Sendetermin | Sarrasine

Beim ARD Radio­festival

George Petrou © Alciro Theodoro da Silva
8:00 pm | August 31st, 2024 | ~ 3 h

”À la Balzac” is what literary nerds call a story that follows the model of the “realistic” novel. This is just how much the French writer Honoré de Balzac shaped the literary genre. The whole world is reflected in his books, his characters behave like real people, and you look in vain for average characters in his work.

In the novella Sarrasine, Balzac merged two narrative threads into one parable: Madame de Rochefide is sauntering with the first-person narrator at a Paris ball. When the resident of the house appears, something bizarre happens: upon Madame’s touch, the old man begins to scream. Afterwards, she wants to learn all about him. In a secluded room, she finds out from her companion that the old man once performed in Rome as the opera singer Zambinella. The sculptor Sarrasine, who did not know that the singer was a castrated man, fell in love with her.

It is a story about the uncontrollability of love, says George Petrou, who, together with director Laurence Dale, is reviving the novella as a Handel opera. After all, gender-swapping and sexual ambiguities on stage were completely normal in the 18th century: sopranos embodied male title roles, male and female protagonists alike were portrayed by castrati. With their luminously brilliant voices, they were predestined for heroic roles and mistresses and they were pretty much idolized by the audience. Petrou has selected arias that Handel discarded when composing operas. Not because they were of inferior quality, according to the Artistic Director; they were downright masterpieces that Handel discarded at the time for dramaturgical reasons. Petrou collected them for years and has now rearranged them to Balzac’s narrative. He has created a piece of musical theater for the 21st century, with a text published in 1830 and shockingly good music from the 18th century. Balzac would have been thrilled by the “being all one” narrative.

Opera pastiche in two acts by George Petrou and Laurence Dale. World premiere. Music by George Frideric Handel. Based on the novella Sarrasine by Honoré de Balzac. Dialogues arranged by Laurence Dale. Music arranged by George Petrou.

All performances
10.5. 6 pm Premiere
11.5. 6 pm
15.5. 6 pm
19.5. 5 pm
20.5. 12 pm Family version
20.5. 5 pm

Pre-performance talks (en.)
Deutsches Theater Göttingen, DT-X
10.5. 5 pm Dr. Amanda Babington
11.5. 5 pm Dr. Amanda Babington
19.5. 4 pm Dr. David Vickers
20.5. 4 pm Dr. David Vickers
Admission free with valid ticket.

Myrsini Margariti Soprano | Mme de Rochefide
Samuel Mariño Soprano | Zambinella
Juan Sancho Tenor | Sarrasine
Sreten Manojlović Bass-baritone | Balzac

Florian Eppinger Mr de Lanty, Cardinal
Ronny Thalmeyer Viennese FOP
Marina Lara Poltmann Mme de Lanty

FestspielOrchester Göttingen

Chamberchoir of the Universität Göttingen
Antonius Adamske Chorus Master

George Petrou Musical Director

Laurence Dale Director

Giorgina Germanou Stage and costume designer
John Bishop Light designer
Carmine De Amicis Choreography

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