Bard SummerScape Presents
The King in Spite of Himself
(Le Roi Malgré Lui)
Call 845-758-7948 for information about premium seating with special benefits, including reserved parking.
The Opera Talk for The King in Spite of Himself will take place at 1 pm on Sunday, July 29 in Sosnoff Theater. Free and open to the public.
Music by Emmanuel Chabrier
Sung in French, with English supertitles
American Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Leon Botstein, music director
Directed by Thaddeus Strassberger
Set Design by Kevin Knight
Costumes by Mattie Ullrich
Lighting by Simon Corder
A coproduction with the Wexford Festival Opera.
“From the wondrous opening fanfare for brass and winds, with its wayward phrase structure and playful hints of medieval harmony, the score is glorious.”—Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
It’s always been lonely at the top, but has any monarch been lonelier than Henri de Valois? In Emmanuel Chabrier’s witty comic opera, this hapless 16th-century French duke has been sent by his domineering mother to lord it over the Poles, who do not relish being ruled by a Frenchman. Moreover, poor Henri is repelled by the weather, the food, and the fashion, and pines for his milieu in Anjou. Farce ensues when he tries to eschew the crown, but fate is sometimes easier to reluctantly accept than to escape.
A contemporary of Camille Saint-Saëns, the subject of this year’s Bard Music Festival, Chabrier composed two highly regarded orchestral works, España and Joyeuse marche, as well as operas, songs, and piano music. Of The King in Spite of Himself, Maurice Ravel declared that its opening bars forever changed the course of French harmony; indeed, Ravel confessed to having been influenced more by Chabrier than any other composer. This production of Chabrier’s opéra-comique is given a contemporary treatment by Thaddeus Strassberger, who also directed Bard SummerScape’s acclaimed productions of Les Huguenots (2009) and The Distant Sound (2010).
Special support for this program is provided by Emily H. Fisher and John Alexander. Opera Talks are presented in memory of Sylvia Redlick Green.
Running time for this performance is approximately three hours, with two 20-minute intermissions.