Opera

New

Beatrice di Tenda

Vincenzo Bellini

Opéra Bastille

from 09 February to 07 March 2024

from 35 € to 175 €

3h00 with 1 interval

Beatrice di Tenda

Opéra Bastille - from 09 February to 07 March 2024

Synopsis

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False accusation, unjust imprisonment, torture and a death sentence: such was the unfortunate fate of Beatrice di Tenda, a real character who became the heroine of Vincenzo Bellini’s opera. The work was first performed at Venice’s La Fenice in 1833 without any real success, to the great displeasure of the composer who tackled powerful themes such as justice and the aspiration for freedom, in a score with crystaline and lyrical lines. For its entry into the Paris Opera repertoire, Peter Sellars is directing this little-known score, his first Italian opera. With set designer George Tsypin, he sets the work in a steel-walled palace, evoking the domination and surveillance exercised by a ruthless dictatorship.

Duration : 3h00 with 1 interval

Language : Italian

Surtitle : French / English

Show acts and characters

CHARACTERS

Beatrice di Tenda: Duchess of Milan
Filippo Visconti: Duke of Milan
Agnese: Loved by Filippo and secretly in love with Orombello
Orombello: Young activist and folk singer
Anichino: Orombello’s brother
Rizzardo: Agnese’s brother and Filippo’s confidant

First part

Act 1

Filippo is leaving the party early. He can’t stand to see his wife, Beatrice, surrounded by handsome young men whose social services and youth programs she is financing. People are whispering in the hallways that Filippo should just get rid of this woman. Filippo and Beatrice were deeply in love when they were young. She discovered him when he was a penniless young agitator. She used her wealth to support him and his progressive youth movement. They married. Across the years they have aged. He is tired of sharing the throne with her. As she has become more and more idealistic and committed to community development work, he has become a terrifying autocrat, arresting and torturing the rising generation of younger leaders. He is exhausted tonight and falls into a reverie brought on by the voice of his girlfriend, Agnese. She sings into the night about wealth and power and the accumulation of unhappiness. She too is looking for love. She is accompanied on the guitar by Orombello, a committed young activist and folk singer.


As Agnese waits in the dark, Orombello appears again with his guitar, hoping to find Beatrice for a late night finance meeting. Agnese surprises Orombello. She has been watching him. They are committed to the same causes. She is in love with him. Orombello is suddenly in an uncomfortable situation. He makes the mistake of telling Agnese how much he loves Beatrice. Agnese is hurt, offended, and angry. Orombello tries to calm her down. As the conflict spirals out of control, he calls her cruel. She starts screaming and he leaves.

Beatrice sits alone in the garden. She knows it is only a matter of days or hours before she is arrested and disappeared by her husband.
The women whom she has worked with for years gather to lift her spirits. But everyone is overwhelmed by sadness, and the increasing injustice that surrounds them. Beatrice apologizes to her friends, telling them that she is responsible for their suffering and the suffering inflicted on the population by Filippo’s cruel regime. She has been too weak. She leads them in a song of resistance and solidarity: “We will stay strong and challenge the people who are stealing our peace, we will emerge with deeper beauty, simplicity and contentment.” She realizes she will not live to see that day.

As Filippo appears, Beatrice leaves with her women. Agnese’s brother Rizzardo suggests to Filippo that this is an act of open disrespect, that Beatrice is hiding from him. Agnese presents Filippo with Beatrice’s computer filled with photos of Beatrice and Orombello that can be exploited in the media and exploited in Court to support a charge of adultery. Filippo has Beatrice brought to him by armed guards. Through tears, Beatrice lays out to Filippo the suffering and hurt that years of jealousy has inflicted on her. Filippo responds that her withdrawal of love from him hurts everyday, and that the look of superiority and contempt in her eyes and her heart is the real act of violence. He weeps as he cries out to her beautiful and unfaithful soul. He shows her the photos she keeps in her computer. She is stunned by his violation of her private world. And he cannot bear to watch her offer the love that changed his life to a new generation of promising young men day after day in their own palace. She pleads with him not to bring legal charges. The people she is meeting are her husband’s citizens who come to her urgently asking for relief, begging for change, and ready to act. She tries to explain to him that he will destroy himself in Court, first with the shame and humiliation of such a trial, and second with the popular uprising it will provoke. She appeals to another world, calling forth the future that he is trying to prevent. Filippo calls forward his world of cronies, fixers, and secret police.

