Friday, March 23, 2018

Stunningly beautiful Gianluca Margheri in Alceste

Gianluca Margheri as the High Priest of Apollo
Italian barihunk Gianluca Margheri just opened in the dual roles of the High Priest of Apollo and Apollo at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale in Gluck's Alceste. He has three remaining performances, which run through March 30th. Tickets and additional information is available online.

Christoph Willibald Gluck, who was largely self-taught as a composer, became known as one of opera's most historically signifigant reformers. His three "reform operas" were Orfeo ed Euridice, Alceste and Paride ed Elena, which eliminated many of the standard practices of the day, which Gluck felt impeded the drama.

''When I undertook to write the music for Alceste,'' Gluck wrote, ''I resolved to divest it entirely of all those abuses, introduced into it either by the mistaken vanity of singers or by the too great complaisance of composers, which have so long disfigured Italian opera and made of the most splendid and most beautiful of spectacles the most ridiculous and wearisome. I have striven to restrict music to its true office of serving poetry by means of expression and by following the situations of the story, without interrupting the action or stifling it with useless superfluity of ornaments ...Simplicity, truth and naturalness are the great principles of beauty in all artistic manifestations.''
Gianluca Margheri as Apollo
Alceste exists in two principal versions: the Italian original written for Vienna in 1767 and the French revision prepared for the Paris performances of 1776. The Teatro del Maggio Musicale is using the Italian version.

In Greek legend Alcestis, daughter of Pelias, was the wife of Athnetus, King of Pherae in Thessaly. She was the only person willing to die in place of her husband, but was brought back from the Underworld by Hercules. Gluck's opera is based on the play by Euripides, with Alcestis saved by the god Apollo. 

Gianluca Margheri backstage as Apollo
The story appears in varied forms, from Chaucer to Rilke and T. S. Eliot. Among the operatic versions of the legend are the tragedie en musique by Lully and Quinault, Alceste, ou Le triomphe d'Alcide (Alcestis, or The Triumph of Hercules) and the treatment of the myth by Wieland with the composer Anton Schweitzer, staged in Weimar in 1773. Alcestis herself is generally taken as the type of female virtue and conjugal love.

Margheri can next be heard as Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari in June and July. 


  1. Very eye-catching indeed. But. . .but. . .Apollo can be bare-chested but not have nipples (at least according to the last photo)? Well, ya win some, ya lose some. (woot)

  2. The pictures you can see are about the Priest, Apollo was full dressed..weird, right? ��