Opera Rara & London Philharmonic Orchestra present


Paul Daniel, conductor

Anne-Catherine Gillet (Zanetta); Virginie Verrez (Le Prince Raphael); Christophe Gay (Cabriolo); Antoinette Dennefeld (Régina); Josh Lovell (Le Prince Casimir); Katia Ledo­ux (Paola); Christophe Mortagne (Trémolini); Loďc Félix (Sparadrap); Opera Rara Chorus

Friday 16 September, 7.30pm

Queen Elizabeth Hall

On Friday 16 September, Opera Rara brings Offenbach’s 1869 comic operetta La Princesse de Trébizonde to London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. Regarded as the ‘grandfather of musical theatre’, Jacques Offenbach’s prolific output showed how high-quality music making could go hand in hand with mass appeal paving the way for the likes of Gilbert & Sullivan and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Offenbach’s popularity today is most notably recognised in the endurance of his ever-popular French cancan, the given name for the ‘Infernal Galop’from Orpheus in the Underworld, his first big hit after founding the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens in 1855. But his popularity at the time cannot be overstated and, the three-act version of La Princesse de Trébizonde,presented in Paris in late 1869, was another huge success, not only enjoying multiple revivals in Paris but in European capitals including Brussels, Madrid, Copenhagen and London where it was translated into English for performances at the Gaiety Theatre attended by the composer himself.

Opera Rara’s Queen Elizabeth Hall performance marks the UK premičre of Jean-Christophe Keck’s new critical edition and the first time that the three-act version of the workin its original French will be heard in the UK. Keck, who is author of Boosey & Hawkes’ complete ‘Offenbach Edition Keck’ (OEK), was also responsible for the edition of Fantasio,which Opera Rara brought to the Southbank Centre in 2014 and committed to disc. The recording garnered an International Opera Award in 2015. Whilst Opera Rara is best known for the restoration and revival of bel canto operas, particularly those by Gaetano Donizetti, the company’s championship of works by Offenbach goes back to its roots: in addition to reviving Offenbach’s Robinson Crusoe (ORC7), founders Patric Schmid and Don White, created a new piece – Christopher Colombus (ORC2) – which set a libretto by Don White to a new compilation of the composer’s forgotten works. Further Opera Rara recordings of Offenbach include Entre Nous (ORR243), a collection of excerpts from more than 20 of the composer’s lesser-known scores, and Vert-Vert (ORC41).

Performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra with a hand-picked cast of singers,La Princesse de Trébizonde will be conducted by French music specialist Paul Daniel, former Music Director of English National Opera and Orchestre National Bordeaux AquitaineA studio recording will be made a week prior to the performance for release in autumn 2023.

On 28 July 1970, Opera Rara put on its first concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall: Arias and Ensembles of Forgotten Operas featured music by Mercadante alongside Bellini, Donizetti, Mayr, Meyerbeer, Pacini and Rossini. While the bel canto period remains at the heart of the company’s output, Opera Rara’s repertoire also includes French grand opéra, French operetta and Italian verismo works. On 28 June, Artistic Director Carlo Rizzi conducted Opera Rara’s 46th restoration project, Mercadante’s Il proscritto, at the Barbican. Opera Rara’s studio recording of Leoncavallo’s Zingari conducted by Rizzi will be released on 23 September.