University of Hartford "H" Magazine - Winter 2019

University of Hartford

When the University of Hartford was incorporated just over 50 years ago by business and community leaders, they envisioned a center of education and culture for Greater Hartford. Read more...

WWUH FCC On Line Public File

Persons with disabilities who wish to access the WWUH Public File may contact John Ramsey at:

Visit WWUH on Facebook    Follow WWUH on Twitter

Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Berlioz: Les Troyens, Acts I-III

04/22/2018 1:00 pm
04/22/2018 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

From the days of his childhood Hector Berlioz was fascinated with the stories contained in the Roman poet Virgil's epic poem The Aeneid. As a mature man and composer he resolved to turn this epic into a French grand opera along the lines of, and on the monumental scale of, those of Meyerbeer or the music dramas of Wagner. He slaved away on what he would later decide to call Les Troyens through the years 1856-58.

Berlioz conceived the opera in five acts. Book II of The Aeneid would comprise the first two acts. Books I and IV make up the third, fourth and fifth acts. The opera's action takes in Cassandra's prophecy about the fall of Troy to the Greeks with their wooden horse, the arrival of Aeneas and the Trojans in Carthage, leading to the love affair of Aeneas with Dido, the queen of Carthage, and Aeneas's desertion of the queen when he leaves for Italy to found the city-state of Rome.

Berlioz had a lot of trouble trying to get Les Troyens staged. In total frustration he was forced to settle for a mutilated version of his masterwork to be given as two separate operas at the Theatre-Lyrique in Paris in 1868. Unfortunately, I am forced to follow a similar pattern in presenting the complete Les Troyens as Berlioz intended it to be performed. The first three acts will come this Sunday. There's a new recording of Les Troyens out on four compact discs through Parlophone/Warner Classics. It was made live in concert performance in April, 2017 at the Erasmus Hall in Strasbourg, France. John Nelson conducts the Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus of Strasbourg, the Choir of the National Opera of the Rhine, and the Baden State Opera Chorus. In the singing cast is one of the best mezzo-sopranos of our time, Joyce DiDonato, portraying the Queen of Carthage.