Il viaggio a Reims (The Journey to Reims)

Synopsis

    Place: The Golden Lily spa hotel at Plombières-les-Bains in France
    Time: 1825

Act 1

Scene 1: Introduction

The housekeeper Maddalena is unhappy with the preparations made by the servants for the arrival of the important people who are travelling to Reims for the coronation of Charles X of France. ("Presto, presto ... su, corraggio") The servants repudiate her assertions. The hotel's doctor, Don Prudenzio, announces that, because of the impending arrivals, the normal business of the spa will be suspended. The spa attendants rejoice and depart. He checks with Antonio that his instructions about the necessary meals for the visitors have been followed.

Madame Cortese, the proprietress of the hotel, appears. She regrets that she will be unable to attend the coronation ("Di vaghi raggi adorno"), but is keen to show off the hotel to the visitors in the hope that they will return some day to take the waters. She particularly requests that everyone should be enthusiastic about each of the travellers' specific interests. Everyone agrees, and she is left alone.

Scene 2: The Countess of Folleville's arrival

The Countess calls for her maid, Modestina, and Madame Cortese goes to search for her. Modestina appears, and the Countess, worried that her clothes have not yet arrived, asks why there has been no reply to a letter that she had sent. Modestina had entrusted the letter to the Countess's cousin, Don Luigino, who immediately arrives to say that the stagecoach which he had hired to carry the boxes had overturned on the way. The Countess faints and Don Luigino calls for help.

Maddalena, Antonio, Don Prudenzio and the servants arrive, together with Baron Trombonok. Don Prudenzio and the Baron argue about how to resuscitate the Countess, but she recovers sufficiently to lament the loss of her garments. ("Partir, o ciel! desio") However, when Modestina appears with a large box containing a beautiful Paris bonnet, she rejoices that it, at least, has been saved from the accident. ("Che miro! Ah! Quel sorpresa!") Everyone is amused by this sudden turn of events, and all except Antonio and the Baron depart.

Scene 3: Sextet

After agreeing with the Baron the arrangements for party's departure in the evening, Antonio leaves. The Baron cannot help laughing at the Countess's sudden recovery and the insanity of the world in general. He is joined by Don Profondo, Don Alvaro, the Marquise Melibea, Count Libenskof. It is clear that Don Alvaro and the Count are rivals for the Marquise's affections. They are all waiting for the new horses which will be necessary for the continuation of the journey, but Madame Cortese, who now arrives, says that she cannot understand why they have not arrived. Alvaro and Libenskof quarrel, the ladies are alarmed, and the Baron and Don Profondo are amused by the idiocy of lovers. ("Non pavento alcun periglio")

A harp prelude is heard, and the poetess Corinna sings offstage of brotherly love, to everyone's delight. ("Arpa gentil")
Act 2

Scene 1: Lord Sidney's aria

Madame Cortese is still waiting for the return of her servant Gelsomino with news of the horses. Lord Sidney approaches, and she muses on his unwillingness to approach Corinna who, she is sure, reciprocates his love.

Sidney, alone, laments his situation. ("Invan strappar dal core") His mood lifts when girls singing in praise of Corinna enter with flowers, but then he is disturbed by Don Profondo's strange requests for information about the location of antiquities, and departs.

Scene 2: Corinna's duet with the Chevalier Belfiore

Profondo is joined by Corinna and her companion Delia. Corinna asks when the party is to depart, and he and Delia leave Corinna alone while they go to see whether the horses have arrived.

Corinna is joined by the Chevalier, who declares his love. ("Nel suo divin sembiante") She is taken aback and repudiates him. The Chevalier retreats, hoping to try again later, and Corinna returns to her room.

Scene 3: Don Profondo's aria

Don Profondo, who has seen the Chevalier with Corinna, reflects that the Countess will scratch the Chevalier's eyes out if she finds out what he has been doing. He then turns his attention to enumerating the effects of his fellow-travellers (as requested by the Baron), noting that their possessions tend to sum up their each of their nations' characteristics. ("Medaglie incomparabili") He looks forward to the impending departure.

The Countess appears, looking for the Chevalier. She is not pleased when Don Profondo tells her that he has been having a poetry lesson. Don Alvaro and Count Libenskof join them, asking about the horses, and the Baron, too, appears, looking woebegone. What has happened? The rest of the travellers arrive, and the Baron produces the courier Zefirino, who is obliged to report that there are no horses to be had anywhere, not even for ready money. There will be no journey to Reims for the coronation!

Scene 4: Grand concerted ensemble for 14 voices

Everyone is horrified. ("Ah! A tal colpo inaspettato") But Madame Cortese appears with a letter from Paris. Don Profondo reads it out: the King will return from Reims in a few days and there will be great festivities. Anyone who was unable to get to Reims will be consoled by an even finer spectacle. The Countess steps forward to invite the entire company to her home in Paris for the celebrations. A stagecoach will convey them there on the following day, but in the meantime a grand banquet, with invitations to the public, will be held at the Golden Lily, paid for with the money that would have been spent at the coronation. Any money left over will be given to the poor.
Act 3

Scene 1: Duet for the Count and the Marquise

When everyone else has left, the Baron tries to reconcile the jealous Count with the Marquise, who has been seen with Don Alvaro. When he departs, the misunderstanding is resolved and harmony is restored. ("D'alma celeste, oh Dio!")

They depart, and the scene changes to the hotel's garden. Antonio and Maddalena ensure that all is prepared for the banquet. The Baron has engaged a travelling company to provide entertainment with singing and dancing.

