Thursday 25 February 2016 at 20:30

Romeo and Juliet

Irina Makarova, mezzo soprano
Samar Salamé, soprano
Sergey Romanovsky, tenor
Felipe Bou, bass
Antonine Univesity Choir
Toufic Maatouk o.a.m. , assistant conductor
The Al Bustan Festival Orchestra
Gianluca Marcianò, conductor

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Charles Gounod (1818 – 1893)
Romeo and Juliette Ballet music/aria of Stephano “Que fais-tu, blanche tourterelle”/ aria of Romeo”Ah! Lêvetoi, soleil!”

Hector Berlioz (1803 – 1869)
Romeo and Juliet

Sergei Prokofiev (1891 – 1953)
Romeo and Juliette suite No.2 op. 64 ter. N1 Montagues and Capulets

Irina Makarova, mezzo soprano
She received her professional education at the Voronezh State Academy of Arts (K.V. Gornova’s class) and at the Irina Arkhipova International Master-classes.
From 1994-98, she was a soloist with the Voronezh State Opera and Ballet Theatre.
From 1998-99, she sang for Moscow’s Novaya Opera Company.
Since 2001, she has been appearing at the Mariinsky Theatre.
In 2003, she made her debut at the Bolshoi Theatre.

She has won prizes at the following competitions: Glinka Competition (1997), Tchaikovsky Competition (1998), Yelena Obraztsova Competition (1999), Byul-Byul Competition (2000), Boris Christoff Competition (2000), Stanislaw Moniuszko Competition (Warsaw, 2001), The Amber Nightingale Competition. She won an award from the Irina Arkhipova Fund (bronze medal, 2004). Received a Golden Mask National Theatre Prize for the best female role nomination for her performance in the role of Amneris in Aida (2005).

Her repertoire at the Bolshoi includes:
Ulrica (Un Ballo in Maschera)
Lyubasha (The Tsar’s Bride)
Lyubov (Mazeppa)
Helene Bezukhova (War and Peace)
Princess Evpraksia Romanovna (The Enchantress)
Azucena (Il Trovatore)
Amneris (Aida)
Eboli (Don Carlo)
Olga (Eugene Onegin)
Polina, the Countess (The Queen of Spades)
Ratmir (Ruslan and Lyudmila)
Konchakovna (Prince Igor)
Marfa (Khovanshchina)
Marina Mnishek (Boris Godunov)
The Princess (Rusalka)
Princess de Bouillon (Adriana Lecouvreur)
Title role (Carmen)
Dalila (Samson et Dalila)
Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana)

She often participates in music festivals, for instance: Irina Arkhipova presents, Mariynsky in Baden-Baden; the Verdi Festival in Poznan, the Paderewski Festival in the city of Bydgoszcz (Poland). She also sang at a gala performance at the Karlsruhe opera-house.
In 2003, she sang Amneris at the Stars of the White Nights Festival, in Saint-Petersburg; she appeared in a project of Mstislav Rostropovich and Galina Vishnevskaya dedicated to the opening of the memorial Church on the Blood in Yekaterinburgh (Marfa in Khovanshchina); she appeared in the Mussorgsky song cycle Songs and Dances of Death, with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia conducted by Vladimir Spivakov, on the occasion of the opening of Moscow’s International House of Music; she sang the title role in a production of Mussorgsky’s Salammbo in Munich (a concert performance conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich).
In 2004, she sang Amneris at a premiere performance of Aida, directed by Dmitri Tchernyakov, at the Novosibirsk State Opera and Ballet Theatre. Not long before this premiere, she sang Amneris at the 23rd International Chaliapin Festival. In the same year she sang this role at the May Opera Evening Festival in Skopje (Macedonia). In April, 2004, she gave a solo concert at Moscow’s International House of Music. In October of the same year, she took part in a performance of the song cycle Songs and Dances of Death at the 7th International Vladimir Kraynev invites Competition (Kiev). In November of the same year she took part in a performance of Mahler’s Third Symphony at the Big Hall of Moscow Conservatoire (conductor Teodor Currentzis).
In January-February 2005, she sang the role of Eboli in a new production of Don Carlo in Bielefeld (Germany). In april 2005 she took part in a concert performance of Nabucco at Moscow’s International House of Music (conductor Daniel Lipton). In September-October of the same year she sang Solokha (Tchaikovsky’s The Slippers) at La Scala.
In 2006, she sang Amneris at La Scala (conductor Riccardo Chailly).
In 2007, she took part in a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall (conductor Mikhail Pletnev) and of Mahler’s Second Symphony at the Big Hall of Moscow Conservatoire (conductor Teodor Currentzis).
In 2008, she sang Azucena at Teatro Massimo (Catania), Santuzza at Mikhailovsky Theatre (Saint-Petersburg), took part in a performance of Verdi’s Requiem at De Doelen concert hall (Rotterdam).

