The grand opera Les Huguenotswas one of the greatest operatic successes of the 19th century, and its creator was hailed as the foremost composer of his time. Yet today, he is largely forgotten by the opera-going public and his works lie gathering dust in opera house repertories around the world. Les Huguenotswas performed at the opening of the new Covent Garden Opera in London in 1858. However, it was a performance at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1890 which went into the history books. In the German translations by Ignatz Franz Castelli (1837 Vienna) and Charlotte Birch-Pfeiffer (1838 Munich), the conflict between Catholics and Protestants was heavily disguised; a new version was created by Gustaf Gründgens and Julius Kapp in Berlin in 1932. John Dew smodern production, conducted by Stefan Soltesz, caused somewhat of a sensation when it was first performed in 1987 at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin. Giving the period and content of the work new reference points, his staging becomes almost oppressively contemporary: he sets the opera in divided Berlin, where the wall is a symbol of the separation of the two German states.Angela Denning, Lucy Peacock, Richard Leechand Martin Blasiusfascinate with their wonderful voices and impressive acting.
The performances are committed --George Hall, BBC Music Magazine