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La favorite

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January
Friday
24
07:30 PM
January
Sunday
26
02:00 PM
February
Saturday
01
07:30 PM
February
Thursday
06
07:30 PM
February
Sunday
09
02:00 PM
  • SubjectSubject
  • Running TimeRunning Time
  • AgeAge
  • LanguageLanguage
Language

Sung in French with projected English translation

Age

Appropriate for all ages

Running Time

2 hours and 50 minutes
1 intermission

Subject

Donizetti
La favorite
Secret love bound by silence.

HGO Premiere

Once the most performed opera of its time, this bel canto drama features some of the most challenging arias ever written. Woven into Donizetti’s now–rarely performed La favorite is a classic love triangle among a noblewoman, king, and warrior.

Opera powerhouse and HGO Studio alumna Jamie Barton and international star Lawrence Brownlee return to Houston for this HGO premiere.

Sung in French with projected English translation.

CAST      
Léonor de Guzman   Jamie Barton
     
Fernand   Lawrence Brownlee
     
Alphonse XI   Jacques Imbrailo
     
Balthazar   Federico De Michelis
     
Don Gaspar   Christopher Bozeka
     
Inès   Elena Villalón
     
CREATIVE TEAM    
Conductor   Christophe Rousset
     
Director   Kevin Newbury
     
Set Designer   Victoria Tzykun
     
Costume Designer   Jessica Jahn
     
Lighting Designer   D.M. Wood

 

Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Richard Bado, Chorus Master
The Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Master Chair

ACT I

In the Monastery of St. James, the monks are making their way to worship. Superior Balthazar, father of the Queen of Castile, enters with Fernand. Fernand confesses that he wishes to renounce his novitiate because he has fallen in love with a beautiful, but as yet unknown, lady. His faith in God remains, but he wishes to leave the monastery in search of her. Balthazar angrily sends Fernand out of the monastery, warning him of the dangers of the outside world. He predicts that Fernand will one day return to the cloisters, a disappointed if wiser man. Fernand finds his lady, Léonor, and declares his love for her while still unaware of her real identity. He is met by Inès, Léonor’s companion, who impresses him with the need for secrecy. Léonor enters. She tells him that their love can only lead to sorrow and that they must not meet again before handing him a document to help him in his future. Shortly after, the arrival of Castilian King Alphonse XI is announced and Léonor leaves. Fernand is left believing that Léonor’s social rank must be so high that she could never stoop to marry him. Reading the document she has left him, he finds a commission in the army—an opportunity for advancement and for him to gratify his highest ambitions.

ACT II

Alphonse, with the help of Fernand, who is now a military officer, has defeated the Marinids and taken Alcazar. In conversation with the courtier Don Gaspar, Alphonse expresses his pleasure at Fernand's bravery. Alone, the king expresses his love for Léonor and his desire to divorce the Queen and marry her. He realizes this will provoke the opposition of his powerful father-in-law, Balthazar, who is ultimately backed by the Pope. Léonor enters and expresses her anguish at remaining his mistress rather than his Queen. King Alphonse suspects that he is losing her affection. Don Gaspar enters with news that a letter has been discovered revealing that Léonor has a lover. She makes no denial, but at that moment Balthazar enters, a Papal Bull in hand, and threatens King Alphonse with an interdict if he does not abandon his plans for the royal divorce.

INTERMISSION

ACT III

Alphonse is to honor Fernand for his role in the war. He asks Fernand what reward he would like and Fernand asks to marry the woman who has inspired him in his bravery. Alphonse asks who she is, and Fernand indicates that it is Léonor. The king is astonished to learn that Fernand is his successful rival. In an abrupt change of mind, he orders Fernand and Léonor to marry within one hour. Léonor is left with mixed feelings of apprehension and delight. She decides that Fernand must be informed about her past and sends Inès to him with a letter confessing her true identity. However, unknown to Léonor, Inès is arrested before she can see him. Fernand only learns the truth after the wedding ceremony. Considering himself dishonored by the King, he leaves Léonor and entrusts himself to Balthazar.

ACT IV

Balthazar's daughter, the Queen, has died of jealousy and grief, and her body has been sent to him at the Monastery of St. James. Prayers are being said for her repose. Fernand is preparing to enter his new religious life. Léonor enters in a state of exhaustion and faints before the cross. At first Fernand rejects her, but eventually moved by her love and sincerity, he is willing to give himself to her once more, but it is too late. Léonor collapses once more and dies in his arms.
 

CAST

Jamie Barton
Léonor de Guzman
Jacques Imbrailo
Alphonse XI
Balthazar
Don Gaspar
Inès

CREATIVE TEAM

Conductor
Kevin Newbury
Director
Set Designer
Jessica Jahn
Costume Designer
D.M. Wood
Lighting Designer
Richard Bado
Chorus Master

* HGO debut
** HGO Studio Artist
*** Former HGO Studio Artist
Production Sponsors