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Malkovich - Bartoli Their Master's
Voice
7 april 2024 Staged Concert
Conductor Gianluca Capuano
Synopsis, text and stage direction Michael Sturminger

Malkovich - Bartoli Their Master’s Voice

Staged Concert
Sunday 07 April 2024 - 19 h
Opéra de Monte-Carlo
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Music by Porpora, Haendel, Vivaldi and others…

World Premiere, in coproduction with Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo

From the heroes of Metastasio’s operas per-formed by castrati to the abundant travesty roles of the Romantic repertoire, we can affirm that in opera gender is a rather fluid concept. Throughout the 18th century no one was surprised to see kings and gods interpreted by artists with ethereal voices, nor, later, to see the ardent Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro disclosing the secrets of his heart in the lustrous colours of a mezzo-soprano’s timbre. 

The concept of Their Master’s Voice was inspired by the mutual desire of two artists who hold each other in high esteem, namely John Malkovich, the memorable Valmont in Stephen Frears’ Liaisons Dangereuses, and Cecilia Bartoli, an artist in a constant search for reinvention. During the performance we shall see the composer and teacher of the finest voices of his time confront his most prestigious pupils: Farinelli and Caffarelli. Both theatrical narration and musical celebration, and the grand arias for castrati of the Baroque era, this “gender clash” will tell us more about the composer-master and his inestimable con-tribution to the glory of these singers and their angelic voices. The Austrian director Michael Sturminger will create this specially designed production which, after Monte Carlo, will be presented during the Barocchissimo week at the Wiener Staatsoper.

Production Team
Conductor | Gianluca Capuano
Director | Michael Sturminger
Sets, costumes & videos | Renate Martin & Andreas Donhauser
Lighting design | Benoit Vigan
Choirmaster | Stefano Visconti
Assistant director | Fabio Andrea Rickenmann
Assistant conductor | Davide Pozzi
Assistant costumes | Sabine Schlemmer
Repetitor | Aurelio Scotto
Cast
Mezzosoprano | Cecilia Bartoli
Actor | John Malkovich
Actress | Emily Cox
Countertenor | Philipp Mathmann
CHORUS OF THE OPÉRA DE MONTE-CARLO

LES MUSICIENS DU PRINCE – MONACO
Artists' biographies
Artistic and technical teams

PRODUCTION TEAM

Conductor
Gianluca Capuano

Assistant conductor
Davide Pozzi

Director
Michael Sturminger

Assistant director
Fabio Andrea Rickenmann

Sets, costumes & vidéos
Renate Martin & Andreas Donhauser

Assistant costumes
Sabine Schlemmer

Lighting design
Benoit Vigan

Choirmaster
Stefano Visconti

Repetitor
Aurelio Scotto

SOLoISTS

Mezzosoprano
Cecilia Bartoli

Actor
John Malkovich

Actress
Emily Cox

Countertenor
Philipp Mathmann

chorus of the OPÉRA DE MONTE-CARLO

Choirmaster
Stefano Visconti

Pianist assistant to the choirmaster & consultant for the musical organisation
Aurelio Scotto

Chorus manager & librarian
Colette Audat

Sopranos I
Galia BAKALOV
Chiara IAIA
Felicity MURPHY

Sopranos II
Rossella ANTONACCI
Letizia PIANIGIANI
Laura Maria ROMO CONTRERAS

Mezzosopranos
Teresa BRAMWELL-DAVIES
Suma MELLANO
Federica SPATOLA

Altos
ORNELLA CORVI
Catia PIZZI
Rosa TORTORA

Tenors I
Lorenzo CALTAGIRONE
Domenico CAPPUCCIO
Nicolo LA FARCIOLA

Tenors II
Pasquale FERRARO
Adolfo SCOTTO DI LUZIO
Salvatore TAIELLO

Baritones
Vincenzo CRISTOFOLI
Luca VIANELLO

Basses
Przemyslaw BARANEK
Paolo MARCHINI
Edgardo RINALDI
Matthew THISTLETON

LES MUSICIENS DU PRINCE-MONACO

Violins I
Thibault NOALLY
Ágnes KERTÉSZ
Andrea VASSALLE
Anna URPINA RIUS 
Roberto RUTKAUSKAS 
Muriel QUISTAD

