Rienzi, one of Wagner’s masterpieces, has been a major success at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse in recent years. For this production, the lyric theatre called upon renowned producer Jordi Lavelli and tenor Torsten Kerl. The Orchestre National du Capitole is conducted by Pinchas Steinberg.
Wagner composed Rienzi in Dresden in 1842 after reading the novel Rienzi, the Last of the Roman Tribunes (1835) by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Aside from Richard Wagner and Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Cola di Rienzo, a famous historical figure, also inspired playwrights François Laignelot and Mary Russell Mitford. Rienzo, a young Roman in the 14th century, stood up to corruption in Rome's upper classes, to the point where the people acclaimed him as their new tribune. This incredible journey seems to be designed to be made into a tragedy, a novel or an opera. When Wagner adapted the story of this medieval hero, he was young and still seeking his own style; after Die Feen and Das Liebesverbot, Rienzi is the composer's first opera.
Jordi Lavelli's staging is modern, unlike the sumptuous 19th-century grand opera, and the scenery is simple. By limiting himself to the essential, Lavelli restores the force of this long score and puts the singers in the spotlight. In this setting, Torsten Kerl's intelligent singing style shines.
Kent Nagano, Nikolaus Lehnhoff – Tom Fox (Friedrich von Telramund), Klaus Florian Vogt (Lohengrin) – Festspielhaus Baden-Baden
Sebastian Weigle, Katharina Wagner – Charles Reid (Kunz Vogelgesang), Klaus Florian Vogt (Walther von Stolzing) – Bayreuther Festspielhaus
Lothar Zagrosek, Peter Konwitschny – Albert Bonnema (Siegfried), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Gutrune) – Staatsoper Stuttgart