Wed, 06. Nov 2019, 19:00
Semi-Opera in five acts (1691)
Music by Henry Purcell
Text by John Dryden
King Arthur is a central figure in legends about the origins of the island kingdom of Britain.The »British worthy« is also at the centre of this »dramatick opera« by John Dryden and Henry Purcell, the most original English composer of the baroque. In the opera, Arthur has to defend England against the Saxon invaders, who have descended upon the land like a force of nature.
Arthur’s chance of loving bliss with his betrothed, the blind Emmeline, is under threat too, as the Saxon king Oswald also lays claim to her hand in marriage. In their conflict, both Arthur and Oswald are aided, led astray and rescued by wizards and spirits, but ultimately everything – Emmeline’s fate as well as England’s – comes down to a duel between the two adversaries.
»King Arthur« is a quintessentially British semi-opera. It creates a magical symbiosis of theatre, music and dance, and effortlessly combines sublime art of great seriousness with humour and spectacle. While the roles of the main characters are acted rather than sung, the opera also offers rich material for impressive musical tableaus performed by soloists and a chorus: countless fantastical events, pagan rituals, romantic moments, magical battles and a variety of natural and supernatural phenomena.
approx. 3:15 h including one interval after act two