Dienstag, 05.12.2023 02:09 Uhr


Verantwortlicher Autor: Nadejda Komendantova Theater an der Wien, 27.09.2023, 23:09 Uhr
Nachricht/Bericht: +++ Kunst, Kultur und Musik +++ Bericht 4686x gelesen

Theater an der Wien [ENA] Martyrs is one of the most mysterious operas of Gaetano Donizetti which is also known under the original name "Poliuto". As martyrdom is the main storyline of the opera, it was censored by the Italian authorities of the 19th century and Donizetti could realise the first performance later on in Paris. The performance at the Theater an der Wien brings Poliuto to a new meaning, with the main focus on Armenia.

The opera is set in Armenia during the early Christian era. The story revolves around Poliuto, a Roman nobleman and a convert to Christianity. Despite his faith, he is married to Paulina, who is still a pagan. Poliuto's commitment to Christianity puts him in conflict with the Roman authorities and his own wife. The Roman proconsul, Felice, has been secretly in love with Paulina and plans to expose Poliuto's Christianity to win her over. He arranges to have a statue of the Roman god Jupiter placed in Poliuto's house, intending to force him into making a pagan offering. Poliuto refuses and is arrested for his defiance.

"Poliuto" is considered one of Donizetti's most musically accomplished works. It showcases his mastery of the bel canto style, with expressive arias, powerful duets, and dramatic ensembles. In recent years, "Poliuto" has seen a resurgence in interest, and revivals have taken place in various opera houses around the world, appreciating its musical and dramatic qualities. One of the notable arias from "Poliuto" is "Di quai soavi lagrime," sung by the character Poliuto. In this aria, Poliuto expresses his anguish and internal conflict as he grapples with his faith and the personal sacrifices it requires. The aria showcases Donizetti's ability to convey emotional depth through the beauty of music and is a standout moment in the opera.

The performance at the Theater an der Wien brings to discussion two tragical moments in the history of the Armenian people. One is the prosecution of the christians during the late Roman empire. And the second one is about genocide of the Armenian people by the Turkey. During the late Roman Empire, particularly in the early fourth century, the prosecution of Christians in Armenia was a significant issue. Armenia was the first nation to adopt Christianity as its state religion in the early fourth century, marking a critical moment in the history of Christianity. However, before this official adoption, Christians in Armenia faced persecution and discrimination.

The Armenians faced subsequent challenges due to their Christian identity, especially when the Roman Empire, under Emperor Diocletian and later Emperor Galerius, initiated a series of persecutions against Christians. However, with the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, which granted religious tolerance and freedom to all religions within the Roman Empire, including Christianity, the situation began to improve for Christians in Armenia. This was a a turning point in Armenian history and cementing its Christian identity.

The Armenian Genocide, also known as the Armenian Holocaust, was the systematic extermination and mass deportation of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during the late 19th century and early 20th century. The events took place from approximately 1915 to 1923, during World War I and its aftermath. The Young Turks, a group that seized power in the Ottoman Empire in 1908, emphasized a Turkish nationalist ideology, which marginalized and oppressed non-Turkish populations, especially the Armenians. Economic motives were also at play, as the Armenians were relatively prosperous and owned significant land and property. It is estimated that approximately 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives during this horrific period.

Starting in 1915, the Ottoman government began a systematic campaign to deport Armenians from their homes in eastern Anatolia to the Syrian desert. This process involved forced marches, during which the Armenians were subjected to starvation, exhaustion, and brutal massacres. The deportations were a cover for mass killings, where Armenians were often shot, stabbed, or subjected to other forms of violence. Women, children, and the elderly were particularly vulnerable. The Armenians were taken to concentration camps or massacred at various locations. These camps were inhumane and designed to exterminate the Armenians through starvation, exposure, and direct killings.

Sacrifice has been a recurring theme in the arts throughout human history, serving as a powerful motif that resonates across various art forms, including literature, visual arts, theater, film, and music. It embodies a complex interplay of meanings and emotions, often symbolizing selflessness, devotion, loss, transformation, or redemption. Sacrifice is a prevalent motif in theater and film, often fueling the dramatic tension and character development. The tragic hero, a common archetype, frequently makes a great sacrifice for a cause, virtue, or ideal. In music, the theme of sacrifice is explored through composition, lyrics, and performance. Composers often infuse their works with emotional and narrative elements related to sacrifice.

The theme of sacrifice remains a compelling and multifaceted motif in the arts. Artists use various mediums to depict and explore the emotional, moral, and philosophical dimensions of sacrifice, making it a timeless and enduring topic that continues to captivate audiences and provoke contemplation. And the performance at the Theater an der Wien is capturing this topic while appealing to the senses of spectators through music, stage settings, costumes, video elements and written texts.

The direction was provided by Cezary Tomaszewski who was born in Warsaw und is a theatre and opera director. The role of Paulina is performed by Roberto Magtegna who was born in Palermo and is the winner of several international competitions, including the Belcanto International Competition Vincenzo Bellini in Marseille 2016. The role of Polyeucte was performed by the American tenor John Osborn who is known for his contributions to performances at the most well known opera houses including New York Met, the Vienna State Opera, La Scala in Milan, Opéra national de Paris, Covent Garden in London, the Berlin State Opera, La Monnaie in Brussels, the Moscow Bolshoi and the Salzburg Festival.

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