ALAIN ALTINOGLU studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris and then taught there for nearly 10 years as professor of Vocal ensemble class. His conducting has led him among others, to the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera in Chicago, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and at all four Opera houses in Paris: the Opéra National, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Opéra-Comique and the Théâtre du Châtelet, as well as at the Festivals in Salzburg, Orange and Aix-en-Provence. Present and future conducting engagements include among others, Massenet’s Manon Lescaut in Munich, Wagner’s Lohengrin in Bayreuth, Mozart’s Don Giovanni in London and Paris, Tschaikowski’s Eugen Onegin and Bizet’s Carmen in Berlin, Werther in New York and Strauss‘ Salome in Zurich. At the Wiener Staatsoper, Alain Altinoglu has conducted Verdi’s Don Carlo, Mozart’s Don Giovani, Verdi’s Falstaff, Gounod’s Faust, Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette (House debut), Strauss’ Salome and Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra.
Bass baritone Adam Plachetka was born in 1985 and completed his studies at the Conservatory of his hometown Prague. Apart from a number of national competitions, he won the International Antonin Dvorak singing competition. In 2005 he made his debut at the Prague National Theatre, where he for example performed as Don Giovanni, Publio (La clemenza di Tito), Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Nardo (La finta giardiniera), Argante (Rinaldo) and Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte). He performed Papageno (Die Zauberflöte) at the Prague State Opera as well as Don Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia).
Engagements led Adam Plachetka to the Salzburg Festival, to the Bayerische Staatsoper, to Glyndebourne, to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden London, to La Scala Milan and to the Berlin Staatsoper.
Since 2010/2011 he is member of ensemble of the Wiener Staatsoper and has for example sung Schaunard, Basilio, Melisso (Alcina), Masetto and Don Giovanni, Haly (L’italiana in Algeri), Graf Dominik, Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Gugliemo, Publio, Dulcamara, Hercule (Alceste), Alidoro here.
The bass, Jongmin Park, studied singing in his hometown of Seoul and was a member of the Milan Accademia Teatro alla Scala, where he studied with Mirella Freni, Luigi Alva and Renato Bruson. from 2010 until 2013, he was in the ensemble of the Hamburg State Opera. Here, he took over the roles, among others, of Colline, Sparafucile and Sarastro. In summer 2014, he gave his debut at the ROH Covent Garden, at the BBC Proms in London and in the City of London Festival 2014. He won the International Tschaikowski competition and received the Wagner-Prize at the Plácido Domingo Operalia competition. In 2010, he gave his first Lieder evening in Munich, and in spring 2015, he completed his first recital in the Vienna Musikverein. He is also successful as a concert singer, and has sung Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra, in Vesperae solennes de
Confessore at the Christmas concert in the Scala and in Verdi's Requiem in Seoul. At the Wiener Staatsoper, he gave his debut in 2011 as Colline and has continued to sing, among others, Zuniga, Mönch (Don Carlo) Basilio, Billy Jackrabbit, Quinault, Gremin and Sir Giorgio.
RACHEL FRENKEL was born in Israel and after her studies was a member of the opera studio in the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin, where she was heard among others as Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia). In 2011, she gave her debut at the Salzburg Festival in Die Frau ohne Schatten and joined the Ensemble of the Wiener Staatsoper in the same year, where she has since then sung Rosina, Zulma, Cherubino, Angelina and Fenena. Further engagements include Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos at the Hamburg Staatsoper, Dorabella and Rosina at the Semperoper Dresden, Ramiro in La finta giardinera at the Glyndebourne Festival, Niklausse/Muse in Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Bregenz Festival, Dryade at the Festival in Baden-Baden as well as Cherubino at the Edinburgh International Festival, the Opéra National de Montpellier and Lyric Opera of Chicago. For the 2016/2017 season, concerts are planned with the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich, the Orchestre National de Lyon and the Symphony Orchestra of the Bayerischen Rundfunks.
