The Spanish conductor Jesus Lopez-Cobos studied philosophy in Madrid and conducting with Franco Ferrara and Hans Swarowsky. He has conducted at festivals in Edinburgh, Salzburg, Berlin, Prague, Lucerrne, Montreux, Tanglewood, Ravinia as well as at the world´s most renowned opera stages like La Scala, the ROH Covent Garden, in Paris, at the Met or in Japan.
From 1981 to 1990 he was GMD of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, 1984 to 1988 MD of the Spanish National Orchestra, 1981 to 1986 Permanent Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, 1986 until 2001 chief conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, 1990 to 2000 chief conductor of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, 2003 to 2010 Music Director of the Teatro Real, since 2011 he has been Permanent Guest Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia.
He has collaborated with the world´s most renowned orchestras, among them the Berliner and Wiener Philharmoniker, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Münchner Philharmoniker, the Cleveland Orchestra. He made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in1980 with L’elisir d’amore and has since then also conducted La Bohème, Tosca, Nabucco, Manon, La forza del destino here.
PIOTR BECZALA is one of the main representatives of Lyrical Tenors; he has celebrated success at the New York Met, in Chicago and San Francisco, at the Munich Staatsoper, ROH Covent Garden, the Paris Opéra National, the Milan Scala, the Berlin Staatsoper as well as the Festivals in Salzburg, Baden-Baden and Montpellier. Born and studied in south Poland, he was then made an ensemble member at the Landestheater Linz and then at the Opera in Zurich. He made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 1996 with Anton Bruckner’s Te Deum and also as Tamino, Belmonte, Alfredo, Faust, Rodolfo, Roméo and Edgardo. His current and central repertoire also include Verdi’s Duca and Riccardo, Massenets Werther, Gounod’s Roméo, Tschaikowskijs Lenski and Vaudémont, Smetanas Jenik as well since recently Massenets Des Grieux. Recent engagements include, among others, in Munich, the Met, the Scala, in Salzburg and in Baden-Baden. He is also a highly demanded concert singer and works regularly with leading conductors.
GEORGE PETEAN was born in Cluj-Napoca and studied piano, trombone and vocal arts. He made his stage debut at the opera Cluj-Napoca in 1997 as Don Giovanni. In 1999 he was awarded the Grand Prix of the international singing competition Hariclea Darclée. He made his international breakthrough with La Bohème at the Teatro dell´Opera di Roma in the year 2000. Between 2002 and 2010 he was a member of the Hamburgische Staatsoper. At the same time he appears on the world´s most renowned opera stages, for example at the ROH Covent Garden, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Opera Frankfurt, Opéra de Paris, Bayerische Staatsoper, Bregenzer Festspiele, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Monte Carlo, Met, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Aalto Theater Essen, Lausanne, Antwerpen, Gent, Berlin Staatsoper, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Rome. In 2012 he successfully debuted at the opera in Rome in the title role of Simon Boccanegra under the direction of Riccardo Muti. In 2013 he sang Carlo Gérard at the Avery Fisher Hall in New York and Attila at the Theater an der Wien. He made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2001 as Barbiere- Figaro and has since then also sung Rodrigue, Posa, Ankarström, Enrico here.
Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, singer Kristin Lewis graduated at the University of Central Arkansas as Bachelor of Arts. During her masters programme for vocal arts at the University of Tennesse School of Music in Knoxville, she was member of the Knoxville Opera young Artist´s Studio. She is two-time finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has won several other competitions. Kristin Lewis currently lives in Vienna and studies with Carol Byers. Performances lead the singer to the Bayerische Staatsoper Munchen, La Fenice in Venedig, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Savonlinna Festival, to Kairo, Lyon, Rome, Padua, to the Semperoper in Dresden, the Arena di Verona, to Naples and St. Petersburg. Her repertoire includes Leonora (Il trovatore), title roles in Aida, Sister Rose (Dead man walking), Liu (Turandot), Serena (Porgy and Bess), Mimi and Musetta (La Bohème), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), the title role in Tosca, Amelia (Un ballo in maschera), the title role in , Micaela (Carmen). Kristin Lewis is also a successful concert singer.
ACT 1, Scene 1
Courtiers, delegates, officers and citizens are waiting for an audience to begin at the king´s palace in Stockholm. Most of them are favourably disposed towards the king, only Count de Horn and Count Warting and their supporters are eager to take his life. Gustavus III enters and accepts the petitions of his subjects. Oscar the page gives him a list of the guests invited to a masked ball. To his delight, the king fins that the list includes the name of Amelia, with whom he is secretely in love. Amelia, however, is the wife of his secretary and most faithful friend Count René Ankarström. After the gathering has dispersed at a sign from the king, Count Akarström enters. He finds the king in a pensive and gloomy mood, but attributes this to worry about the conspiracy engineered by Horn and Warting. However, the king does not wish to hear any more about it, although Ankarström persistently warns him of the impending dangers. Oscars enters with the supreme judge, who asks the king to sign a sentence of banishment against the soothsayer Ulrica Arvedson. When asked his opinion by the king, Oscar defends the soothsayer in an ironic ballad, thus awakening the king´s curiosity. Following a sudden impulse, he invites those waiting in the antechamber to visit the soothsayer three hours after sunset. Disguised as a fisherman, he himself intends to have his future told. The courtiers look forward to some fun, while Ankarström again warns the king against the ploters, who hope to have an opportunity to make an attempt on the king´s life.
