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At La Scala in Milan “Médée” by Luigi Cherubini, for the first time in the original French version
The opera returns to the Piermarini more than 60 years after the last performance, then proposed in the Italian version with Maria Callas as the main protagonist
Organized by: Teatro alla Scala Foundation

Teatro alla Scala Foundation Presents

“ Season 2023/24 | Opera "
The Teatro alla Scala brings to the stage for the first time the original French version of Médée, tragic masterpiece by Luigi Cherubs: on the bill from 14 to 28 January 2024 with six performances, the new staging is entrusted to the musical direction of Michele Leg, and is signed by Damiano Michieletto, which uses scenes from Paul Fantin, of the costumes of Carla Teti and some lights Alexander Carletti. Protagonist in the title role is Marina Rebecca, flanked by Stanislas de Barbeyrac in the guise of Jason, parts that both have already played in the revival of Andrea Breth's show in Berlin with Christophe Rousset. They complete the cast Nahuel di Pierro which will be Crèon, Martina Russomanno like Dircè, Ambroisine Bre it will be Neris, Greta Doveri is Mara Gaudenzi like Confidantes de Dircè.

Inspired by Euripides' tragedy of the same name and Corneille's seventeenth-century tragedy, the Médée of Cherubs, on a booklet by François-Benoît Hoffmann, was presented for the first time at the Théatre Feydeau in Paris in March 1797 in the form of an opéra-comique with spoken recitatives. Greeted by a mere success of esteem, the work consolidated its fame in Germany and Austria in German translation, experiencing great success in the nineteenth century in the version that replaced the speeches with recitatives set to music by Franz Lachner (1855). Translated into Italian by Carlo Zangarini, this is the version staged at Ladder in 1909 in its national premiere, and then established itself in the imagination thanks to the flamboyant interpretation of Maria Callas, triumphant protagonist first at the Maggio Fiorentino with Vittorio Gui and then at the Piermarini in 1953 with the direction of Leonard Bernstein and in 1961 with Thomas Schippers conducting.

After over sixty years of absence, the Florentine composer's Médée now arrives on the Scaliger stage in the French version, but without the spoken dialogues of the original opéra comique, replaced by short engravings, written specifically by Mattia Palma and recorded in French as the voices of the sons of Medea. In fact, it is precisely from the neglected figures of children that Michieletto's vision begins: in a close dialogue with the psychiatrist and essayist Vittorio Lingiardi, the director places his gaze on them, placing them at the center of the show: "What vision and awareness can they have of mother? How do they live their relationship with their father who is now remarrying? […] In Euripides – he explains Damiano Michieletto – there are many moments in which children are present on stage but do not speak. At the same time they have relationships with all the characters, who often turn to them. It's all about them, I told myself. So I decided to give more importance to these children, I tried to tell their thoughts. Instead of the recited dialogues typical of Cherubini's opéra-comique form, I introduced the voices and thoughts of the children. Starting from texts written by Mattia Palma, to whom I had indicated specific points of the libretto, we created a language, imagined the internal world of Medea's children. My intention was to make the two children characters and not lyrical appendices."

The conductor explains the musical part Michele Gamba, “we perform the original version, without Lachner's recitatives. The musical numbers remain intact, according to the composer's indications present on the autograph score and on the parts used at the Paris and Vienna premieres. The intent is to adhere to the dictates of a score that is already hyperbolic in its writing, resisting the sirens of rhetorical hypertrophism. If Cherubini's vocality originates from Gluck's taste for declamation, Médée's expressive audacity is absorbed into a writing strictly interrelated to the orchestral plot. In my opinion, this explains the enormous success that this work already had at the time. The relationship between sound and verb is overcome, in favor of a dramatic interpenetration that rejects the bombastic effect as an end in itself, in favor of an unavoidable theatrical effectiveness.”


(Photocredit ©Brescia and Amisano – Teatro alla Scala)


It will be broadcast before January 14th direct from Rai Radio3 and in deferred from Rai Cultura on Rai5.
At La Scala in Milan “Médée” by Luigi Cherubini, for the first time in the original French version


Director Michele Gamba
Direction Damiano Michieletto

Scenes Paolo Fantin
Costumes Carla Teti
Lights Alessandro Carletti
Dramaturgy Mattia Palma

Characters and performers
Médée Marina Rebeka
Jason Stanislas de Barbeyrac
Creon Nahuel Di Pierro
Say it Martina Russomanno
Néris Ambroisine Bre
Confidantes de Dircé
Greta Doveri, Mara Gaudenzi

Choir Master Alberto Malazzi

Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala

New Teatro alla Scala production


Luigi Cherubini

Opera in three acts
Libretto by François-Benoît Hoffmann  


14 January 2024 at 8pm 'before'
performances on 17, 20, 23, 26, 28 January 2024 at 8pm

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