classical music, opera, theatre

Jean-Baptiste Stuck: Polidore, 1720

one interval
Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

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On the programme for this evening is the French-Italian composer Jean-Baptiste Stuck's forgotten tragédie en musique Polidore as interpreted by outstanding artists specialising in historically informed performance, the Purcell Choir and Orfeo Orchestra, conducted by György Vashegyi. The plot to this work consisting of a prologue and five acts is an intricate one, featuring a sinister Thracian-Greek alliance, a moving love angle, and the tragedy of a Thracian king bent on revenge — all accompanied by divine sighs and earth-shaking warnings.

Little is known about the life of the Livorno-born cellist and composer Stuck, but his originality is demonstrated by the fact that he was one of the 18th-century musicians who advocated for and successfully employed the fusion of Italian and French styles in their works. His opera Polidore, staged in Paris in 1720 to a libretto by Simon-Joseph Pellegrin, is based on the Greek legend of Polydorus, the youngest son of King Priam. Stuck's work is rich in heart-warming lyrical passages and simple recitatives, with the composer making masterful use of the expressive power of harmonies to paint scenes. The opera, which featured an exceptional orchestral sound world, was revived in 1739, now supplemented with four dances. Continuing the tradition of performing French operas, this evening György Vashegyi once again presents a masterpiece that has fallen into oblivion over the centuries with the help of an internationally renowned cast of soloists. This modern edition of the work comes courtesy of the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles, which collaborated on the creation of the production, specifically for this occasion.

The production is a collaboration between the Orfeo Music Foundation and the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles.

Presented by: Sysart Kft. Orfeo Music Foundation
  • György Vashegyi
  • Ilione
    Hélène Guilmette (soprano)
  • Déidamie/Vénus
    Judith Van Wanroij (soprano)
  • Polidore
    Tassis Christoyannis (baritone)
  • Polymnestor
    Thomas Dolié (baritone)
  • Thétis/A sailor/Théano
    Chloé Briot (soprano)
  • Triton/Sthénélus/A Thracian/Timanthe/A Greek
    Cyrille Dubois (tenor)
  • Neptune/High priest/The shade of Déiphile
    David Witczak (baritone)
  • Purcell Choir
  • Orfeo Orchestra (on period instruments)

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Refreshments – Without the Queue

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