Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui stages ALCESTE

With his staging of Les Indes Galantes during the 2016 Munich Opera Festival, director and choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui already succeeded in organically combining dance and opera music into one coherent overall concept. Once again he is now developing a new production together with conductor Antonello Manacorda: Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Alceste. Dance and movement also play a key role here: “You will be able to see the music in the movements,” says Cherkaoui as rehearsals begin. The new production celebrates its premiere in the Nationaltheater on 26 May.

Between two worlds

The role of dance in ALCESTE

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For conductor Antonello Manacorda it will be the first new production he conducts at the Bayerische Staatsoper. The team opted here for the extensively revised French version. “It compacts things, forges ahead in music history terms and is a considerable improvement with regard to both the music and the dramatics,” explains Manacorda in an interview for the current edition of MAX JOSEPH. He sees his own role as conductor in this production as an intermediary between the orchestra and the singers: “In this piece in particular the conductor is primarily there to help the singers and the orchestra to find one another, and shaping the piece is then secondary to this.” Dorothea Röschmann will interpret the title role of Alceste. At her side Charles Castronovo can be enjoyed as Admète and Michael Nagy embodies Hercule.

 ALCESTE: Rehearsal pictures

King Admète is dying and only if someone sacrifices themself for him, proclaim the gods, can he survive. His people are horrified, but only one is willing to sacrifice herself – his wife: Alceste. 
For director Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui the motif of self-sacrifice is the key theme and the term “sacrifice” the driving force for the staging. Cherkaoui finds a further motif in the issue of gender equality. For the gods Admète and Alceste are equally worthy, her sacrifice replaces his, while for the people a woman appears to be more dispensable. Herein, says Cherkaoui, is proven the cross-historical dimension of myths. Beyond time and space they have something to say to humankind and can touch it anew time and again.

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