Four ballet and opera performances are being given as part of the tour, opening with Manon Lescaut, by Giacomo Puccini, staged by Latvian director Andrejs Žagars. The performance was premiered by the Estonian National Opera last season, using a libretto based on the Abbe Prevost novel L’Histoire du Chevalier Des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut. Mr. Žagars has drastically changed the chronology and geography of events, to place a new spin on Puccini’s well-loved work.
Belarusian fans of opera will also enjoy the Estonians’ staging of La Traviata, by Giuseppe Verdi. Based on La Dame aux Camйlias, a play adapted from a novel by Alexandre Dumas, it is one of the world’s most popular operas, rivalled only by Georges Bizet’s Carmen. Every major theatre has staged Verdi’s masterpiece, with the lead role of Violetta probably the most coveted among sopranos past and present.
Manon is choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan, providing a colourful illustration of 18th century life. In fact, the Estonian National Opera is only the sixteenth theatre in the world honoured with rights to stage the ballet.
The Estonians’ Nutcracker, based on Hofmann’s fairy tale, is certainly a delight, being easy and unpretentious. Tchaikovsky’s wonderful music is the perfect accompaniment to the festive season.
The Estonian National Opera is Estonia’s major music theatre, founded in the second half of the 19th century. Its current repertoire features opera, ballet, operetta and musical comedy.