Armide by Christoph Wilibald Gluck
sung in French
conductor: Eszter Horvath
stage directors: Andrew Pelrine and Nina Scott-Stoddart
pianist: Giancarlo Scalia
vocal coach: Maurren Batt
vocal coach: Angie Aldarondo
Performances August 11, 12, 13 (7:30 pm) and 14 (2:00 pm)
Lillian Piercey Concert Hall
Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts
|Armide by Gluck|
|Armide, a sorceress||Agnès Ménard||Megan Cullen|
|Renaud, her enchanted lover, a crusader|
|Phénice, her friend||Amanda Godin||Vivien Illion|
|Sidonie, her friend||Joanna Loepp Thiessen||Claire Hartlen|
|La Haine, the personification of Hatred||Emma Yee||Joelle Kontos|
|Démone Lucinde||Elizabeth Fast||Clare Lowe|
|Démone Melisse||Melanie Dupuis|
|Artemidore/Le chevalier danois, a crusader||Allan Krisna|
|Ubalde, a crusader||MarKo Hubert|
|Naïde, a water nymph||Annika Williams||Julia Jordan|
|La bergère, a shepherdess||Maria Gallaugher||Megan Wakefield|
In 1777, the French composer Christoph Willibald Gluck daringly decided to set Quinault’s libretto for Armide to music. It was daring, because the last composer who set this libretto was the immortal Lully, and with this choice Gluck was basically throwing down the gauntlet to claim mastery over French opera.
The original story is set in Syria during the Crusades. The sorceress Armide, along with the citizens of Damascus, hope to overcome the knight Renaud and his followers. She manages to ensnare her enemy with her magic spells, but, at the moment she raises her dagger to kill him, she finds herself falling in love with him. Armide casts a spell to Renaud him love her in return. Upon returning to her castle, she cannot bear that Renaud’s love is only the work of enchantment. She calls on the Goddess of Hate to restore her hatred for Renaud, but fails to escape from her feelings of love for him. The Goddess condemns Armide to eternal love. Before Armide can return to Renaud, two of his fellow soldiers overcome Armide’s enchantments, rescue Renaud and break Armide’s spell. Renaud manages to escape from Armide, who is left enraged, despairing, and hopeless.
It’s a story about a clash of cultures and about male versus female power, but most of all it’s about the many ways that love can enchant, confuse, torment and destroy us.
There are many wonderful roles for all voice types, and every role has at least a very nice featured solo. The music is mid-Classical, with flavours of Haydn, early Mozart and solid French style. We’ll be performing it in French from the edition downloadable from IMSLP (the Choudens Edition arranged by Louis Narici).
The participant fee for HSOF 2022 will be $1900 Canadian, which will cover all classes, coachings, and performances. The participating artist is responsible for travel to and room and board in Halifax for the duration of the program.