CINEMA Nouveau will be screening Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux as part of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series.
Releasing on Saturday, May 7, Roberto Devereux stars Sondra Radvanovsky as Queen Elizabeth I, Matthew Polenzani in the title role, Elīna Garanča as Sara, the Duchess of Nottingham who is secretly in love with her husband’s best friend, Devereux, and Mariusz Kwiecien as the Duke of Nottingham.
In this first-ever production for the Met, and the climactic opera of Donizetti’s Tudor Queens trilogy that includes Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda, Sondra Radvanovsky plays Queen Elizabeth I, who is forced to sign the death warrant of the nobleman she loves, Roberto Devereux, sung by tenor Matthew Polenzani.
Mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča and baritone Mariusz Kwiecien complete the principal quartet in the bel canto masterpiece.
Conducted by Donizetti specialist Maurizio Benini, the production is by Sir David McVicar who, with this staging, completes an enormously ambitious directorial accomplishment.
McVicar makes his Met debut as set designer with this production, which also features costumes designed by Moritz Junge, lighting designed by Paule Constable, and choreography by Leah Hausman.
The opera is set in England, 1599 and centres on Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex and favourite of Queen Elizabeth I. He is sent to Ireland with an army to defeat the rebellious Irish chieftains. After an unsuccessful campaign, and against the queen’s orders, he returns to England, where his actions are deemed a dereliction of duty.
The story of the opera takes its inspiration from the events of the following two years, which are condensed into a few days.
Roberto Devereux is generally considered one of Donizetti’s finest compositions. Following a commission by the Teatro San Carlo in Naples to write the opera, Donizetti suffered multiple tragedies, including the death of a stillborn child, followed by the deaths of his wife and another child. He wrote most of the score for Roberto Devereux in a month’s time frame.
The opera was first performed in October of 1837 in Naples and then staged across Europe at most of the prominent opera houses. But it was not until 1964 that opera houses began staging this work again, beginning with the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples in 1964. Roberto Devereux was performed in New York City at the New York City Opera with Beverly Sills as Elizabeth and Plácido Domingo as the title character.
Roberto Devereux has its Met premiere at the Met on March 24 this year, marking the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth I’s death, on March 24, 1603.
Roberto Devereux has limited screenings exclusively at Cinema Nouveau and select Ster-Kinekor theatres countrywide, including: Gateway Nouveau in Durban; V&A Waterfront Nouveau in Cape Town; Ster-Kinekor Somerset Mall in Somerset West and Garden Route Mall in George; Rosebank Nouveau and Ster-Kinekor Bedford Centre in Johannesburg; and at Brooklyn Nouveau in Pretoria.
The local screening dates and times are as follows: 5 pm on May 7, 17 and 19; 2.30 pm on May 8; and at 11.20 am on May 10 and 18.
The running time is approximately three hours and 30 minutes, including an interval.
Download the Ster-Kinekor App on any Nokia, Samsung Android, iPhone or Blackberry smart phone for updates, news and to make bookings. For information, call Ticketline on 0861-Movies (668 437).
Watch an excerpt from Roberto Devereux here: https://youtu.be/_0GRpzIz5lY
Watch an interview with director David McVicar on the Tudor Trilogy: https://youtu.be/q7aEGwoZshE
In addition to the production, lovers of opera are invited behind the scenes with the Met’s stars. Singers serve as hosts for the HD series, conducting live interviews with cast and crew members as well as the production teams, giving cinema audiences an unprecedented look at what goes into staging an opera at one of the world’s greatest houses.
The special intermission feature during Roberto Devereux is an original short film, one of the Gallery Met Shorts productions. The film is directed by Genieve Figgis and is set to music from Donizetti’s opera. For Figgis, this was her first time working on an animated project.
“I directed the focus to the paint since I am a painter,” she said. “I wanted the characters in this particular short to feel as though they were alive, similar to Elizabeth I’s portrait in the National Gallery in London. I have always felt that history and art sit together very well.”
The short film features animation by Grace Chan and photography by Aoife Herrity with special thanks to Genieve Figgis Studio, Co Wicklow, Ireland, and Half Gallery in New York.
Watch a clip here: https://youtu.be/HraClDjv4W4