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As gifts go, it's pretty grand, so you can understand why the Turks fell for it. It's a huge wooden horse, it probably looked pretty nice, like a kind of exciting moveable statue. Who would ever have guessed that Greek soldiers were inside?

It's a legend that has sparked many modern-day retellings, including this 2004 depiction of the battle of Troy:

Virgil's Aeneid also served as inspiration for Berlioz who wrote both the libretto and music for his opera, Les Troyens. The work is sprawling and it's always been a challenge to mount because of its huge scope and its length. His Damnation of Faust has remained much more popular but I think it's safe to say Les Troyens is the opera that was closest to Berlioz's heart.

At the Met, it has been mounted once a decade, first in the '70s with Shirley Verrett alongside two Canadians, Jon Vickers and Louis Quilico. Here's a bit of that performance:

Les Troyens also opened the 1983 Met season with another all-star cast. In fact, Les Troyens marked Jessye Norman's Met debut, who sang alongside Allan Monk and Placido Domingo:

The Met's 1993 production of Les Troyens didn't have the star power of the '70s and '80s, but did include mezzo-soprano Susan Graham. Here she is in another staged production of the opera, alongside tenor Gregory Kunde:

2003 marked the last time the Met staged Berlioz's Les Troyens. Starring as Dido was the stunning Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. It was to be the last time she'd appear on stage at the Met. She died at the height of her career, struck down by breast cancer. The 2003 Les Troyens also starred Ben Heppner and Deborah Voigt:

And so the 2012-2013 season marks the return of Les Troyens to the Metropolitan opera stage. And it promises to be a very exciting performance. It stars two big Troyens stars of the past: Susan Graham and Deborah Voigt. It's also worth noting that Canadian mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne sings the smaller role of Ascanius.

Here's the principal cast list:

Deborah Voigt, Cassandra
Susan Graham, Dido
Karen Cargill, Anna
Bryan Hymel, Aeneas
Eric Cutler, Iopas
Dwayne Croft, Coroebus
Kwangchul Youn, Narbal

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Fabio Luisi, conductor

Related:

English-language translation of the libretto

Synopsis, courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera

 

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Berlioz's Les Troyens: a once-a-decade celebration

As gifts go, it's pretty grand, so you can understand why the Turks fell for it. It's a huge wooden h…

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onlytony
#1 posted by
onlytony
on Jan 02, 2013

i ll be there

Matthew McFarlane
#2 posted by
Matthew McFarlane
on Jan 02, 2013

It's worth mentioning that this is an early start and a late ending. 12:00 Eastern, 1 PM Atlantic, 1:30 in Newfoundland. We pre-empt both In Tune and Deep Roots this week. If you're heading to the theatre, it'll also be an early start.

Derek Lindner
#3 posted by
Derek Lindner
on Jan 04, 2013

It seems last weeks Tempest was last year's highlight,and Les Troyens 'll be this year's pinnacle.

I was so into Berlioz in my 20's;his music's still left it's mark on me.

Thanks for the early start head's up.

Derek Lindner
#4 posted by
Derek Lindner
on Jan 06, 2013

Once in a lifetime, for sure. I went to the Cineplex for this one;It was a long haul, especially at 9am, but wow the orchestration with the singers and so much chorus was worth it.  Susan Graham's Dido was, as she said,'her Brunnhilda'; the last act was monumental. Was it coincidental that she said that after Voigt said she'll be happy to get on her (German) Horse again.Brian Hymal , coming in a week before, was a delight and joy to hear and thrilled to discover Karen Cargill and, I'm having trouble finding who Anna's son was (sung by female) .  It was nice to 'see' Joyce do the intermission feature and interesting the way they differentiated the Verdi tenor from the Berlioz tenor. Overall, I was totally impressed with the HD and audio, it seemed better than being there, we're so lucky to have the satellite feed.  The dancers were a treat, I hope I can see the Bolshoi.

onlytony
#5 posted by
onlytony
on Jan 07, 2013

thanks for the recomendation derek . i always wondered what the cinema presentations were likeif i get a chance i will fallow through

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