Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Leonard Bernad joins Flanders Opera (and The Four Tenors)

Leonard Bernad

Last April, we introduced Romanian bass-barihunk Leonard Bernad in his scivvies performing Bohuslav Martinů's Mirandolina with the Bavarian Opera Studio. He's opening today in Rossini's Armida at the Opera Vlaanderen as Armida's evil uncle Idraote and the leader of Armida's spirits Astarotte. The opera is best known for requiring four quality tenors and for some stunning music for the soprano.

Bernad joined the young artist ensemble at the Flanders (Vlaanderen) Opera this season after two years with the Bavarian Opera Studio. Upcoming roles with the company include Pharnaces in Zemlinsky's Der Konig Kandaules, Colline in Puccini's La bohème, Lodovico in Verdi's Otello and Joe in Weill's The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny

A complete performance of Armida from Venice in 1970:

Armida is one of the famous 'opere serie' that Rossini composed for Naples. The librettist took his inspiration from Gerusalemme liberata by Torquato Tasso, an Italian literary masterpiece from the 16th century that has served as inspiration for countless opera composers. It takes place against the backdrop of the first Crusade in which Godfrey of Bouillon liberated Jerusalem.

The ad for Verdi's Otello at the Flanders Opera
The opera tells the story of the extraordinarily beautiful sorceress and princess of Damascus, Armida, who wreaks erotic havoc in the camp of the Christian knights. At work here is a mature and unseen Rossini. He combines the martial air of the battle-ready knights with the incomparable bel canto songs by the mysterious Armida. An Armida who, at the end of the opera, in the midst of her vocal pyrotechnics, is consumed by her own daemonic sensuality. An opera in which heroism and languid sensuality alternate.

Performance of Armida run through December 4 and tickets are available online.

Enjoy 18 more barihunks in our new Charity Calendar, which is on sale now. 
Marco Vassalli & Malte Roesner

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