­­­John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique at Musikfest Berlin 2019.
Performance of “Benvenuto Cellini” by Hector Berlioz.
© Monika Karczmarczyk / Berliner Festspiele­­­­
­­­­26 August to 19 September 2023­
Musikfest Berlin 2023:
“Les Troyens” With John Eliot Gardiner in Berlin­

On 1 September, the Musikfest Berlin will present Hector Berlioz’ Grand Opéra in five acts “Les Troyens” at the Berlin Philharmonie Berlin. John Eliot Gardiner, who celebrates his 80th birthday on 20 April this year, will perform this work together with the Monteverdi Choir, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and numerous international soloists in a concertante version according to historical practices – the only German date in their 2023 European tour. Gardiner presented this monumental opera, which was never performed in full during the composer’s lifetime, in Paris for the first time in 2003 – an epochal event! Now the work can be heard in its entirety in Berlin for only the third time, after 1930 and 2010. ­­­­
­­“The absolute standard was set by John Eliot Gardiner, his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the Monteverdi Choir”, Gerhard Rohde wrote in the FAZ-newspaper in 2003 about the first complete performance of “Les Troyens” in the original version and on original instruments, in celebration of composer Hector Berlioz’ 200th birthday. “The result was stunning”. In this year of his 80th birthday, Gardiner takes this monumental work on tour – and Berlin is the only stop in Germany. The conductor previously presented the Monteverdi-Cycle at the Philharmonie in 2017 and Berlioz’ “Benvenuto Cellini” at the same venue in 2019. All operas were presented as half-scenic performances and celebrated enthusiastically by the audience. This year, John Eliot Gardiner will bring Berlioz’ opera “Les Troyens” to the stage of the Philharmonie. This opera had previously been conducted by Donald Runnicles on the occasion of his inauguration at Deutsche Oper Berlin in 2010 and, 80 years previously, on 15 June 1930 by Leo Blech at Staatsoper Unter den Linden. This will be only the third time that this Grand Opéra, which lasts over five hours, will be performed in Berlin: at the Musikfest Berlin 2023 on 1 September at 5.30 p.m. in historical performance practice, in a concert version by John Eliot Gardiner.

In “Les Troyens” Hector Berlioz tells the story of Virgil’s heroes of the Trojan War, including events both before and after the war. In his five-act opera, the French Romantic composer successfully presented the great characters of ancient myth as living, feeling human beings – with a music of visionary beauty and imposing lyricism. The first complete performance was given in December 1890 on two consecutive evenings at the Court Theatre in Karlsruhe – because this musical tragedy contains enough material for two theatrical works. Part One focuses on Cassandre, the soothsayer barely mentioned by Virgil, who is unable to persuade the Trojans of the dangers of the wooden horse. Part Two tells of the tragic fate of Didon. She loves Énée, the tragic hero who has escaped from Troy, who ultimately abandons her in order to fulfil the gods’ mission of founding Rome. “Can you imagine”, Berlioz wrote in July 1856 to Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein, at whose prompting the five-act opera was written: “I have fallen in love, deeply in love, with the Queen of Carthage! I worship her, this magnificent Dido!”

Cassandre Alice Coote mezzo-soprano
Énée Michael Spyre tenor
Didon Paula Murrihy mezzo-soprano
Chorèbe Lionel Lhote baritone
Ascagne Adèle Charvet soprano
Narbal William Thomas bass
Panthée Ashley Riches bass
Anna Beth Taylor alto
and others

Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
John Eliot Gardiner Conductor

Advance ticket sales for “Les Troyens” have started today at 2 pm. Further programme highlights of Musikfest Berlin 2023 have already been published and advance ticket sales for them are already underway.