Sunday, July 30, 2017

Bass-barihunk Laurence Meikle in Meyerbeer rarity Margherita d'Anjou

Laurence Meikle
Laurence Meikle, who recently made the transition to bass, opened last night at the Festival della Valle d'Itria as Carlo Belmonte in Meyerbeer's rarely performed opera Margherita d'Anjou. Meikle began exploring the transition to bass in 2016 when he performed Mozart's Così fan tutte with Fabio Luisi at the Festival della Valle d'Itria.

Margherita d'Anjou marked Meyerbeer's debut and first real success at the Teatro alla Scala. The opera is loosely based on an actual historical themes about the English Wars of the Roses. The opera was the first by Meyerbeer to mix historical events and personages with fictional characters and situations, as his French grand operas Les Huguenots, Le prophète and L'Africaine were later to do.  It contains opulent virtuoso and broad choral passages, along with several ensembles for male voices, including a trio for bass voices. 

Laurence Meikle
The opera premiered at La Scala on November 14, 1820 and was subsequently performed throughout Europe in Italian, French and German. It received its US debut in New Orleans on  April 17, 1854. This is the first modern era production of the opera that is fully stage, There was a concert performance at the Royal Festival Hall in London in November 2002. A new critical edition of the score was published by Ricordi Berlin in 2015.

From October 29 to November 8, Meikle will return to the Teatro di San Carlo as Osmin in the Strehler production of Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He performed there earlier this year as Grenvil in Verdi's La traviata.

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