Picture this : A warm summer night in the south of France, softly lit façades of a 17th century palatial courtyard that now encase an open-air concert hall, a fidgeting audience of tanned Aixois and chic Parisians, faint strains of searching notes as the orchestra tunes up…
It’s Night at the Opera – an integral part of the AUCP full-French immersion Summer program!
This week, AUCP summer students will attend an evening performance of Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia, at the renowned International Opera Festival of Aix. Two hours of class time prior to the performance will be dedicated to studying the libretto and cast of characters (in French, bien sûr!) as well as reviewing information on the composer, conductor and the history of the Aix Opera Festival.
Held at the Théâtre de l’Archevêché, the festival’s emblematic venue set in the courtyard and former garden of the Archibishop’s palace, the open-air performance of Rossini’s comic opera is a co-production with the Opéra de Dijon and the Polish National Opera Theatr Wielki.
One of the lesser-known works of Rossini, this light-hearted, compassionate comedy is considered a true gem of the comic opera genre. Conducted by Mark Minkowski, Il Turco in Italia features Roumanian bass Adrian Sâmpetrean as Prince Selim, American tenor Lawrence Brownlee as Narciso, and in the role of Donna Fiorilla, the beautiful Russian soprano Olga Peretyatko (left), who made her début at the Met in April.
A Night at the Opera not only allows students to penetrate the world of European opera, but gives them an opportunity to participate in the nec plus ultra of the Aix cultural scene. It is one of the many summer program components designed to facilitate students integration and understanding of French culture.