Samar Salamé, soprano
Samar Salamé was born in Beirut, Lebanon, where she lived until she finished her Audio-Visual education at the University of St. Joseph. While pursuing her degree, she started her singing and music lessons at the Lebanese National Conservatory. After completing her studies she relocated to Naples, Italy, where she joined the Neapolitan Company, Media Aetas, singing and acting for a year throughout Italy in the show L’Opera Buffa Del Giovedi Santo, of Maestro Roberto De Simone. At the conclusion of the tour, she joined the National Conservatory of Rome, Santa Cecilia, where she received her singing diploma in 2006. During her studies in Rome, Samar gained valuable experience participating in various works such as Trovatore of Guiseppe Verdi, Semiramide of Voltaire, Requiem alla Memoria di Pier Paolo Pasolini (Munich) of the same Maestro Roberto De Simone. She also ranked finalist in the Competition of Mattia Battistini of Rieti, sang in the Choir of Stefano Cucci collaborating with Maestro Ennio Morricone, and performed in various concerts as a soloist. After spending 6 years in Italy, Samar moved to Paris, France in 2006, where she still resides performing in various venues and countries. In Paris, her performances include La Maya, adaptation of Caprices de Marianne of Alfred de Musset, and concerts at the Grand Palais, Concièrgerie, La Mairie du XIVème, and UNESCO. She was also the Artistic Director, Producer, and Singer in Alive, a live musical show. In London she performed in two concerts, with Peace and Prosperity Trust, in which she is part. In Lebanon she did many performences, among them, Gloria of Vivaldi, Mess of Mozart, in the “Grotto of Jehita”, Stabat Mater of Pergolesi, the role of Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro in the International Festival of Byblos, the 4th Symphony of Mahler at the Al-Bustan Festival, and repeated multiple years performances at the Festival of Sourat, Christmas Festival of Beirut Chants, Byblos Festival, and at The National Lebanese Museum for the Association APSAD. In 2011, she created and performed the show Les Mystères Lyriques in Paris and at the International Festival of Byblos, and created and performed too, the show Crazy Opera, which she performed at the 2013 International Byblos Festival in Lebanon and at the opening of the Opera season in Bahrain. Samar also sang the Panis Angelicus during the historic Pope Mass in Lebanon in September, 2012. She performed the role of Sophie Arnould in Le Nègre des Lumières of Alain Guédé in Martinique and Guadeloupe, and did her debut in USA with a concert in Florida. Her latest relevant work is Sacré Profane that she created and performed at the 2015 International Byblos Festival.

Felipe Bou, Bass
After graduating in Law in 1990, the Spanish bass Felipe Bou furthered his vocal studies with Antonio Blancas and Alfredo Kraus. Meanwhile, he became a prize winner of various international singing competitions.
He made his operatic debut at the Teatro Arriaga de Bilbao, with Marina, in 1994. Four years later, he advanced his career throughout Europe with Les Pêcheurs de Perles, at the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse. In 2000, it deserves to be cited his participation in the centenary’s commemorative production of Tosca at the Opera di Roma, with Pavarotti, Zeffirelli and Domingo.
The following year he made an outstanding debut as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, at the Düsseldorf Opera. Therefore, the Bregenz Festival invited him to join, that same year, its spectacular production of La Bohème as Colline, a role he has already performed in almost a dozen European theatres. It was also in Düsseldorf that he has made his debut as Ramfis, in Aida.
In 2003, he made his first appearance as Frère Laurent in Roméo et Juliette, at Tokyo, and as Conte Rodolfo in La Sonnambula, on a new production of the Leipzig Opera. In the following year, he made his debut in Don Pasquale at the Teatro Real de Madrid, alternating in the title role with José van Dam.
In 2005, as Sparafucile in Rigoletto, he stood out as the only non Italian singer in a cast headed by Leo Nucci in the Teatro Regio di Parma’s tour to México. His acknowledged performance took him to the prestigious Parma Verdi Festival as Ferrando in Il Trovatore, presented at 2006. This same year he began his continued collaboration with Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw.
In the 2007/2008 season, he was acclaimed by the public at his first appearance as the four villains in Les Contes D’Hoffmann, directed by Lindsay Kemp, in a co-production of Peralada, San Sebastián and Santander festivals and theatres. He also made his debut as Creonte at Teatro Massimo di Palermo’s Medea; as Oroveso at Palma de Mallorca’s  Norma, and as Massimiliano in I Masnadieri at the Zvolen Castle Festival (Slovakia).
The last seasons are particularly significant for his warmly applauded first appearance at the Vienna Staatsoper, performing Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, his debut as Balthazar, in La Favorite directed by Hugo de Ana at Santiago de Chile, his repeated collaborations with the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, as Colline, and his debuts as Marke, in Tristan und Isolde, as Filippo II, in Don Carlo, and as Fasolt, in Das Rheingold at Oviedo, as well as his comeback in the Parma Verdi Festival and his tours to Beijing and Muscat, as Sparafucile, always with Leo Nucci and Teatro Regio di Parma’s Rigoletto.
Among his extensive operatic repertoire, he achieved outstanding success in titles such as Evgeni Onegin (Gremin), L’Incoronazione di Poppea (Seneca) or Die Zauberflöte (Sarastro). Continuously demanded by the Spanish main theatres, also should be mentioned his collaboration with European festivals and theatres such as Genova, Piacenza, Frankfurt, Strasbourg, Montpellier, Nice, Avignon, Liège, St. Gallen or Orange.
His discography comprises the opera recordings of Turandot and Gianni Schicchi, for Naxos, and Albéniz’s Merlin, with Plácido Domingo, for Decca. On DVD he has got D.Q., with La Fura dels Baus, and Calixto Bieitos’s Don Giovanni, both for Teatre del Liceu de Barcelona, as well as Giancarlo del Monaco’s La Bohème, for Teatro Real de Madrid, and La Vida Breve, for Palau de les Arts de Valencia, conducted by Lorin Maazel, and still Rigoletto, once again with Leo Nucci, for ABAO.
Felipe Bou also develops a prolific concert activity, among which stand out his appearances in Rossini’s Stabat Mater at the Festival de Saint-Denis Paris, with the Orchestre National de France, Messa per Rossini at the Festival Radio France-Montpellier, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at the Palau de la Música de Valencia, and La Damnation de Faust at the Festival de Música de Canarias.

