One of Verdi’s lesser-known mature operas, Les Vêpres Siciliennes was vital to his development as a composer and was created for the Paris Opéra in 1855, giving him the opportunity to embrace the elaborate style and traditions of French grand opera.
The French have occupied Sicily, and Hélène is held hostage by Montfort, the French governor, who has had her brother executed. She turns to the partisan Jean Procida and the rebellious patriot Henri in her bid for vengeance.
Director Stefan Herheim brings Verdi’s tale of revenge, family relations and patriotism to Covent Garden for the first time, his imaginative production drawing parallels between the opera and the opera house for which it was written, including a spectacular re-creation of the Paris Opéra itself.
Musically, the work contains impressive choruses, passionate duets and some wonderful showpiece arias for the principal singers. Particular highlights include Procida’s aria on returning to Sicily ‘Et toi, Palerme’, the Act IV duet ‘De courroux et d’effroi’ in which Hélène expresses her sympathy for Henri’s dilemma and Hélène’s brilliant Act V boléro, ‘Merci, jeunes amis’.
Please arrive by 5.15pm to register and to order interval drinks if you wish.
The George Hotel serves meals – please contact them directly on 01298 871382 if you would like to book a pre-show meal.