Performed in English with Russian subtitles
New version by Peter Sellars. Song texts by John Dryden, Katherine Philips, George Herbert, and others. Spoken texts from Rosario Aguilar’s novel The Lost Chronicles of Terra Firma. Russian version of libretto by Vera Pavlova and Steven Seymour
A co-production by Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre, Teatro Real (Madrid) and English National Opera (London)
The opera was composed in 1695, and this stage production was first performed in Perm in 2013. Running time: 3 hours 15 minutes including 1 interval
This is the second creative project bringing together director Peter Sellars and conductor Teodor Currentzis (the first being the operatic double-bill of Iolanta and Perséphone staged in Madrid in 2012), and also the first collective production of three opera companies – the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Spanish Teatro Real and the English National Opera.
The Indian Queen was the final composition in the short career of the first great English composer Henry Purcell, who also composed Dido and Aeneas, and was unfinished due to the composer’s sudden and untimely death at the age of 35. American director Peter Sellars’ productions of classics (whether it be Mozart, Handel, Shakespeare or Sophocles) always hit the nail on the head on current social and political issues, and today they have a prominent place amongst the classic opera productions of the 20th century. Together with Teodor Currentzis, one of the brightest stars of the conducting world today, he has reproduced the unfinished original, supplementing it with fragments from other works by Purcell. In the new libretto arias from the original are combined with quotes form the novel of Nicaraguan author Rosario Aguilar The Lost Chronicles of Terra Firma.
The action is set in Central America. Spanish colonialists are at war with the native Mayan people. In the face of the armed forces the locals appear armed with bows and arrows, but they are mere children. Blood runs like a river. The Mayans resort to trickery – in order to infiltrate the enemy, the daughter of the Mayan chief becomes a concubine to the commander of the Spanish army. The plan brings her unexpected happiness (she falls in love with the commander and has children with him) but also tragedy (the Spanish colonialists continue the massacre of the Mayans). With nowhere to turn for help, the only hope is that the great Mayan gods will descend from the sky to the earth at the critical moment…
The scenery recreates the symbolic and colourful decoration of the Mayan tribes and the Zapatista Army – a modern national liberation movement in Mexico. The music is performed by an international ensemble of soloists, choir and the orchestra Music Aeterna.