BENJAMIN BRUNS started his vocal career as an Alto soloist in the boys’ choir of his hometown, Hannover. While still studying at the Musikhochschule in Hamburg, he was offered his first engagement by the Bremer Theater. This was followed by ensemble contracts at the Opera in Cologne and the Dresden State Opera. Guest performances have led him, among others to the Staatstheater in Nürnberg, the Staatsoper unter den Linden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Teatro Colón and the Bayreuther Festpielen. Also as an Oratorio and Song singer, Benjamin Bruns enjoys an excellent reputation and is therefore just as much at home in concert halls as he is on the operatic stage. Since the start of the 2010/2011 season, Bruns has been a member of the Wiener Staatsoper ensemble, and has since sung works such as Conte d’Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Oronte (Premiere-Alcina), Arturo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Don Basilio (Premiere-Le nozze di Figaro), Brighella (Ariadne auf Naxos), Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Jaquino (Fidelio), Ferrando (Così fan tutte), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) and Évandre (Premiere-Alceste).
ALEXANDRU MOISIUC was born in Bucharest and completed his violin studies at the Enescu University of Music. In 1980 he began his opera singing studies at the Porumbescu Music Academy. In 1984 he made his debut at the Bucharest National Opera in Werther, where he was engaged as soloist. In 1991 he was engaged at the Wiener Kammeroper as Don Giovanni, and went on a tour to Japan and South Korea with the Kammeroper. In 1992 he became 1st soloist at the National Opera in Temesvar, two years later his collaboration with the Wiener Staatsoper began, where he has been a soloist ever since. In 1990 he started working as singing teacher at the Bucharest Music Academy. Performances have led the artist to La Scala in Milan, the Semperoper, the Alte Oper Frankfurt, the Palais des Beaux-Artes in Brussels, the Herodes Atticus in Athens. His repertoire includes more than 50 of the most important roles of his fach, spanning four centuries and ranging from Monteverdi to Schönberg.
ORDAN YILDIZ was born in Turkey. He studied at the Mersin Conservatory, where he graduated in 2002. As of 2000 he sang at the Staatsoper Mersin. He was finalist and winner of several competitions, among them the Siemens Voice Competition in Istanbul and the Belvedere competition, the Leyla Gencer competition, the Francisco Vinas or the Operalia competition. As of 2010 he sang at the Theater Braunschweig as ensemble member and performed essential parts, for example as Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Conte d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), in the title role of Don Giovanni, Ping (Turandot), Belcore (L’elisir d’amore), Klingsor (Parsifal), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Enrico in Donizetti´s Lucia di Lammermoor, Giorgio Germont in La traviata, Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress, Jeletski in Pique Dame, Ford (Falstaff). He guested at the Hamburgische Staatsoper, at the opera in Bremen, at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago de Chile, at the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse and at the Grachtenfestival Amsterdam. As of the season 2016/2017, he will be ensemble member of the Wiener Staatsoper.
Wolfram Igor Derntl was born in Mauthausen. He completed his vocal studies at the Goetheanistisches Konservatorium with honours. In 2004 he was engaged at the Wiener Staatsoper and has since then also been member of the Wiener Hofmusikkapelle. Before his fixed engagement at the Wiener Staatsoper, he was for example engaged at the Wiener Volksoper, the Wiener Kammeroper, the Stadttheater St. Pölten, in Klosterneuburg, Schwetzingen or at the Wiener Burgtheater. He was successful as Tamino (Zauberflöte), Basilio and Don Curzio (Figaro), Pedrillo (Entführung aus dem Serail), Barinkay (Zigeunerbaron), Symon (Bettelstudent), Adam (Vogelhändler) and Alfred (Fledermaus). Since his engagement at the Wiener Staatsoper he has performed numerous roles, apart from his administrative activities for the choir. In 2009/2010 he was engaged as a soloist at the Wiener Staatsoper.
