Melodramma tragico in four acts - 1847

Composer Giuseppe Verdi · Libretto by Andrea Maffei after Friedrich Schiller's play „Die Räuber“
In Italian with German and English surtitles | New Production

Sunday, 08. March 2020
06:00 pm – 08:40 pm

Duration est. 2 hours 40 minutes · 1. + 2. Akt (est. 06:00 pm - 07:15 pm ) · Interval (est. 07:15 pm - 07:45 pm ) · 3. + 4. Akt (est. 07:45 pm - 08:40 pm )

Prices S , € - /213 /- /- /102 /- /- /-

Premiere at 08. March 2020


This production will be broadcast live on BR-KLASSIK

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Michele Mariotti
Johannes Erath
Set Design
Kaspar Glarner
Olaf Freese
Stellario Fagone
Malte Krasting

Mika Kares
Charles Castronovo
Igor Golovatenko
Diana Damrau
Kevin Conners
Callum Thorpe
Dean Power
  • Bayerisches Staatsorchester
  • Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper
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A famous Verdi piece that hardly anyone knows. A plot bursting under high-pressure from the very beginning. A work, incandescent with love and hate, about people searching for a valve to release their passion, with arias that can scarcely be controlled with their emotional abundance. A German story as an Italian opera: Verdi wrote I masnadieri for a libretto based on Friedrich Schiller’s The Robbers. Karl and Franz become Carlo and Francesco; instead of combating social grievances as in the play, in the opera all the characters struggle to keep up with a family story that is laden with early loss and brotherly rivalry, with suppressed desire and misunderstood needs. Slander, blackmail and knife fights become the stuff of the confrontation. The political conflict of The Robbers is intensified on the personal level in Verdi’s opera. It’s not the age that appears to be decrepit, it’s the people. As a commissioned work by Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, I masnadieri was the first opera that Verdi wrote for a theatre outside of Italy, a work during the upheaval at the end of his “galley years”. In his Macbeth created almost in parallel the fissures are already breaking open; in I masnadieri the subterranean fault lines are just about to explode – a tension that is expressed with every beat of the music, in the solos just as much as in the famous robber choirs. Johannes Erath, who had already staged Un ballo in maschera in Munich with an interpretation that profoundly explores the characters, stages this opera as a chamber play of overflowing dimensions.


Part 1
Following a serious falling out with his father Massimiliano, Carlo Moor has joined a group of morally depraved men. Disgusted at the state of the world and his role within it, he longs to be reconciled with his father and reunited with his fiancée Amalia. But, in response to his letter of apology, his brother Francesco informs him on behalf of his father that his return home would not be desirable and that he is banished. Feeling rejected, Carlo accepts his companions’ offer to form a band of robbers, spreading fear and terror, with him as their leader. They all swear life-long loyalty to one another. Francesco notes the success of his previous scheming. He duped his father into believing that Carlo, though in fact repentant, had become an anarchic brute and then sent his brother a forged reply. He now seeks to murder his father and thus fulfil his fantasy of ultimate power as head of the family. Including Arminio, the family’s servant, in the plot he seeks to avenge himself for the imagined injustice done to him, as second-born son, by the forces of nature. Massimiliano, tormented by self-doubt, is consoled by his niece Amalia, despite having banished her beloved Carlo. As instructed by Francesco, Arminio conveys the fictitious message that Carlo has fallen on the battlefield. His dying wish was that Amalia should marry Francesco instead. Massimiliano collapses from the shock and appears dead. Francesco is triumphant.

Part 2
Amalia mourns Carlo and Massimiliano, trusting that their souls are now reunited in heaven. Meanwhile, Francesco, whom Amalia despises, celebrates with his supporters at the castle. Arminio confesses to her that the message announcing Carlo’s death was a deception and reveals that he still lives. Giddy with happiness she misses the news that her uncle is not dead either. Francesco visits Amalia and declares his love for her. When she angrily rejects his advances he threatens to make her his mistress. In her distress she violently resists. Francesco is forced to relent for the time being but states his intention to take revenge. Rolla, one of the robbers, has been taken prisoner. He is freed by Carlo and his gang but the mission results in many casualties. The consequences of his existence weigh increasingly heavily on Carlo and he believes his life to be erroneous even more than before. His desire to return home now appears to be nothing more than an unrealistic dream. Surrounded by a possibly overpowering horde of pursuers, in the face of certain death, desperation turns to courage.

Part 3
In the most improbable of circumstances, Amalia and Carlo meet again: After he and his robbers have fended off the attack they proceed to his home town on his orders. Amalia has fled the castle and become lost in the forest. The joy at being reunited is exuberant. Carlo learns of his father’s apparent demise from Amalia. Ecstatic at having found Carlo alive, she dreams of being eternally united in the afterlife. Carlo joins in Amalia’s rejoicing, in the knowledge that he will be unable to fulfil her expectations. The robbers celebrate their life of mischief. Carlo attempts to distance himself from the others as much as possible but refrains from taking the ultimate, irreversible step. Francesco has locked his father in a dungeon in the forest and left him to starve to death. Arminio is secretly supplying the old Moor with food when Carlo suddenly appears. Massimiliano does not recognise his son. He tells his seemingly unknown benefactor of his suffering and faints from exhaustion. Carlo instructs his band of robbers to avenge his father.

Part 4
Francesco is losing his mind. He dreams of the final judgement where the scales of guilt are tipped by a lock of white hair belonging to an old man – his father – condemning him to eternal damnation. Francesco enquires of Pastor Moser which crimes are the most severe. The answer: patricide and fratricide – directly and indirectly he has attempted to commit both. He is on the verge of insanity when Arminio, horrified, reports that the castle is under attack. Carlo receives a blessing from Massimiliano just as a son would. The robbers return from the castle where Francesco has managed to elude capture at the last second.  Instead they bring Amalia as their plunder. To the amazement of the robbers, Carlo reveals to Amalia and his father that he is the group’s leader. Amalia reaffirms her love for him, come what may. But, his hope of a future together is dashed by the robbers who remind him of his oath. Should a life with Carlo be impossible, then Amalia would rather die. Carlo can see no other option but to stab his beloved to death and give himself up to face justice.

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Michele Mariotti wurde in Pesaro geboren und studierte Komposition am dortigen Rossini-Konservatorium sowie Dirigieren an der Accademia Musicale Pescarese. Von 2008 bis 2014 war er Chefdirigent der Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, von 2015 bis 2018 Generalmusikdirektor des Teatro Comunale. Gastengagements führten ihn u. a. an De Nationale Opera Amsterdam, die Metropolitan Opera in New York, das Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London und die Deutsche Oper Berlin sowie zu den Salzburger Festspielen. Er trat mit Orchestern wie dem Gewandhausorchester Leipzig und dem Orchestre National de France auf. Zuletzt dirigierte er u. a. Don Pasquale und La traviata an der Opéra national de Paris, Giuseppe Verdis I masnadieri am Teatro alla Scala in Mailand und Semiramide beim Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro. Mit diesem Werk debütierte er bereits 2017 an der Bayerischen Staatsoper. (Stand: 2020)

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