Sunday, August 2, 2015

Barihunk duo in Lully's Armide in Innsbruck

Pietro di Bianco & Thomas Lavoie
The barihunks duo of Pietro di Bianco and Thomas Lavoie will appear at this year's Innsbruck Festival of Early Music in Lully's rarely performed Armide. Di Bianco, who was awarded the top prize for men at the Paris Opera Competition last year, will sing the role of Armide's wicked uncle Hidraot, while Lavoie takes on the dual assignment of Aronte and Ubalde.

Lully's Armide premiered at the Paris Opera on February 15, 1685 and was revived numerous times by the company during the 17th century. The opera is in the form of a tragédie en musique, a genre invented by Lully. Unlike most of his operas, Armide concentrates on the sustained psychological development of a character — not the crusader Renaud, who spends most of the opera under Armide's spell, but Armide, who repeatedly tries without success to choose vengeance over love.

Pietro di Bianco sings "De noirs pressentiments" from Iphigénie en Tauride:

The story takes place during the First Crusade, when Armide ensnares her enemy the Christian knight Renaud with her magic spells. At the moment she raises her dagger to kill him, she finds herself falling in love with him. She casts a spell to make 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 reach Renaud and break Armide's spell. Renaud manages to escape from Armide, who is left enraged, despairing, and hopeless.

Performances are on August 22, 24 and 26. Tickets, cast information and additional festival shows are available online.

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