Violins II
Nicolas MAZZOLENI 
Reyes GALLARDO 
Francesco COLLETTI 
Svetlana FOMINA
Laura CAVAZZUTI

Altos
Diego MECCA
Bernadette VERHAGEN 
Patricia GAGNON
Elisa IMBALZANO

Cellos
Robin Geoffrey MICHAEL
Emilie WALLYN
Antonio Carlo PAPETTI
Guillaume FRANCOIS

Doubles basses
Roberto FERNÁNDEZ DE LARRINOA 
Clotilde GUYON

Trumpet
Thibaud ROBINNE

Oboe
Pier Luigi FABRETTI

Theorbe
Elisa LA MARCA

Bassoon
Benny AGHASSI

Flute
Jean-Marc GOUJON

Harpsichord
Davide Pozzi
Gabriele Levi

Percussions
Paolo Nocentini

PERSONNEL DE SCENE

Stage director
Xavier Laforge

Main stage manager
Nicolas Payan

Lighting manager
Enza d’Auria

Surtitling manager
Sarah Caussé

Orchestra manager
Nicolas Payan

Assistant orchestra manager
Gleb Lyamenkov

TECHNIQUE

Technical director
Carlos Proenza

Technical adviser
Nicola Schmid

Head machinists
Carlo Grenier
Olivier Kino

Deputy head machinists
Yann MOREAU
Franck SATIZELLE

Stage technicians
Morgan Dubouil
Jean-François Faraut
Jean-Philippe Faraut
Schama Imbert
David M’Bappé
Khalid Negraoui

Chief electrician-video
Benoit Vigan

Deputy chief electrician
Gaël LE MAUX

Lighting technicians
Nicolas Alcaraz
Guillaume Bremond
Grégory CAMPANELLA
Marine Genna
Laurent RENAUX

Pupitreurs 
Dylan CASTORI
Grégory MASSE

Head of audio/video
Benjamin GRUNLER

Vidéo technicians
Aron Malek
Felipe MANRIQUE

Head prop maker
Audrey MORAVEC

Accessorists
Roland Biren
Charline Torres

Head of costumes
Eliane Mezzanotte

Deputy head of costumes
EMILIE BOUNEAU

Assistant wardrobe manager
Véronique TETU

Dressers
Christian CALVIERA
Nadine CIMBOLINI
Karinne Martin
Roxane Avello

Chief wig and make-up
Déborah Nelson

Deputy Chief wig and make-up
Alicia Bovis

Hairdressers
Marilyn RIEUL

Make-up artists
Sophie KILIAN
Agnès LOZANO
Francine RICHARD
Patricia ROCHWERG

ticket office

Box office Manager
Virginie Hautot

Deputy Box office Manager
Jenna Brethenoux

Ticket service
Ambre Gaillard
Dima Khabout
Assmaa Moussalli

Musical program

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Ouverture - Nr 5 en Si bémol majeur RV379 III Allegro - Thibault Noally (violon)

GIOVANNI BATTISTA PERGOLESI (1710-1736)
Confitebor tibi domine « Confessio » - chœur, Philipp Mathmann

ANTONIO VIVALDI
Farnace « Gelido in ogni vena » - Cecilia Bartoli

GEORG FRIEDRICH HAENDEL (1685-1759)
Jephtha « How dark, O Lord, are thy decrees » - chœur
Amadigi di Gaula « Desterò dall’empia » - Cecilia Bartoli, Philipp Mathmann, Thibaud Robinne (trompette), Pier Luigi Fabretti (hautbois)

