Zurich Opera House tickets 5 October 2024 - Serse | GoComGo.com

Serse

Zurich Opera House, Zurich, Switzerland
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7 PM
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US$ 148

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You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Zurich, Switzerland
Starts at: 19:00
Acts: 3
Intervals: 1
Duration: 3h
Sung in: Italian
Titles in: German,English

E-tickets: Print at home or at the box office of the event if so specified. You will find more information in your booking confirmation email.

You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Cast
Performers
Soprano: Anna El-Khashem (Romilda)
Countertenor: Christophe Dumaux (Arsamene)
Conductor: Enrico Onofri
Mezzo-Soprano: Noa Beinart (Amastre)
Orchestra: Orchestra La Scintilla
Countertenor: Raffaele Pe (Xerxes)
Creators
Composer: George Frideric Handel
Director: Nina Russi
Librettist: Silvio Stampiglia
Overview

Serse is one of the last operas Händel wrote before he turned entirely to writing oratorios. It is one of his most experimental and fantastical works of music theater.

"How bearable pain would be, if a lover could only fall in and out of love at his leisure", sings Serse. This is the sound of true despair, coming from a ruler (the historic King Xerxes) who is used to getting everything he desires. But love, as Serse realizes with anguish, has its own set of rules. Of all people he might fall in love with, it is Romilda, the girlfriend of his brother Arsamene, whom Serse has banished from his kingdom. As a result, all the characters in this work, which is full of intrigue and misunderstandings, undergo a painful process of self-realization. They are confronted with the entire emotional spectrum of anger, grief and jealousy – but also with the greatest bliss of love.

This production is from Nina Russi, who brought Händel’s tragic comedy to the stage of the Theater Winterthur last year with the members of the International Opernstudio. Russi transformed this turbulent family drama into a modern-day telenovela – the NZZ praised the new production as "a colorful and successful translation into the present day". Alongside Christoph Dumaux (Arsamene), Anna El-Khashem (Romilda), Miriam Kutrowatz (Atalanta) and Miklós Sebestyén (Ariodate), this revival features two voices new to Zurich: Italian countertenor Raffaele Pe appears in the title role, and will open the evening with Händel’s famous aria "Ombra mai fu"; and alto Noa Beinart sings the part of Serse’s ex-fiancée Amastre. The Italian conductor and Baroque violinist Enrico Onofri makes his debut leading the Orchestra La Scintilla, which will play on period instruments.

History
Premiere of this production: 15 April 1738, King's Theatre Haymarket, London

Serse (Xerxes) is an opera seria in three acts by George Frideric Handel. It was first performed in London on 15 April 1738. The Italian libretto was adapted by an unknown hand from that by Silvio Stampiglia for an earlier opera of the same name by Giovanni Bononcini in 1694. Stampiglia's libretto was itself based on one by Nicolò Minato that was set by Francesco Cavalli in 1654. The opera is set in Persia (modern-day Iran) about 470 BC and is very loosely based upon Xerxes I of Persia. Serse, originally sung by a mezzo soprano castrato, is now usually performed by a mezzo-soprano or counter-tenor.

Synopsis

Place: Abydos, Persia
Time: about 470 BC

Act 1
A garden with a large plane tree and a summerhouse on the side

The King of Persia, Serse, gives effusive, loving thanks to the plane tree for furnishing him with shade.(Arioso:Ombra mai fu). His brother Arsamene, with his buffoonish servant Elviro, enters, looking for Arsamene's sweetheart Romilda. They stop as they hear her singing from the summerhouse. Romilda is making gentle fun of Serse with her song. He is in love with a tree, but the tree does not return his affection. Serse does not know that his brother is in love with the singer, and entranced by her music, Serse announces that he wants her to be his. Arsamene is horrified when Serse orders him to tell Romilda of his love. Arsamene warns Romilda of what Serse wants - this encourages Atalanta, Romilda's sister, who is secretly in love with Arsamene also and hopes that Romilda will be Serse's and then she can have Arsamene.