Filippo’s abused staff watches him tear through the palace, raging. They can see his love and his jealousy will lead to self-destruction. He thinks he is safe. But the staff sees everything. They know his lies, his tricks, his game. They start to organize their own underground counter-movement. They know they probably will not be able to save Beatrice.

Beatrice sits alone in the garden with a picture of her first husband who died young. She begs him to forgive her for marrying Filippo. She was young. She was alone. And now she is more alone than ever. Orombello quietly steps forward and tell her that she is not alone. There is a rising popular movement waiting for her signal. If she will lead them, they are ready to attack the palace, bring down the government and form a new coalition. Orombello has been organizing and talking with people across the country. And one more thing: he is in love with her. Beatrice is horrified. This is the wrong timing for a violent uprising, and a romantic link with Orombello will destroy all of their credibility. But she is in love with Orombello, deeply in love in a way that she cannot even admit to herself. And at that moment, Filippo is watching them both. Witnesses appear and the guilty couple is arrested immediately on charges of adultery. Because Beatrice almost allowed herself one human moment.  

Second part

Act 2:
The men have just left Orombello’s torture session. The women ask them what they saw. The men cannot speak, they groan and look away. Orombello has been strung up inside a canvas bag, raised to a great height, and violently dropped to the floor over and over again, shattering his body and his mind. The butchers drove steel points directly into his eyes. Screaming and mumbling and nearly dead, Orombello finally confessed that he and Beatrice were guilty of adultery. Everyone can only hope that Beatrice will be stronger than her young protégé.

Filippo arrives in Court, telling himself that this trial involves purely legal issues and no personal feelings. Anichino, Orombello’s brother, tears through Filippo’s hypocrisy, assuring him that this show-trial and its corrupt verdict have already provoked wide-spread outrage, and groups are gathering to attack the palace. Filippo places the palace on lockdown. No one may enter or leave.

The jury and the witnesses assemble. They have been bought, and their testimony has been scripted and rehearsed. Agnesewatches the trial in her apartment on television. She doesn’t know why, but she is not happy. Beatrice is called to the stand. She looks around and is happy to see so many of her people. Filippo reads the charges, and Beatrice tries one last time to ask him to stop this trial. Orombello is called. Blind and broken, he can no longer walk, or even stand. He begs the judge to stop the torture. Beatrice reproves him for being weak under torture, and for staining the high ideals of their liberation movement with his confession. Orombello tells her that the pain is unbearable, and he suddenly starts screaming to the whole Court that she is innocent. She sees his courage and is heartbroken by his suffering. She sings to him tenderly as he tries to speak his last words, begging her not to die. Filippo senses a power from these broken people that he cannot explain, and he feels his own heart beginning to open. He panics, and a wave of compassion breaks across the entire courtroom, as the possibility of mercy and forgiveness fill the air. Filippo tries to suspend the trial, but the inflexible judges, obstinately staying on script, demand a new round of torture, this time for Beatrice. Amid violence, uncertainty and outrage the Court is adjourned.

Agnese is also broken, and repentant. Shetries to convince Filippo to reverse the verdict. tries to convince Filippo to reverse the verdict. He gently whispers to her not to worry, Beatrice’s crown is now hers. Agnese knows that in the eyes of God she should be wearing sack cloth, not a crown. She knows in her heart that she is responsible for the death of truly innocent people. Filippo sends her away.

Filippo can’t understand why he feels nothing. He just wants peace. But that will never happen. There is a roaring in his ears. He hears Beatrice’s screams in the underground torture chamber coming up through the floorboards. He can’t take it. Her shrieks of pain destroy him. Anichino comes running to say that Beatrice has not cracked under torture, but the judges still have sentenced her to death. Filippo only needs to sign the document. He cannot. “She welcomed me when I was young and homeless.” Filippo will never again be able to meet the eyes of another human being. He is hated in Heaven and hated on Earth. Finally, he shouts: “She will live!”

