Guillaume Tell © beyond | Herwig Zens

Opera in four acts (1829)

Music by Gioachino Rossini

Libretto by Étienne de Jouy and Hippolyte Bis based on the play Wilhelm Tell by Friedrich Schiller

In French with German surtitles

Production of Theater an der Wien

Premiere: Saturday, 13 October 2018, 7 pm

Performances: 16 / 18 / 21 / 23 / 27 October 2018, 7 pm

Content

Behind the idyllic facade of the village of Bürglen in the canton of Uri trouble is brewing: weddings are due to take place there and the villagers are looking forward to a celebration, but the country is ruled by the Habsburgs, a foreign power. The governor appointed by the Habsburgs, Gesler, is particularly brutal in his oppression of the population. Guillaume Tell suffers more than most and his distress increases still further when he realises that his friend Arnold has fallen in love with Mathilde, a Habsburg princess, and intends to throw in his lot with the oppressors. But when Arnold’s brother is killed by Gesler he changes his mind and joins the resistance movement that is forming around Tell. Under Tell’s leadership, representatives of the cantons of Unterwalden, Schwyz and Uri form an alliance against the foreign rulers, swearing the Rütlischwur. Gesler’s increasing despotism soon triggers a revolt: He now demands that the populace show the same respect to his hat stuck at the top of a pole that they would to him. Tell refuses to obey this command and is arrested. His son Jemmy is also apprehended and Gesler intends to make an example of him as a warning to others: Tell, known far and wide as an excellent bowman, is ordered to shoot an apple from his son’s head; only by doing so can he save his son’s life and his own. But is it permissible for a father to shoot at his own offspring in order to save his country? Tell shoots and hits the apple, but Gesler discovers that he has a second arrow in his quiver. Tell confesses that this second arrow would have been for Gesler had the first one hit Jemmy. Gesler has the recalcitrant Tell tied up, put in a boat and sent to the other side of the lake to be devoured by “reptiles” in a castle dungeon. But no sooner has the boat cast off than a storm breaks out over Lake Lucerne, and the anger of Swiss people everywhere becomes open rebellion — for Tell has now become their folk hero. Jemmy sets fire to Tell’s own house as a sign of revolt. In the meantime, his father has managed to slip his bonds and return to the shore where he kills Gesler with another well-aimed arrow, and so gives his country the liberty it has so long yearned for.

Cast

Conductor

Diego Matheuz

Biography
Director

Torsten Fischer

Biography
Set & costume design

Herbert Schäfer und Vasilis Triantafilopoulos

Biography
Dramaturgy

Herbert Schäfer

Biography
Guillaume Tell

Christoph Pohl

Biography
Arnold Melchthal

John Osborn

Biography
Mathilde

Jane Archibald

Biography
Hedwige

Marie-Claude Chappuis

Biography
Jemmy

Anita Rosati

Biography
Melchthal

Jérôme Varnier

Biography
Gesler

Ante Jerkunica

Biography
Walter Fürst

Edwin Crossley-Mercer

Biography
Ruodi

Anton Rositskiy

Biography
Rodolphe

Sam Furness

Biography
Leuthold

Lukas Jakobski

Biography
Orchestra

Wiener Symphoniker

Biography
Choir

Arnold Schoenberg Chor (Ltg. Erwin Ortner)

Biography

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