Serse tells Romilda that he wants her for his queen and when Arsamene remonstrates Serse banishes him. Romilda is determined to remain faithful to the man she loves, Arsamene.

Outside the palace

Princess Amastre now arrives, disguised as a man. She was engaged to Serse but he jilted her and she is furiously determined to be revenged.

Ariodate, general to Serse and father of Romilda and Atalanta, enters with news of a great military victory he has won. Serse is grateful to him and promises that as a reward his daughter Romilda will marry a man equal in rank to the King himself.

Arsamene gives Elviro a letter for Romilda, telling her how distressed he is at their forced separation and pledging to try to visit her in secret. Romilda's sister Atalanta, hoping to secure Arsamene for herself, tells Romilda that Arsamene is in love with another girl, but Romilda does not believe it.

Act 2
A square in the city

Elviro has disguised himself as a flower-seller in order to deliver his master Arsamene's letter to Romilda, and is also putting on a rural accent. He does not approve of the King's desire to marry a mere subject such as Romilda and makes this clear. Princess Amastre, in her disguise as a man, hears Elviro expressing this and she is aghast at the King's plan to marry another when he promised to be hers (Aria:Or che siete speranze tradite).

Amastre leaves in despair and rage and Atalanta enters. Elviro tells her he has a letter for her sister and Atalanta takes it, promising to give it to Romilda. Instead she mischievously shows the letter to the King, telling him that Arsamene sent it to her and no longer loves Romilda. Serse takes the letter and shows it to Romilda, telling her Arsamene is now in love with Atalanta, not her. Romilda is shaken (Aria:E’ Gelosia).

Princess Amastre has decided to kill herself but Elviro arrives in time to stop her. She resolves to confront the King with his ill-treatment of her. Elviro tells Amastre that Romilda now loves Serse: Amastre is devastated (Aria:Anima infida).

By the newly-constructed bridge spanning the Hellespont and thus uniting Asia and Europe

Sailors hail the completion of the bridge, constructed under Serse's orders, and Serse orders his general Ariodate to cross the bridge with his army and invade Europe.

Serse encounters his heart-broken brother Arsamene and tells him to cheer up, he can marry the woman he now loves, Atalanta, no problem. Arsamene is confused and insists he loves Romilda, not Atalanta. Hearing this, the King advises Atalanta to forget about Arsamene, but she says that is impossible.

Elviro watches as a violent storm threatens to destroy the new bridge. He calms his nerves with drink.

Outside the city in a garden

Serse and Arsamene are both suffering from jealousy and the tribulations of the love lorn. Serse again implores Romilda to marry him but she remains firm in her refusal. The violently furious Amastre appears and draws a sword on the King but Romilda intervenes. Amastre says Romilda should not be forced to marry a man she does not love, and Romilda praises those who are true to their hearts (Aria:Chi cede al furore).

Act 3
A gallery

Romilda and Arsamene are having a lovers' spat about that letter, but calm down when Atalanta appears and admits her deception. She has decided she will have to find another boyfriend somewhere else.

Serse again implores Romilda to marry him and she tells him to seek her father's permission, if he consents, she will. Arsamenes bitterly reproaches her for this(Aria:Amor, tiranno Amor).

Serse once more asks Ariodate if he is happy for his daughter Romilda to marry someone equal in rank to the King. Ariodate thinks Serse means Arsamene and happily gives his consent. Serse tells Romilda that her father has agreed to their marriage but Romilda, trying to put him off, tells him that Arsamene loves her and in fact he has kissed her. Serse, furious, orders his brother to be put to death.

Amastre asks Romilda to take a letter to the King, telling her that this will help her. Amastre bewails her plight, having been abandoned by Serse, who promised to be hers (Aria:Cagion son io).