ACT1, Scene 2
The common people have gathered together at the soothsayer´s abode. Fascinated, they watch while Madame Arvedson, as if in a trance, conjures up the “King of the Abyss”. The king enters, but is pushed back by the crowd. Ulrica is now ready to make her prophecies, whereupon the sailer Christian steps forward, wanting to know whether and when he will be rewarded for fifteen years faithful service to the king. Ulrica promises him promotion and financial reward. The king immediately makes this come true: unnoticed, he slips the sailor an officer´s commission and a roll of money. The sailor soon discovers these, to the great pleasure of the crowd. One of Amelia´s servants asks to be admitted and begs the soothsayer for a private audition for his lady. The king hides as the people are sent out. He thus discovers that although Amelia secretly loves him, she wants Ulrica to give her a remedy for this love. Ulrica gives her advice: Amelia must herself look for a certain herb at midnight at the place of execution beneath the gallows. She intends to go to this terrible place the same night, and the king resolves to follow her there. A crowd of curious onlookers, including members of the court and the plotters in disguise, force their way in. Amelia retires. In a cheerful canzonet, the king describes the dangers of life as a fisherman, and is the first to have his palm read. After some initial hesitation, Ulrica predicts his imminent death at the hands of a friend. Everybody is appalled, including the plotters, and only the king himself laughs at the gullibility of his court. At his insistence the soothsayer also names the murderer: it will be the person who first gives him his hand. Nobody dares to refute the prophecy when Ankarström appears. Unsuspectingly, and to the general relief of the onlookers, he shakes the king´s hand in welcome. Ulrica recognizes the king, who has decided against her banishment and makes her gift. Word has spread that the king is present, and an enthusiastic crowd of people forces its ways in and pays homage to the monarch.
At midnight Amelia arrives at the place of execution to pick the herb oh which Ulrica has told her. The king, having secretly followed her, steps forwards and confesses his love for her. At this insistence, Amelia is moved to make a confession of love, but legs him not to forget that she is the wife of a loyal friend. Suddenly Count Ankarström approaches to warn the king that the plotters have followed him. Amelia has time to hide her face behind a veil. The king changes cloaks with Ankarström and hurries away after his friend has promised him to escort the veiled stranger back to the town, and to leave her at the gates of the town without speaking to her or looking at her. Just as Amelia and Ankarström are about to leave, the conspirators arrive and find not the king, but only the latter´s secretary. Disappointed at the failure of their murderous plans, they at least want to see who the veiled lady is. Ankarström tries to prevent them, but when the men draw their weapons Amelia draws back her veil to reveal her face. The conspirators deride Ankarström for walking with his own wife by night at the place of execution. Ankarström is shattered, feeling that he has been deceived by both wife and friend. He invites Horn and Warting to visit him next day and escorts his depondent wife home to the scornful laughter of the conspirators.
ACT3 Scene 1
Ankarström threatens to kill Amelia, and is not even prepared to listen her protestations of innocence. She begs him to allow her to embrace her son just one last time. Ankarström grants her request, and then decides to kill the king in her place. Filled with bitterness, he reflects on his former love for Amelia, the king´s apparent breach of faith, and the hatred into which the old friendship has been transformed. When the conspirators appear, he tells them that he knows about their assassination plans, and that from now on they can consider him their man. In order to prove his credibility, he offers them this only son as a pledge, and the new alliance is sealed with an oath. Ankarström wishes to reserve for himself the privilege of killing the king, but his request is refused: this will be decided by drawing lots. The unsuspecting Amelia, who wishes to announce Oscar the page, has to draw the lot: it falls to Ankarström. Oscar is admitted, bearing an invitation to the masked ball which Amelia must also attend. Amelia suspects what her husband and the conspirators have in mind, and desperately tries to think of a way out. Ankarström, Horn and Warting agree on a sign of recognition: a blue costume with a blood-red sash – and the password “Morte”.
In his study the king resolves to give up Amelia, and to send her and Ankarström back to the latter´s home town; he even signs a decree to this effect. Oscar brings the king an anonymous letter from an unknown lady warning him about an attack on his life. However, Gustavus does not want to appear timid, and decides to go to the ball to see Amelia once again.
Act3 Scene 3
The guests have gathered in the ballroom, among them the masked conspirators. Ankarström tries to find out from Oscar which costume and mask the king is wearing, but is initially given an evasive answer. However, Oscar then gives him the answer he requires. Amelia and the king meet among the hustle and bustle of the ball. Ankarström, who has been watching the couple, throws himself at the king and fatally wounds him with his dagger. The guards and the angry throng seize the assassin, whom the dying king forgives. He protests that Amelia´s honour is untarnished, gives the shaken Ankarström the transfer decree and dies.