People begin to storm the palace. Filippo curses his weakness, and he orders the execution to proceed. Two nurses carry Beatrice from the torture chamber. Her eyes have been gouged out, her hands have been brutally smashed, and she cannot walk. But she said nothing. She gives thanks to God that she said nothing. She overcame overwhelming pain. It is too late for tears. She is dying, and she will be killed, but she can already feel the glory of vindication while the vicious men who did this to her will be despised forever.

Agnese falls at Beatrice’s feet, confessing her crimes, confessing that she loved Orombello, confessing that she framed Beatrice and Orombello, and confessing that she dreamed that every drop of their blood would buy her peace of mind and self-respect. Blind Beatrice screams for Agnese to get away from her. There will be no forgiveness. But wait. It is a terrible thing to die with anger in your heart. The women hear Orombello’s voice in the distance. He is leaving the world. As his body weakens he sings of the strength of forgiveness. Beatrice offers her forgiveness with her tears. She sings to a god of peace and forgiveness. Agnese listens and finds the strength to live.

The guards bury Orombello’s corpse in the courtyard. Beatrice tells the guards that she is ready to die. They raise their guns. She begins singing to them. She is a fugitive slipping out of her shackles, leaving all her pain on earth. The only thing she takes with her is love. They fire.  

Artists

Opera seria in two acts (1833)

Based on the eponymous play by Carlo Tedaldi Fores

Creative team

Cast

Paris Opera Orchestra and Chorus

A coproduction with the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelone
With the exceptional support of Aline Foriel-Destezet

A recording of Beatrice di Tenda will be made, directed by Peter Sellars and produced by the Opéra national de Paris, with the support of the Orange Foundation, patron of the Paris Opera's audiovisual broadcasts. It will be broadcast live on POP - the Paris Opera's streaming platform - on Thursday 15 February 2024 at 7.30 pm.

Media

[TRAILER] BEATRICE DI TENDA by Vincenzo Bellini
[TRAILER] BEATRICE DI TENDA by Vincenzo Bellini (english version)
  • Bellini, belcanto and politics: interview with Tamara Wilson

    Bellini, belcanto and politics: interview with Tamara Wilson

    Watch the video

  • Draw-me Beatrice di Tenda

    Draw-me Beatrice di Tenda

    Watch the video

Bellini, belcanto and politics: interview with Tamara Wilson

Watch the video

4:30 min

Bellini, belcanto and politics: interview with Tamara Wilson

By Marion Mirande

As Beatrice di Tenda enters the Paris Opera repertoire, Tamara Wilson sings the title role, a jewel in the crown of Italian musical romanticism, for the first time in her career.

© Matthieu Pajot

Draw-me Beatrice di Tenda

Watch the video

Understand the plot in 1 minute

1:28 min

Draw-me Beatrice di Tenda

By Matthieu Pajot

  • [TEASER] BEATRICE DI TENDA by Vincenzo Bellini
  • [EXTRAIT] BEATRICE DI TENDA by Vincenzo Bellini (Tamara Wilson, Quinn Kelsey)
  • [EXTRAIT] BEATRICE DI TENDA by Vincenzo Bellini (Theresa Kronthaler, Pene Pati)
  • [EXTRAIT] BEATRICE DI TENDA by Vincenzo Bellini (Chœur - "Ascoltate Dal tenebroso carcere")
  • [EXTRAIT] BEATRICE DI TENDA by Vincenzo Bellini (Quinn Kelsey - "Come t'adoro e quanto")
  • PETER SELLARS about BEATRICE DI TENDA
  • Beatrice di Tenda (saison 23/24) - Sinfonia Orch Seul Piu Moderato

  • Beatrice di Tenda (saison 23/24) - Acte1 Agnese Orombello Al Piacerresisti O Core

  • Beatrice di Tenda (saison 23/24) - Acte1 Filippo Beatrice Qui Diribelli Sudditi

  • Beatrice di Tenda (saison 23/24) - Acte1 Choeur Arte Egual Si Ponga

  • Beatrice di Tenda (saison 23/24) - Acte2 Choeur Ascoltate Dal Tenebroso Cacere

  • Beatrice di Tenda (saison 23/24) - Acte2 Filippo Qui M'accolse

Press

  • The Paris Opera Orchestra impresses yet again with its impeccable performance and beautiful precision.

    Hélène Kuttner, 2024
  • The couple formed by Tamara Wilson and Pene Pati is undoubtedly legendary in this production.

