Friday, July 6, 2012

Liam Bonner to star in neglected Chabrier opera

Liam Bonner

The last time we posted about Liam Bonner, he was part of what we called the "barihunk laden" cast of Kevin Puts' Pulitzer Prize-winning opera "Silent Night" at the Minnesota Opera. Bonner scored a critical success as Lieutenant Audebert in that world premiere performance. Prior to that, we featured him singing the beautiful song "Lost in the Stars" in our tribute to Kurt Weill. If you missed Silent Night, you're in luck, as Bonner will reprise his role with the Opera Company of Philadelphia in February 2013.

Bonner has broken out of the barihunk pack of Silent Night and will be singing the lead role of Henri de Valois in Emmanuel Chabrier’s neglected opera The King in Spite of Himself (Le roi malgré lui) at Bard SummerScape in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. Bonner returns to SummerScape after his successful 2010 performance in the American premiere of Kurt Weill’s Royal Palace.

Nicolas Rivenq sings "Cher pays" from Le Roi malgré lui from Lyons:

SummerScape is performing the first staged revival of the original 1887 version of the opera. The production will receive a contemporary treatment from director Thaddeus Strassberger. The opera will be performed on July 27 and 29, and August 1, 3 and 5 with the American Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leon Botstein. The company will also perform Saint-Saëns’s grand opera Henry VIII. Visit their website for additional performance information.

The King in Spite of Himself  is a comedy about the hapless 16th-century French noble who has been chosen by the Poles to be their king, despite various factions who are plotting against him. Henri is repelled by the weather, the food, and the fashion, and pines for his milieu in Anjou. Farce ensues when he tries to eschew the crown, but fate is sometimes easier to reluctantly accept than to escape.

The opera contains vocal fireworks, an exuberant chorus, lively dances and a clever orchestral score. For those of you who have seen Aida, La Boheme or Carmen once too often, this is a great chance to see an opera that was greatly admired by Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky, but has fallen from the standard repertory. 

Liam Bonner & Quirijn de Lang
For those readers on the other side of the Pond, you can see Bonner as Henri de Valois in October at the Wexford Festival Opera. That performance also features popular barihunk Quirijn de Lang in the role of Laski. Visit their website for additional information.


1 comment:

  1. Saw Mr. Bonner a few weeks ago in Cosi at Opera Theater of St. Louis - a wonderful performance!