ROBERT LE DIABLE
Meyerbeer’s Robert Le Diable – Royal Opera House
Co-production with the Grand Théâtre de Genève starring Bryan Hymel and Patrizia Ciofi
When Robert le diable opened at the Paris Opéra in 1831 it was an immediate success. Its blend of romance, the supernatural and grand spectacle was perfectly judged to meet the tastes of the French public and it made Giacomo Meyerbeer the star composer of grand opera. However, by the 20th century, Robert le diable had fallen out of favour and was rarely performed. Laurent Pelly’s 2012 staging brought this classic work to Covent Garden for the first time since 1890.
The production draws on the art and architecture of the Middle Ages to recreate a world of carousing knights, jousting tournaments, courtly dances and supernatural visions. The action is propelled by a battle between good and evil, as Robert’s genuine love for Isabelle, expressed in tender duets, is threatened by the malevolent influence of the deceptively charming Bertram. Meyerbeer’s score is on a massive scale, ranging from introspective arias to grand ensembles and choruses. Highlights include Alice’s poignant aria in Act I, a macabre ballet of ghostly nuns in Act III (an inspiration for Giselle) and the final, impassioned ensemble of Act V, as Alice and Bertram struggle for Robert’s soul.
Dancer (inc. soloist with Bryan Hymel)
Bill Cooper/ROH via Bloomberg