MARCUS PELZ was born in Stuttgart, studied solo vocals, lied and oratorio, classical operetta as well as the fach Old Music at the Conservatory of Vienna and graduated from the opera school of the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. First engagements at the Landestheater St. Pölten, the Wiener Kammeroper (1995-1997) and the Neue Oper Wien were the basis for his engagement at the Wiener Staatsoper (member of the ensemble since 1999). Guest engagements for example led him to the Teatro Avenida in Buenos Aires in the leading role of Wozzeck, and to the Maggio Musicale in Florence with the Rosenkavalier. His repertoire in the House on the Ring includes more than eighty parts, e.g. Hermann, Gregorio, Schaunard, Notar and Polizeikommissar, Kothner and Konrad Nachtigall, Sprecher and 2. Priester, Antonio, Phorbas, Angelotti, Donald, Gualtiero Raleigh, Alessio, Masetto, Haly, Johann, 1. Schäfer, Albert, Altgesell and Saretzki. His appearances in children´s operas on the roof of the Wiener Staatsoper are very popular among the young audience.
DONNA ELLEN comes from Canada and studied singing at the Wilfrid Laurier University of her hometown. For two seasons, she sang at the Canada Opera Piccola under the care of Leopold Simoneau and Pierette Alarie, before she changed to the Opernstudio in Zurich. In1987, she became engaged with the Landestheater Linz, where she sang roles like the Queen of the Night, Blonde, and Zerlina and sang in the premiere of Balduin Sulzers Proteus. Previous performances include among others, in Stuttgart, Geneva, Berlin, Bad Ischl, in the Musikverein and the Konzerthaus in Vienna. In 2004, she gave her debut at the Volksoper. Her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper, where she is an honorary ensemble member, was in 2003 as Helmwige. Since then, she has sang among others, Marzellina (Barbiere di Siviglia), Axinja (Lady Macbeth von Mzensk), Leitmetzerin (Rosenkavalier), Annina (Traviata), Curra (Forza del destino), Brünnhilde (Nibelungenring for children), Königin (Traumfresserchen), Berta (Pünktchen und Anton), Marcellina (Nozze di Figaro), Fekluša (Kátja Kabanová), Kartenaufschlägerin (Arabella), Aufseherin (Elektra), and Dirne (Aus einem Totenhaus), Giovanna (Rigoletto).
Berlioz’s libretto is drawn from Books I, II and IV of Virgil’s Aeneid. The Trojan War originated in the quarrels of both gods and mortals but began in earnest when Paris, Prince of Troy, carried off Helen, the wife of Menelaus, King of Sparta. In league with his brother, King Agamemnon of Mycenae, and many other Greek leaders and heroes, Menelaus set sail for Troy. Beginning with the sacrifice of Agamemnon’s youngest daughter Iphigenia – to placate the gods and propitiate favourable winds for the Greek fleet – much blood was spilled on both sides. Hector, eldest son of King Priam of Troy, has been killed by the Greek hero, Achilles. His corpse has been tied to Achilles’ chariot and dragged repeatedly round the walls of the city. Achilles, in turn, has been slain by Paris, and his grave lies in the plain outside the walls of Troy. ACT I The Greek armies have besieged the city of Troy for ten years but have suddenly abandoned camp, withdrawn their ships and vanished. On the beach beyond the city walls they have left a vast wooden horse. The Trojan people joyously emerge from the city to raid the deserted encampment before rushing off to marvel at the horse. Cassandra, daughter of King Priam and priestess of Vesta, appears. She is a prophetess, but one cursed at birth with a gift of second sight that no one will heed or believe. Now she foresees the disaster that will engulf Troy and its people. Her betrothed, Coroebus, Prince of Phrygia and an ally of Troy, comes to beg her to leave dark prophecy and take part in the people’s rejoicing. Cassandra is seized by a sudden, terrifying vision of Troy’s destruction and Coroebus’ own death. She beseeches him to leave the city while there is still time but he refuses to abandon her. Resigned, she gives him her hand. Death, she says, will prepare their marriage bed. A procession emerges from the city led by Priam, Queen Hecuba, their daughters and the priests and warriors of Troy. A hymn of thanksgiving is sung and offerings are laid at the altar of the gods. The rejoicing is interrupted by the silent entrance of Hector’s widow, Andromache, and her son, Astyanax, both in mourning. Cassandra, unheeded, predicts that Andromache shall weep more bitter tears before the