I thoroughly enjoyed singing in this production. It won several awards a few years ago when Opera Vlaanderen first performed it. I am not surprised that they decided to bring it back, everyone that I worked with was very fond of this show. The story is compelling, the music is delightful and the staging was quite fun too. The cast were given different colour hands depending on whether they were portraying Christian (blue) or Jews (yellow). This was the only part of the production that I found frustrating - no they weren't gloves, but makeup painted onto our hands. The hand makeup was very inconvenient if you needed to go to the toilet during the interval for example. It also meant that everything I touched was always left with a blue fingerprint on it. The things we do for our profession...
Created in 1835, Fromental Halévy's La Juive was controversial from the start. For some, it was an insult to the religion and the state, for others it was a plea for understanding. Above all, it is a human tragedy of a Jewish father and his daughter. It instantly became one of the greatest opera successes of the first half of the 19th century until the work was banned by the Nazis.
With his grand opéra La Juive, Halévy composed a masterpiece which, in the first 50 years after the première, was performed 500 times in Paris alone. This archetype of the genre became a milestone in European opera history not only for its content, but also for its grand staging and forceful impact. Until the work vanished from the stage under the rule of the Nazi regime.
Director Peter Konwitschny turned La Juive into a powerful performance, without conventional dramatic or musical concessions. The pressure of society which, under the influence of religious fanaticism, leads to a fatal destruction of love, was thus clearly laid bare. The production received the prestigious FAUST prize as best performance of the 2014-2015 opera season and was showered with international praise. This reprise of La Juive will feature a completely new cast in the principal roles, including, as leading man, the tenor Roy Cornelius Smith.
Length: 3 hours 15 minutes, incl. one intermission French with Dutch surtitles
Photos: Annemie Augustijns
Jennifer Coleman - is a classical / opera singer, and vocal coach, performing across the UK and internationally.