Arsamene blames Romilda for the fact that he has been sentenced to death, and the lovers again quarrel (Duet:Troppo oltraggi la mia fede).

The temple of the sun

Arsamene and Romilda have been summoned to the temple and they come in, still quarreling, but they are amazed and overjoyed when Ariodate tells them that Serse has agreed to their wedding and he marries them then and there.

Serse enters, ready to marry Romilda, and is enraged when he discovers that it is too late, Ariodate has married his daughter to Arsamene. Serse bitterly denounces Ariodate for that and is even more enraged when a letter arrives, apparently from Romilda, accusing him of faithlessness. When he discovers that the letter is actually from his previous fiance Amastre, whom he jilted, his fury only increases (Aria:Crude Furie degl' orridi abissi).

Serse takes his sword and orders Arsamene to kill Romilda with it; but Amastre interrupts this and asks Serse if he truly wants treachery and infidelity to be punished. Serse says he does whereupon Amastre reveals her true identity as Serse's betrothed. Serse, abashed, admits his fault - he will marry Amastre as he promised, he wishes his brother Arsamene and Romilda happiness in their marriage, and all celebrate the fortunate outcome of events (Chorus:Ritorna a noi la calma).

Venue Info

Zurich Opera House - Zurich
Location   Sechseläutenplatz 1

Zürich Opera House is a main opera house in Zürich and Switzerland. Located at the Sechseläutenplatz, it has been the home of the Zürich Opera since 1891, and also houses the Bernhard-Theater Zürich. It is also home to the Zürich Ballet. The Opera House also holds concerts by its Philharmonia orchestra, matinees, Lieder evenings and events for children. The Zürich Opera Ball is organised every year in March, and is usually attended by prominent names.

The first permanent theatre, the Aktientheater, was built in 1834 and it became the focus of Richard Wagner’s activities during his period of exile from Germany.

The Aktientheater burnt down in 1890. The new Stadttheater Zürich (municipal theatre) was built by the Viennese architects Fellner & Helmer, who changed their previous design for the theatre in Wiesbaden only slightly. It was opened in 1891. It was the city's main performance space for drama, opera, and musical events until 1925, when it was renamed Opernhaus Zürich and a separate theatre for plays was built: The Bernhard Theater opened in 1941, in May 1981 the Esplanada building was demolished, and the present adjoint building opened on 27/28 December 1984 after three years of transition in the Kaufhaus building nearby Schanzengraben.

By the 1970s, the opera house was badly in need of major renovations; when some considered it not worth restoring, a new theatre was proposed for the site. However, between 1982 and 1984, rebuilding took place but not without huge local opposition which was expressed in street riots. The rebuilt theatre was inaugurated with Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and the world première of Rudolf Kelterborn’s Chekhov opera Der Kirschgarten.

As restored, the theatre is an ornate building with a neo-classical façade of white and grey stone adorned with busts of Weber, Wagner, and Mozart. Additionally, busts of Schiller, Shakespeare, and Goethe are to be found. The auditorium is built in the neo-rococo style and seats approximately 1200 people. During the refurbishment, the issue of sightlines was not adequately addressed. As a result, the theatre has a high number of seats with a limited view, or no view, of the stage. This is unusual in international comparison, where sightlines in historic opera houses have been typically enhanced over time.

Corporate archives and historical library collections are held at the music department of the Predigerkirche Zürich.

The Zürich Opera House is also home of the International Opera Studio (in German: Internationales Opernstudio IOS) which is a educational program for young singers and pianists. The studio was created in 1961 and has renowned artists currently teaching such as Brigitte Fassbaender, Hedwig Fassbender, Andreas Homocki, Rosemary Joshua, Adrian Kelly, Fabio Luisi, Jetske Mijnssen, Ann Murray, Eytan Pessen or Edith Wiens.

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Zurich, Switzerland
Starts at: 19:00
Acts: 3
Intervals: 1
Duration: 3h
Sung in: Italian
Titles in: German,English
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