La mère coupable

Opera in three acts (1966)
Music by Darius Milhaud
Performed in French with German surtitles
Conductor: Leo Hussain
Director: Herbert Föttinger

Premiere
Fridy, 8 May 2015
7.30 pm

With Markus Butter, Mireille Delunsch, Angelika Kirchschlager, et al.
ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester
New production Theater an der Wien

Synopsis

Beaumarchais’ third play about the Almavivas and their two married servants is more of a bourgeois melodrama than a comedy like its two predecessors. La mère coupable was also a huge success during the playwright’s lifetime and was intended to be set to music. A project with the French composer André Grétry, who was very successful at the time, was in the pipeline, but Beaumarchais’ death in 1799 meant that it was abandoned, and La mère coupable had to wait a long time to be set. It was rediscovered by the French composer Darius Milhaud (1892-1974), who turned the melodrama into a gloomy studio play in which, however, love and Figaro’s prudence lead the characters, trapped by moral constraints as they are, to tolerance and ends happily.

The Almavivas live with their son Léon and foster daughter Florestine in Paris. Figaro and Suzanne are still in the Count’s service. Léon and Florestine are in love. A schemer by the name of Begearss has wormed his way into the family. His aim is to lay his hands on the Count’s fortune, because only he knows all the family’s guilty secrets which he cunningly exploits to further his own ends: Florestine is the Count’s illegitimate daughter and Léon the son the Countess had by Chérubin who has since fallen in the war. Begearss proves to the Count that Léon is not his son, whereupon the latter installs Florestine as his heir by means of a large dowry. The schemer now leads Léon and Florestine to believe that they are brother and sister and so cannot marry. He then proceeds to woo Florestine himself. But Figaro and Suzanne see through his deceit and work against him. The tangle of halftruths and secrets of the heart kept hidden out of shame is not unravelled until the Count, as the confusion reaches its climax, realizes that he loves his wife: all the lies come to an end, Begearss is thrown out and Léon and Florestine can marry.

Besetzung

Conductor

Leo Hussain

Biography
Director

Herbert Föttinger

Biography
Set designer

Walter Vogelweider

Biography
Costume designer

Birgit Hutter

Biography
Light designer

Emmerich Steigberger

Biography
Dramaturgy

Ulrike Zemme

Biography
Le Conte Almaviva

Markus Butter

Biography
Rosine, Comtesse Almaviva

Mireille Delunsch

Biography
Léon

Andrew Owens

Biography
Florestine

Frederikke Kampmann

Biography
Suzanne

Angelika Kirchschlager

Biography
Figaro

Aris Argiris

Biography
Begearss

Stephan Loges

Biography
Orchestra

ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien

Biography

Photos Gallery

La mere coupable

Premiere: 8. Mai 2015
Director: Herbert Föttinger
Conductor: Leo Hussain
New production of Theater an der Wien
Photos: Herwig Prammer