Entertainment » Music

Odyssey Opera Launches New Season with Charles Gounod Rarity

Thursday Aug 9, 2018

One of the nation's most adventurous opera companies, Odyssey Opera, begins its sixth season with the U.S. premiere of "La reine de Saba" by French composer Charles Gounod (1818-1893).

This powerful love story of the famed Queen of Sheba will be presented as a concert performance in French with English subtitles. It marks the Boston debut of singers Kara Shay Thomson (Queen of Sheba) and Dominick Chenes (Adoniram), and the return of Kevin Thompson (King Solomon).

This kick-starts the company's 2018-19 season: a two-part journey with the first in Fall 2018 memorializing the 200th anniversary of Gounod's birth (as well as the 125th death anniversary), and the second in Winter/Spring 2019 inspired by one of the most enigmatic figures in ancient history, Helen of Troy.

"If you enjoy classic French opera, then this is a must-see show for you," exclaims Gil Rose, Odyssey Opera's Artistic and General Director. "We are thrilled to be heralding the Boston classical music season with the resurrection of this forgotten masterpiece by the Father of French grand opera."

Gounod is most famous for his beloved operas, "Faust" and "Romeo et Juliette." His unmistakable melodic gift is at its best in his 12 operas. Inspired by Gérard de Nerval's book "Le voyage en Orient," "La reine de Saba" is a grand opera composed by Gounod in 1862 to a libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré. Balkis, the famed Queen of Sheba, arrives in Jerusalem to meet her betrothed, King Solomon, but the beautiful and powerful Queen instead finds herself drawn to Solomon's master architect Adoniram. What follows is a dramatic struggle between love and obligation, filled with intrigue, jealousy, and betrayal.

The 2018-19 season includes another work by Gounod, "Le médecin malgré lui," (November 9 + 11, 2018) followed by three operas inspired by Helen of Troy: a fully staged production of "Paride ed Elena" ("Paris and Helen") by Christoph Willibald Gluck (February 15 + 17, 2019); a concert performance of "Die ägyptische Helena" ("The Egyptian Helen") by Richard Strauss (April 19, 2019); and a season-ending, fully staged production of the hilarious "La belle Hélène" ("The Beautiful Helen") by Jacques Offenbach (June 14 + 16, 2019).

"La reine de Saba" by Charles Gounod will be performed on Saturday, September 22, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA. Tickets: $25 and Up. To purchase, visit the Odyssey Opera website or call 617.826.1626.


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