Scene 2: Finale

After the opening chorus ("L'allegria è un sommo bene"), the Baron introduces a series of short national songs sung by each of the travellers, some of them set to well-known tunes, and ending with, first, a French anthem for the Chevalier and the Countess, then a rustic Tyrolean duet for Madame Cortese and Don Profondo, and finally an improvised solo for Corinna on one of a number of mostly French subjects suggested by each traveller and drawn from an urn. The winning subject turns out, appropriately enough, to be "Charles X, King of France". The opera ends with dances and a chorus.

Program and cast

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Bolshoi Theatre

On 28 March (17 according to the old style) 1776, Catherine II granted the prosecutor, Prince Pyotr Urusov, the "privilege" of "maintaining" theatre performances of all kinds, including masquerades, balls and other forms of entertainment, for a period of ten years. And it is from this date that Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre traces its history.

The Bolshoi building, which for many years now has been regarded as one of Moscow’s main sights, was opened on 20 October 1856, on Tsar Alexander II’s coronation day.

On 29 October 2002 the Bolshoi was given a New Stage and it was here it presented its performances during the years the Historic Stage was undergoing massive reconstruction and refurbishment.

The reconstruction project lasted from l July 2005 to 28 October 2011. As a result of this reconstruction, many lost features of the historic building were reinstated and, at the same time, it has joined the ranks of most technically equipped theatre buildings in the world.

The Bolshoi Theatre is a symbol of Russia for all time. It was awarded this honor due to the major contribution it made to the history of the Russian performing arts. This history is on-going and today Bolshoi Theatre artists continue to contribute to it many bright pages.

 

An inherent part of the Theatre’s activities is the presentation of concerts of symphony and chamber works, and of operas in concert performance, thus acquainting the public with works of all music genres. 

Now that the Bolshoi Theatre has two stages at its disposal, one of them its legendary Historic Stage which is at last back in action again, it hopes to fulfill its mission with an even greater degree of success, steadily extending the sphere of its influence at home and throughout the world.

 

The Bolshoi has to a large extent reacquired its authentic historical appearance, lost during the years of Soviet power. The auditorium and part of its suite of halls now look as they were originally conceived by Bolshoi Theatre architect Alberto Cavos. While the former imperial foyer halls have been given back their 1895 decor, this was the year they were redecorated for Emperor Nicholas II’s coronation celebrations. Each reproduced or restored element of interior decoration was made the object of a special project for which separate documentation was collected based on numerous archival and on-site researches.

In 2010 the auditorium suite of halls were renovated: the Lobby, the Main or the White Foyer, the Choral, Exhibition, Round and Beethoven halls. Muscovites were able to admire the restored facades and the renovated symbol of the Bolshoi Theatre — the famous Apollo quadriga, created by the sculptor Peter Klodt.

The auditorium has regained its original beauty. And, just like the 19th century theatergoer, so each member of the public today will be dazzled by its extravagant and at the same time “light” décor. The bright crimson, scattered with gold, draping of the interiors of the boxes, the different on each level stucco arabesques, the Apollo and the Muses plafond — all this contributes to the auditorium’s breath-taking impact.

Special attention was paid to the restoration of the legendary acoustics. International experts did extensive research work and made sure all their technical recommendations were carried out to the letter.

State of the art machinery has been installed in the stagehouse. The Bolshoi Theatre Historic stage now consists of seven two-tier rising and descending platforms. These platforms can easily change their positions, thus the stage can become horizontal, raked or stepped. The stage and backstage area can be united which creates a stage space of incredible depth.

New upper stage equipment, remotely controlled by computer, makes it possible to derive maximum use from lighting, sound and visual effects. Cutting edge rigs have been installed for the deployment of lanterns, special effects apparatus and acoustics. 

The orchestra pit has been provided with extra space under the forestage. This makes it one of the biggest orchestra pits in the world seating up to 130 musicians, which is necessary for the performance of such large-scale works as, for instance, Wagner operas.

The installation of state of the art stage equipment was a unique world-scale project. The reconstruction has doubled the Theatre’s total floor space. Thanks to the expansion of the Theatre’s existing underground spaces (under stagehouse) and to the construction of new underground space under Theatre Square, this has been achieved without any change to the Theatre’s external appearance.

Thus the Theatre has acquired badly needed new space, including an underground concert and rehearsal room, which has inherited its name from the Beethoven Hall, under the Theatre lobby. This hall is a multi-functional space which can be used in different ways. It consists of five main platforms: the central platform is the stage itself, two platforms to the right and left of it can be used either to increase the size of the stage or as audience space. The two remaining platforms form the main space of the auditorium. All of the platforms can be raised to foyer level to create a space for holding formal, receptions. Apart from this concert hall and its auxiliary premises, the rest of the underground space under Theatre Square accommodates a large number of technical, service and staff rooms.

The Bolshoi Theatre reconstruction project also included the renovation of the Khomyakov House, a protected architectural monument of the first half of the nineteenth century situated immediately behind the Bolshoi, which has been transformed into a service wing. Due to numerous 20th century reconstructions, the historical interiors of the Khomyakov House have been totally lost. While its main walls have been preserved, the interior layout has been redesigned to meet the Theatre’s present-day requirements. Thus the Khomaykov House, which is linked to the main Bolshoi Theatre building by an underground tunnel, is a key element in the gigantic Bolshoi Theatre complex.

The renovation of the country’s main stage was a landmark event in the lives of a large coordinated team of highest-level professionals. Participating in the project were uniquely qualified specialists whose great feat of labor will earn them the undying gratitude of present-day Bolshoi Theatre audiences.

 

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