Composer Giovanni Simone Mayr

Tuesday, 19. October 2010
07:00 pm – 10:10 pm

Duration est. 3 hours 10 minutes · 1. Akt (est. 07:00 pm - 08:10 pm ) · Interval (est. 08:10 pm - 08:40 pm ) · 2. Akt (est. 08:40 pm - 10:05 pm )

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Musikalische Leitung
Ivor Bolton
Hans Neuenfels
Anna Viebrock
Elina Schnizler
Michael Bauer
Rainer Karlitschek
Sören Eckhoff

Alastair Miles
Alek Shrader
Iano Tamar
Ramón Vargas
Elena Tsallagova
Kenneth Roberson
Francesco Petrozzi
Laura Nicorescu
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The deed is incomprehensible to this day: because her husband Jason wants to leave her for Kreusa the daughter of the Corinthian King, the sorceress Medea totally loses all mental and physical control and murders her own children in a frantic act of inhuman vengeance. Since ancient times, the Medea story has been a topos of boundless maternal cruelty, in which love turns to violence, and the rules that bind humans together are abrogated. With her magical and demonic powers and her clairvoyant knowledge Medea is a character who sparks primal fears and thus deserves to be shut out of human society.

With Medea in Corinto, arguably the most important Italian opera composer between Mozart and Rossini, Giovanni Simone Mayr, landed one of his biggest hits in Naples in 1813 – but actually this composer came from near Ingolstadt in Bavaria, transformed himself from Johann Simon to Giovanni Simone in his adopted country of Italy and also became one of the most significant composition teachers of his time. And the music for this downright impossible and unorthodox operatic character – after having been rarely performed for almost 200 years – has now slowly regained its rights, even if its story continues to be massively unsettling.


Act One

Creusa, the daughter of the king of Corinth, is full of foreboding about her future with the powerful warrior Giasone. He has promised to marry her in spite of the fact that she is engaged to Egeo, the king of Athens, and Giasone himself was married to Medea, with whom he has two children.

In addition to this, Corinth is under siege by the Colchians as Giasone, with the help of Medea, has murdered Pelias. Acasto, the son of Pelias, has therefore demanded that the king of Corinth, Creonte, should not grant Medea and Giasone refuge but drive them out of Corinth. But a peaceful settlement is agreed – at a cost: Giasone will have to leave Medea and she will have to leave Corinth. So Creonte gives orders that Medea should be banned and that the preparations should be made for the celebrations to mark the occasion of his daughter’s marriage to Giasone.

For her part, Medea demands that the gods should give her justice for Giasone’s breach of faith. He, however, defends his actions by maintaining that this was the only way in which he could protect Medea and the children from Acasto’s revenge. He shows no understanding for Medea, after all, he maintains, she had herself committed enough crimes and should therefore create a new future for herself, putting great distance between her and her past.
The king of Athens, Egeo, has heard rumours that Creusa is to marry Giasone. When his fears are confirmed, Egeo decides to prevent the wedding with all the means at his disposal. Medea and Egeo interrupt the wedding celebrations using force and want to challenge Giasone and Creonte for breaking their promises. The situation escalates when Egeo tries to abduct Creusa.

Act Two

Creusa has managed to escape and Giasone has also succeeded in overpowering Egeo and arresting him. Creonte therefore wants to continue with the wedding celebrations immediately.
However, Medea calls on the gods of the underworld for help – she wants to concentrate exclusively on her revenge. She decides to be revenged most cruelly on Creusa and Giasone.

Creusa, who in spite of everything that has happened feels sorry for Medea, begs her father not to refuse Medea her last wish: she wants to say goodbye to her children before she is banned. As proof of her change of heart, she tells him, Medea has given her a valuable dress as a present. Creonte agrees to her suggestion. Creusa and Giasone now hope that the conflict can finally be settled.

Medea finds an ally in Egeo. She helps him to escape. He promises to help her with all her plans for revenge and offers her asylum in Athens.

Giasone is happy: his marriage to Creusa has finally been solemnized. Yet he is forced to realize that Medea’s present was part of a cunning plan. The dress was poisoned and Creusa dies as a result. Nothing can curtail Giasone’s anger. When Medea kills their two children, he tries to commit suicide but is prevented from doing so.

Medea flees.

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Ivor Bolton studierte am Royal College of Music und am National Opera Studio in London. Anschließend war er Musikdirektor der English Touring Opera, der Glyndebourne Touring Opera und des Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Gastdirigate führten ihn u. a. nach Wien, Zürich, Frankfurt, Paris, London, New York, Amsterdam, Dresden, Leipzig und Barcelona sowie zu den Festspielen in Glyndebourne, Aix-en-Provence und seit 2000 jährlich nach Salzburg. Von 2004 bis 2016 war er Chefdirigent des Mozarteum-Orchesters Salzburg. Derzeit ist er musikalischer Leiter des Dresdner Festspielorchesters, seit 2015 außerdem Musikdirektor am Teatro Real in Madrid und seit 2016 Chefdirigent des Sinfonieorchesters Basel. (Stand: 2019)

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