AGOSTINO STEFFANI (1654-1728)
Niobe, regina di Tebe « Amami, e verdrai » - Cecilia Bartoli, Philipp Mathmann, Elisa La Marca (théorbe)

GEORG FRIEDRICH HAENDEL
Orlando Furioso « Sol da te, mio dolce amore » - Cecilia Bartoli, Jean-Marc Goujon (flûte)

GEORG FRIEDRICH HAENDEL
Semele  
« Avert these omens! » - chœur
« Ah me! Too late I now repent » - Cecilia Bartoli
« Oh, terror and astonishment » - chœur
Ariodante « Battaglia » - orchestre

GIOVANNI BATTISTA PERGOLESI
Stabat mater « Quando corpus » - Cecilia Bartoli, Philipp Mathmann

GEORG FRIEDRICH HAENDEL
Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno « Lascia la spina » - Cecilia Bartoli

CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI (1567-1643)
L’incoronazione di Poppea « Pur ti miro »

A few words with John Malkovich

John Malkovich

Have you been to the Opéra de Monte-Carlo before?

We performed The Infernal Comedy at the Palais Garnier in Paris and I have pleasant associations with this wonderful opera house, so I am looking forward to return under Garnier’s roof.

 

You regularly appear in creations of pieces, where live music plays a large role, namely the Casanova project. What are the particular challenges for you in this type of genre – apart from their being newly conceived?

As an actor you have to be aware that music will always be stronger than anything you can do on a stage. You could rather walk through a brick wall than play against music, so I love to play around it.

 

Is it different for you to work with musicians ?

To work with musicians and singers is a fascinating challenge I have been taking more and more during the last fifteen years and the experience is still amazing and gratifying.

 

What do you expect from a new collaboration with Cecilia Bartoli?

I am in good hope to get a place quite close to Cecilia while she is singing. I don’t need to explain what a wonderful gift this will be. I’d gratefully turn the pages of her score, but since she always knows her music by heart, I had to think of something else.

 

Would you like to be a musician yourself, and if yes, which instrument would you play?

Although I dreamed of singing in the Vienna boys choir in my childhood, I later came to the conclusion that music is better without me.

 

What attracts you to Porpora and his times?

The heavenly beauty of the music we inherited, and the history of minds in the great age of enlightenment and reason that suffered from as many contradictions as our own times.

 

How do you see the dilemma between the wonderful art of the 18th century, which we enjoy today, the often splendid lives of the castrati, and the painful contrast with the irreparable physical damage inflicted upon them in their childhood?

It is above my pay grade to say something substantial about those horrific practices inflicted on children, apart from how far mankind can drift away from humanity.

 

Can you let on in a few words what this piece of theatre is going to be about?

Michael is still working on the piece and we are constantly in discussion about it, but if you ask me whether I can let on, in a few words, I am sorry, no, I can’t!

Their Master’s Voice by Michael Sturminger

The curtain opens to the first stage rehearsal of a new opera project - in this case to a rather unconventional pasticcio, conceived by a retired American counter tenor called Jeffrey Himmelhoch, to honor his lifelong idol, the famous 18th century superstar castrato Farinelli.

During the rehearsal, which is guided by young director Rosie Blackwell, Jeff is constantly unhappy with the circumstances and complaining about the production conditions he has been given by the inviting Opera House, since he had experienced much better times, having being a world star in the eighties and nineties.

While Jeff is trying to combine the most beautiful musical pieces of baroque opera history with the personal tragic, heroic and iconic story of his singing idol Farinelli, Rosie is trying to raise contemporary questions about gender and identity within the context, making the point that "Art has no gender!"

 For his show, Jeff has invited a young counter tenor called Lukas Dahlberg, to enact the life of the young castrato but has also been searching hopelessly for a mezzo soprano with a voice high enough to meet Farinelli's vocal range. As such voices are only to be found with the help of miracles, we will never really figure out, how the magical appearance of the unbelievable Maddalena Cigno, the singer who safes "Their Masters Voice" can be understood or explained.

Michael Sturminger