Medea by Luigi Cherubini
Cherubini’s Medea is the Greek National Opera’s first major co-production with three leading North American opera houses: the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, the Canadian Opera Company, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The production, staged by the celebrated opera director David McVicar, will be presented at the Stavros Niarchos Hall in April-May 2023.
Overlooked for many decades, Italian composer Luigi Cherubini’s Medea -first presented in Paris in 1797- was brought back into the limelight when Maria Callas first performed the title role in 1953 at the Florence May Festival. The revival met with great success and, thanks to Callas’ extraordinary musical and acting abilities, the music world rediscovered a thrilling work so unfairly forgotten. The Greek diva went on to perform the role of Medea on numerous other stages, culminating in her historic 1961 appearance with the Greek National Opera at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, directed by Alexis Minotis and with sets and costumes by Yannis Tsarouchis.
Cherubini, who spent most of his adult life in Paris and made decisive contributions to France’s music scene, wrote the opera on the basis of a French libretto by François-Benoît Hoffman, with spoken dialogue (prose) set between the musical segments (arias, duets, choral sections, and so on). The text went on to be translated into Italian by Carlo Zangarini, with the dialogue set to music by the German composer Franz Paul Lachner. This was the version revived by Callas and is the one being presented here by the GNO.
This rarely performed masterpiece by Cherubini, with a libretto based on Euripides’ Medea, is to be presented in a monumental new production -classic and atmospheric, contemporary but for the ages- directed and with sets by David McVicar, one of the great British stage directors. Costumes are by Doey Lüthi and lighting is by Paule Constable, with projection design by S. Katy Tucker and movement direction by Jo Meredith.
Debuting in the exceptionally demanding title role is a leading soprano of our times, the internationally acclaimed Anna Pirozzi.
This production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the GNO’s artistic outreach.