next sunrise. Suddenly Aeneas, chief of Troy’s warriors, rushes in to describe the terrible death of the priest Laocoön. Believing the horse to be a trap laid by the Greeks, the priest hurled his spear into its flank and urged the people to burn it. At once, two monstrous serpents emerged from the sea and tore him to pieces. The Trojans are appalled and terrified, but Aeneas interprets the portent as the just anger of the goddess Pallas Athena at Laocoön’s sacrilege. The horse is surely an offering left by the defeated Greeks in honour of Troy’s goddess. Priam orders the walls to be breached so that the horse can be dragged into the city and placed before the temple. Cassandra watches despairingly as the people pull the horse in triumphant procession through the walls. Suddenly a sound like the clash of arms is heard from within the monster’s belly, but the crowd deliriously interpret this as a happy omen and the procession moves on. Cassandra foretells her own death beneath the ruins of Troy. ACT II Aeneas lies asleep. Outside, the noise of distant fighting can be heard. Aeneas’ son Ascanius runs in, frightened by the sounds, but doesn’t dare to wake his father and leaves. From the darkness, the ghost of Hector approaches Aeneas’ bed. Aeneas awakes with a start. The apparition commands him to flee the city’s inevitable destruction and sail with his men to Italy to found a new Troy. As the ghost fades away, the priest Panthus rushes in, wounded and carrying the Palladium (the sacred image of Troy) followed by Coroebus at the head of a band of warriors. The Greeks have stolen out of the horse and Troy is in flames. The Citadel that protects the city still stands and they resolve to fight their way to it or perish. Trojan women are praying for deliverance, led by the princess Polyxena. Cassandra comes to them and prophesies that Troy will rise again in the city Aeneas is destined to found in Italy. Coroebus, she tells them, is dead and she is resolved to follow him. She asks the women if they are prepared to die with her or submit to slavery and the lust of the conquering Greeks. A small group of women, too frightened to take their own lives, are driven out by the others. In exaltation, Cassandra leads the women in a defiant hymn. As a Greek captain bursts in with looting soldiers, Cassandra is the first to die. More soldiers arrive with news that Aeneas and his band of men have escaped the city. Crying out the word ‘Italy!’, Polyxena and the women take their lives. Troy is consumed in flames. Interval ACT III Queen Dido has fled from her native Tyre after the murder of her husband Sychaeus by her brother, Pygmalion. With her people, she has established a new city, Carthage, on the North African coast. In only seven years, the city has grown and flourished and the populace have gathered to celebrate and pay homage to their beloved Queen. Dido acknowledges the industry and loyalty of her people, but warns them that her peace and theirs are threatened by the Numidian king, Iarbas, and that war may be looming. The celebrations done, Dido is left alone with her sister, Anna. She confesses to an inner sadness but when Anna urges her to take a new husband denies that she is pining for love. She vows to stay true to the memory of Sychaeus although Anna’s words arouse a secret longing in her. The Court poet, Iopas, enters to announce the arrival of an unknown fleet, washed up on the shore by recent storms. Recalling her own wanderings on the ocean, Dido orders that the strangers be kindly received. The band of Trojan warriors enter, Aeneas among them, but in disguise. Ascanius presents the Queen with gifts from the treasure salvaged from Troy and Panthus explains their leader Aeneas’ mission to build a new Troy in Italy. Suddenly Narbal, High Priest and Minister, rushes in with news that Iarbas’ armies are marching on the city. The Carthaginians are outnumbered and poorly armed. The people can be heard crying out for weapons. Aeneas reveals his identity and offers Dido the arms and support of the Trojans. Dido gratefully accepts the alliance but is also overwhelmed at the sight of the hero. Aeneas prepares to lead the Carthaginians and Trojans together into battle, leaving Ascanius in Dido’s care. ACT IV Aeneas has won the war against the Numidians and he and his men have lingered in the pleasant land of Carthage. In a forest close to the city walls, the royal couple have gone hunting. The spirits and creatures of the forest are disturbed by the intrusion of the hunting party as they ride through the trees. A storm gathers and violently breaks. Dido and Aeneas are separated from the others and take shelter from the storm. Finally, they acknowledge their love and their union is consummated. The passion of the lovers is reflected in the wildness of the storm. The spirits dance in ecstasy, but the cries that resound through the forest are of Aeneas’ inevitable destiny; ‘Italy!’