Palais Garnier - from 21 November to 07 December 2019
2h50 with 1 interval
Surtitle : French / English
Opening night : 21 November 2019
In few words:
Numerous composers have sought to come to grips with this monument of Shakespearian tragedy. Keen to perform the title role of King Lear, the baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau turned to Aribert Reimann who initially declined the proposition. However, in 1975, when Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper approached him, he finally agreed to take up the challenge of this impossible opera. From the sombre orchestral timbres and the highly nuanced vocal lines emerge all the tortuous dissimulations and violence of human relationships. No illusions remain, however, in Calixto Bieito’s cathartic production in which each of the characters is stripped bare: collective hysteria gives way to an old man’s solitude. Destroyed, like a new-born babe, he weeps to find “that we are come to this great stage of fools.”
King Lear has summoned his family and the court; he wishes to withdraw from affairs of state and divide his kingdom between his daughters Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. However, he makes each of their shares of the inheritance conditional on a public demonstration of affection. While the two elder daughters oblige volubly, Cordelia chooses to remain silent. Disconcerted and aghast, Lear strips his youngest daughter of her inheritance, disowns her and immediately gives her hand in marriage to the King of France. The latter ushers her away and her share of the inheritance passes to Goneril and Regan. When the Earl of Kent tries to point out to the king the foolhardiness of his decision, he is exiled. Meanwhile, the other two sisters start plotting to seize power. Thanks to a forged letter, Edmond, the illegitimate son of the Duke of Gloucester, convinces his father to drive out Edgar, the legitimate son. The latter takes flight. Goneril and Regan order their father to give up what still remains of his royal retinue. Lear, enraged, resists their command and curses them. Disguised as a servant, the exiled Earl of Kent offers his services to the king. When Lear refuses to obey his daughters, he is thrown out just as a storm breaks out. With the Earl of Kent and the Fool as his sole companions, Lear wanders the storm-battered heaths. Gripped by madness, he calls for apocalyptic catastrophes. In this wilderness, he stumbles upon Edgar: the latter conceals his true identity by passing himself off as a simpleton named of “Poor Tom”. Defying the orders of Goneril and Regan, Gloucester rushes to rescue Lear and take him to Dover.
The Duke of Cornwall and Regan hold the “treacherous” Duke of Gloucester prisoner. Since the latter continues to support Lear, they gouge his eyes out. Meanwhile, the Duke of Cornwall is killed whilst fighting a servant who has come to the Duke of Gloucester’s defence. The servant is slain by Regan who then reveals to the Duke of Gloucester that he has been betrayed by his son Edmond. Now blind, the Duke of Gloucester understands the reality of the situation and is cast out. Goneril places Edmond in command of her army and takes him as her lover with the promise that he will soon reign at her side. The cruelty of his wife disgusts Albany. Meanwhile, the French army has landed at Dover to reinstall Lear and Cordelia on the throne. In the encampment, Cordelia bemoans the fact that her father has drifted into madness. The blind Duke of Gloucester is escorted to the coast by his son Edgar, whom he does not recognise. Once there, the Duke intends to throw himself into the sea. However, Edgar prevents his father from committing suicide. Lear is brought to the French encampment where Cordelia takes care of him. She assures him that he will find inner serenity and recover his authority in order to bring peace to the land once more. When Lear finally recognises his daughter he begs her forgiveness. Edmond defeats the French army and captures Lear and Cordelia. He gives orders that Cordelia be killed in the utmost secrecy. Goneril and Regan struggle for power. Poisoned by her sister, Regan dies. Edgar challenges his brother to a duel and kills him. Goneril, who believes that all is lost, “becomes her own judge” and kills herself. Lear appears, holding Cordelia’s dead body. He dies of despair.
Lear by Aribert Reimann (Evelyn Herlitzius & Derek Welton)
Lear by Aribert Reimann (Bo Skovhus)
Lear by A. Reimann - Trailer
Lear - Acte 1
Lear - Acte 1
Lear - Acte 2
Lear - Acte 2
Une leçon de théâtre comme l'opéra en offre rarement
Le Point, 24 mai 2016, André Tubeuf
“Lear”, d'Aribert Reimann, magnifie la tragédie de Shakespeare.
Télérama, 26 mai 2016, Sophie Bourdais
Au sommet, l’incroyable performance de Bo Skovhus dans le rôle du roi Lear. L’athlétique baryton danois campe un Titan déchu, dont on ne sait ce qu’il faut admirer le plus de l’incarnation scénique ou vocale.