Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Belgian Revolution muette de Portici amour sacree

And we lost Belgium…

La muette de Portici, the mute girl of Portici, was a very successful opera by Daniel-François-Esprit Auber (1782 – 1871). It was premiered 29th (!!) Februari 1828 in Paris and quickly picked up by opera houses all over Europe. 

As happened at August 25, 1830 in Brussels, at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, as part of festivities in honor of the Dutch king William I, at the time that Belgium and the Netherlands were still one kingdom. A majority of the people of Belgium were not happy with this situation, as there were many cultural and religious (Netherlands predominately protestant, Belgium predominately catholic) differences and irritations between the two regions. There was a strong sense that Belgium was a separate nation, and when the chorus:

Amour sacré de la patrie,
Rends-nous l’audace et la fierté;
A mon pays je dois la vie.
Il me devra sa liberté.

(O holy love for my country, 
Give us courage and pride; 
To my country I owe my life. 
My country owes me liberty.)

(track 14) 

was sung in the second scene of the second act, the crowd dashed out on the streets, 
thus kickstarting the Belgian revolution… 
We throw them a party and they burst out in a revolution as a thank you gift. Party Crashers!! 
Well, no hard feelings from rising star conductor Anthony Hermus, born in the Netherlands, but predominately working in Germany. One to watch, as his guest performance with the Concertgebouworchestra was very successful and his recording of La Muette de Portici was reviewed very well by the international press. The cast is as follows:

Diego Torre ( Masaniello ) Tenor
Oscar de la Torre ( Alphonse ) Tenor
Angelina Ruzzafante ( Elvire ) Soprano
Wiard Witholt ( Pietro ) Bass
Anhaltische Philharmonie Dessau,  Anhaltische Theater Opera Chorus 
Anthony Hermus, conductor

(HTTP link)

Our French troublemaker Daniel-François-Esprit Auber 
Nice sideburns, though... 

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