Ambroise Thomas’ Hamlet in Berlin

News: Jun 08 2019

This summer, Nicolas Testé reprises the role of Claudius in Berlin, for three concert performances on June 24, 27 and 29. This time, he’s joined by Florian Sempey in the title role, Diana Damrau as Ophélie and Ève-Maud Hubeaux as Gertrude, with conductor Yves Abel on the podium.

Hamlet is not just William Shakespeare’s arguably most layered and philosophical tragedy but also known as a play in which all the protagonists end up dead onstage. That Hamlet can also be adapted successfully as an opera with a happy ending and without the great “To be or not to be” soliloquy was demonstrated by Ambroise Thomas and his two librettists, Michel Carré and Jules Barbier. Their Hamlet is the most successful adaptation of the material to date as well as being one of the most significant French operas of the 1860s. Like the masterpieces turned out by Charles Gounod, it was written in a period of operatic upheaval when a new genre, the “drame lyrique”, was being distilled from elements of the establishmentarian grand opéra and the lighter opéra comique. The new form was through-composed and complex in its musical language but more intimate and lyrical in tone and more strongly focused on the fates of its individual characters. And Thomas’s Hamlet is both of these: at once riveting as a musical drama and, in the musical portrayal of the key roles, poetically nuanced in its probing of emotional detail.

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Critical Acclaim: Debut as Sarastro

News & Press: Apr 29 2019 | Forum Opéra

Le grave abyssal de Nicolas Testé lui permet d’habiter superbement la sombre vocalité de Sarastro, impressionnant comme une statue Assyrienne.

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