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Charles Gounod

Performance 02/11/2018  |  Opera in four acts and five scenes

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Opera in four acts and five scenes | Text by Paul Poirson and Louis Gallet after the historical novel Cinq-Mars by Alfred de Vigny (1826) | In French with German supertitles | The score for the existing second version was constructed and provided to the Oper Leipzig with support by the Palazzetto Bru Zane

France, 1642. The power-hungry Cardinal Richelieu, first minister and close advisor to King Louis XIII, has ascended to the throne unchallenged. But those still loyal to the King have one final hope: the young Marquis de Cinq-Mars. Richelieu brought Cinq-Mars to the court, and now he is the King’s favorite. Together with his friend Conseiller de Thou and other nobles, Cinq-Mars plots against the Cardinal. Cinq-Mars is strengthened by his secret love for Princess Marie de Gonzague, but Richelieu wants to marry her off to the King of Poland. And the Cardinal, no stranger to intrigue and manipulation, does not want for spies. His stooge, Father Joseph – known as the Grey Eminence -- discovers Cinq-Mars’ treason. He promises that Cinq-Mars will be pardoned if the princess agrees to a political marriage. In order to save Cinq-Mars from death, she agrees to the loveless match. But all is in vain, and the would-be rebel hero dies on the gallows.

With the rediscovery of this long-forgotten opera, a true gem in music history is brought back to the stage. Inspired by historical events surrounding the execution of Marquis de Cinq-Mars, Charles Gounod’s opera is based on the popular 1826 novel by Alfred de Vigny. Gounod’s tale is set against a fiery backdrop of inventive melodies and expressive orchestral passages. Rebellion, love, loyalty, and friendship beyond the grave are mirrored in Bacchanalian cavatinas and duets, catchy choral numbers, charming ballets, and dazzling ensembles. An action-packed historical thriller whose political declaration – woe be to he who wants to change the political status quo – speaks volumes to director Anthony Pilavachi, who returns to the Oper Leipzig after his subtle productions of both Rigoletto and the double bill of The Canterville Ghost / Pagliacci.  


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