    Denis Sanglard, 2024
  • With Tamara Wilson, a highly sought-after talent on international stages, [Beatrice di Tenda] finds an exceptional performer.

    Florence Colombani, 2024
  • The choirs, admirably conducted by Ching-Lien Wu, emerge from all sides of the immense Opéra Bastille hall.

    Hélène Kuttner, 2024

Access and services

Opéra Bastille

Place de la Bastille

75012 Paris

Public transport

Underground Bastille (lignes 1, 5 et 8), Gare de Lyon (RER)

Bus 29, 69, 76, 86, 87, 91, N01, N02, N11, N16

Calculate my route
Car park

Q-Park Opéra Bastille 34, rue de Lyon 75012 Paris

Book your parking spot
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With Beatrice di Tenda, a rare work he has cherished for many years, this is the first time the American director has worked with the Italian repertoire. Known for placing the human being at the centre of his theatre, Peter Sellars is particularly sensitive to the contemporary echo of Bellini’s opera, underpinned by a political dimension sometimes overshadowed by the tragedy of love.

BUY THE PROGRAM
  • Cloakrooms

    Free cloakrooms are at your disposal. The comprehensive list of prohibited items is available here.

  • Bars

    Reservation of drinks and light refreshments for the intervals is possible online up to 24 hours prior to your visit, or at the bars before each performance.

  • Parking

    You can park your car at the Q-Park Opéra Bastille. It is located at 34 rue de Lyon, 75012 Paris. 

    BOOK YOUR PARKING PLACE.

In both our venues, discounted tickets are sold at the box offices from 30 minutes before the show:

  • €35 tickets for under-28s, unemployed people (with documentary proof less than 3 months old) and senior citizens over 65 with non-taxable income (proof of tax exemption for the current year required)
  • €70 tickets for senior citizens over 65

Get samples of the operas and ballets at the Paris Opera gift shops: programmes, books, recordings, and also stationery, jewellery, shirts, homeware and honey from Paris Opera.

Opéra Bastille
  • Open 1h before performances and until performances end
  • Get in from within the theatre’s public areas
  • For more information: +33 1 40 01 17 82

Opéra Bastille

Place de la Bastille

75012 Paris

Public transport

Underground Bastille (lignes 1, 5 et 8), Gare de Lyon (RER)

Bus 29, 69, 76, 86, 87, 91, N01, N02, N11, N16

Calculate my route
Car park

Q-Park Opéra Bastille 34, rue de Lyon 75012 Paris

Book your parking spot
super alt text
super alt text
super alt text
super alt text
super alt text
super alt text

With Beatrice di Tenda, a rare work he has cherished for many years, this is the first time the American director has worked with the Italian repertoire. Known for placing the human being at the centre of his theatre, Peter Sellars is particularly sensitive to the contemporary echo of Bellini’s opera, underpinned by a political dimension sometimes overshadowed by the tragedy of love.

BUY THE PROGRAM
  • Cloakrooms

    Free cloakrooms are at your disposal. The comprehensive list of prohibited items is available here.

  • Bars

    Reservation of drinks and light refreshments for the intervals is possible online up to 24 hours prior to your visit, or at the bars before each performance.

  • Parking

    You can park your car at the Q-Park Opéra Bastille. It is located at 34 rue de Lyon, 75012 Paris. 

    BOOK YOUR PARKING PLACE.

In both our venues, discounted tickets are sold at the box offices from 30 minutes before the show:

  • €35 tickets for under-28s, unemployed people (with documentary proof less than 3 months old) and senior citizens over 65 with non-taxable income (proof of tax exemption for the current year required)
  • €70 tickets for senior citizens over 65

Get samples of the operas and ballets at the Paris Opera gift shops: programmes, books, recordings, and also stationery, jewellery, shirts, homeware and honey from Paris Opera.

Opéra Bastille
  • Open 1h before performances and until performances end
  • Get in from within the theatre’s public areas
  • For more information: +33 1 40 01 17 82

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3 min

Beatrice di Tenda

Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda: the true/false story

People wrongly accused, jealous lovers and death sentences… Beatrice di Tenda has all the ingredients for a good opera. Will you untangle this complex synopsis? You’re up!

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