original works, they have distilled a completely new score and drama, which grapples with the queen’s life story and her complex personality: that of a woman who, despite her power, is torn between affairs of state and her most intimate feelings.


The result is a six-hour operatic marathon, divided into two evenings: ‘For better, for worse...’, tells the story of Elizabeth’s childhood and her sudden accession to the throne, while ‘...Till death do us part’ recounts her inevitable decline. For this epic project, the director and the conductor have surrounded themselves with a number of big names. Urs Schönebaum, for example – who regularly designs for, among others, Robert Wilson and the choreographer Sasha Waltz – to develop the sets and lighting, and the Oscar-winning designer Colleen Atwood (famous for her collaborations with Tim Burton) to take charge of the costumes.

Program and cast

Conductor & musical arrangements: FRANCESCO LANZILLOTTA
 Artistic concept, script & Director: OLIVIER FREDJ
Set design & lighting: URS SCHÖNEBAUM
Costumes: COLLEEN ATWOOD
Video: SARAH DERENDINGER
Choreographer: AVSHALOM POLLAK
Dramaturgy: CECILIA LIGORIO, MARIE MERGEAY
Chorus master: JORDI BLANCH TORDERA


Elisabetta: DAVINIA RODRIGUEZ
Anna Bolena: SALOME JICIA
Percy & Leicester: ENEA SCALA
Enrico: LUCA TITTOTO
Giovanna Seymour & Sara: RAFFAELLA LUPINACCI
Smeaton: DAVID HANSEN
Cecil: GAVAN RING
Amalia Robsart: VALENTINA MASTRANGELO
Maria Stuarda: LENNEKE RUITEN
Roberto Devereux: SERGEY ROMANOVSKY
Nottingham: VITTORIO PRATO


La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
La Monnaie Choral Academy, led by Benoît Giaux


Production: DE MUNT / LA MONNAIE

La Monnaie

The Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie is an Opera house in Brussels, Belgium. Both of its names translate as Royal Theatre of the Mint.


Today the National Opera of Belgium, a federal institution, takes the name of the theatre in which it is housed. Therefore, la Monnaie or de Munt refers both to the structure as well as the opera company.


As Belgium's leading opera house it is one of the few cultural institutions which receives financial support from the federal government of Belgium. Other opera houses in Belgium, such as the Vlaamse Opera and the Opéra Royal de Wallonie, are funded by regional governments.

Johan Jacobs
© Pam & Jenny
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