. In the gardens of Dido’s palace, Anna and Narbal are in argument over the long sojourn of the Trojan prince. Narbal fears that Dido has lost her grip on affairs of state, so infatuated is she with her lover. Anna can only rejoice in the passionate love her sister bears Aeneas. Surely, he will marry Dido and remain in Carthage as King, forsaking his mission in Italy. The destiny of the hero cannot be denied, argues Narbal, and disaster will befall Carthage if Aeneas remains. It is evening and the court enter the gardens to while away the time with music and dance. But Dido is strangely restless and neither the dancing nor the gentle hymn Iopas sings in praise of the goddess Ceres can ease her troubled mind. She asks Aeneas to tell stories of the aftermath of the fall of Troy and he describes the fate of Andromache, carried off and married to Pyrrhus, son of Achilles and slayer of King Priam. It is said that she loves her new husband and has left behind all memory of Hector. Dido is disturbed by his words. They prick her conscience as she realizes that she, too, no longer thinks of Sychaeus as she once did. As she is lost in thought, Ascanius in the guise of Cupid playfully slips the ring of Sychaeus from her finger, quietly observed by the others. As darkness falls, the company contemplate the mysterious beauty of the night. Dido and Aeneas are left alone and, enraptured, pour out their love for each other. As they leave the garden, the moonlight falls on Mercury, messenger of the gods. Three times he intones the word ‘Italy!’. Aeneas’ destiny is inescapable. ACT V Hylas, a Phrygian sailor in the Trojan fleet, rocks at the masthead of a ship in the harbour, dreaming of his lost homeland. Below, the Trojan camp bursts into activity as Panthus orders the warriors to be ready to set sail. Daily, omens are seen indicating the anger of the gods at Aeneas’ long delay. Two sentries grumble at being uprooted once more from a land they are thoroughly enjoying. Aeneas has told Dido of the necessity to pursue his heroic mission and his intention to leave Carthage and her. She has been convulsed with agony and grief but not spoken a word. He has fled her silent gaze for the harbour, where he gives vent to his own grief. He is unable to bear leaving without holding her one last time in his arms. He wavers in his decision and is confronted by the ghosts of Priam, Coroebus, Hector and Cassandra. The shades will allow not one hour more of delay and urge him to be gone. Aeneas rouses the camp and orders them to prepare to leave immediately. He sends Panthus to the palace to wake Ascanius. Distraught, Dido appears at the harbour to confront him. Her pleas and curses are all in vain. Aeneas will die a hero’s death in the land of Italy. The fleet make ready as Dido rushes away in despair. In the palace, Dido abandons pride and begs Anna to go to the harbour and entreat Aeneas to stay with her for just a few more days. But the people can be heard outside crying after the departing fleet and Iopas comes with news that the Trojans are already out of sight. Dido falls into a frenzy and, turning from the Gods of Olympus, commits herself to the dark deities of Hades. She commands that a pyre be built on which she will burn every memorial of Aeneas and their union, and dismisses the others. Alone, she falls into utter despair and decides to die. She bids farewell to the city she has built and loved so well. The people gather round the pyre as Dido performs the ritual of sacrifice to the infernal gods. Anna and Narbal pronounce a curse on Aeneas and Dido ascends the pyre, littered with the memorials of her love. She prophesies the appearance of a great Carthaginian hero who will wage war on Aeneas’ descendants and avenge her: Hannibal. To everyone’s horror, she suddenly seizes Aeneas’ sword and stabs herself. Dying, she sees another vision, of an eternal city: Aeneas’ destiny, Rome. The people of Carthage swear unending hatred and war on the race of Aeneas. One day, an astounded world shall see another Empire fall.