Toufic Maatouk, Assistant Conductor
For the biography of Toufic Maatouk, please refer to the concert of Tuesday, February 16

The Choir of the Antonine Univesity
For the biography of The Choir of the Antonine Univesity, please refer to the concert of Tuesday, February 16

Sergey Romanovsky, tenor
For the biography of Sergey Romanovsky, please refer to the concert of Tuesday, February 21

The Al Bustan Festival Orchestra
For the biography of The Al Bustan Festival Orchestra, please refer to the concert of Tuesday, February 16

 Gianluca Marcianò, conductor
For the biography of Gianluca Marcianò, please refer to the concert of Tuesday, February 16

Charles Gounod (1818 – 1893)
Charles Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, based on the play by Shakespeare, is one of the rarest things in opera.
Over the centuries, Romeo and Juliet has inspired all kinds of music. There are songs, symphonic poems, Broadway musicals and film scores.
In the Broadway category the most famous example must be West Side Story, with music by Leonard Bernstein and words by Stephen Sondheim. That show, in turn, has spawned countless “covers” of its hit tunes, in all manner of musical guises. Take, for example, a tune featured here, along with the opera – “I Feel Pretty” performed by Little Richard.
Among the many films inspired by Shakespeare’s tragedy, the one with the most famous music is probably the version by Franco Zeffirelli. The movie’s score, by Nino Rota was a hit all on its own.
There is also plenty of “classical” music inspired by the play, including the familiar tone poem by Tchaikovsky, and a brilliant ballet by Sergei Prokofiev.
So what makes Gounod’s opera so rare? It’s not just that it is based on Shakespeare’s tragedy; there are plenty of other operas in that category. What is unusual about Gounod’s version is that it is an opera based on Shakespeare that is actually a hit.

Hector Berlioz (1803 – 1869)
Romeo and Juliet
Hector Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette is a “dramatic symphony” in seven movements, featuring small and large choruses, and three soloists (two of whom sing for around five minutes each and one who sings for around 30), as well as a treasure trove of unusual instrumental combinations and sounds.  The libretto by Émile Deschamps misses out a great deal of Shakespeare’s drama but goes so far as changing the order even mentioning the playwright by name. Berlioz has an astonishing approach to melody and harmony. With echoes of Wagner, Brahms, and even Debussy scattered throughout, it is hard to believe this piece was written in 1839.
Though Berlioz explicitly denied it, Roméo et Juliette is more concert-opera than symphony.

Sergei Prokofiev (1891 – 1953)
Romeo and Juliette suite No.2 op. 64 ter. N1 Montagues and Capulets
Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet is considered, by many, his finest masterpiece, and it rightly stands as one of the greatest pieces of the 20th Century.  Its genesis began in 1936 just after Prokofiev moved back to his native Russia following three decades as an expatriate in other countries.  Romeo and Juliet was completed in about three months – Prokofiev was noted for his speed, but in this, one of his first large works created back at home, he was truly inspired.  The ballet was a perfect venue for Prokofiev’s talents, especially his exploration of the psychological aspects of the famous Shakespeare tale of two star-crossed lovers, their family’s hate, and their tragic deaths.  This is Prokofiev at the height of his craft in orchestration, melody, mastery of visual allusion and psychological potency.
Though Romeo and Juliet eventually became great success, getting the ballet to the stage proved challenging.  It was commissioned in 1936 by the Marinsky Theatre (renamed the Kirov), but new management there thwarted it.  Next, Prokofiev tried the Bolshoi but there, too, directors worried about public interest in a Shakespearean tragedy under the Soviet Regime.  So, in order to stoke some interest in his work, Prokofiev translated, and performed, his full ballet score into a short piano suite, and two orchestral suites.
Although the ballet was finally premiered in Brno, Czechoslovakia in 1938, this performance endured all manner of obstacles. But just as Shakespeare’s tale proved itself to be timeless, so has Prokofiev’s music proven to be in the decades since its creation.
(Max Derrickson)