Image: Theatre Royal (Stratford East)
On the bicentenary of the composer's birth in 1818, University College Opera is proud to present the British premiere of Charles Gounod's rarely performed opera Polyeucte.
Composed when Gounod was in London in 1870 fleeing the troubles of the Franco-Prussian War, 'Polyeucte' is full of beautiful arias and ensembles that are sometimes performed in concerts.
These performances represent a unique opportunity to hear them as originally conceived.
Award-winning and much acclaimed conductor Charles Peebles, who has been musical director of UCOpera since 2002, leads a cast of professional young singers and an enthusiastic and well-rehearsed student orchestra and chorus.
Rising opera-director Thomas Guthrie, who amongst other things has worked on important revivals at Covent Garden, directs this grand opera 'Polyeucte'.
Based on the Corneille play 'Saint Polyeuctus', which had previously inspired Donizetti, it tells a tragic story of Christian martyrdom in defiance of the all-powerful powerful Roman Empire.
Polyeucte, an Armenian prince, has married Pauline, the daughter of the Proconsul of Armenia.
Pauline was once in love with the Roman general Sévère, whose war against Christendom's new converts is swiftly picking up pace.
When Sévère returns to Armenia, he finds his beloved Pauline married to a man who has passionately taken up the new creed.
Although Sévère's love for Pauline is greater than his desire for revenge, the long-reaching arm of Roman power hangs over them all.
In this tale of love vs duty and obligation, it is the pious and good who are ultimately defeated, but of course, find their way to heaven.
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London E15 1BN
Performance days & times
Monday ‑ 7‑30pm
Wednesday ‑ 7‑30pm
Friday ‑ 7‑30pm
Saturday ‑ 7‑30pm
Luke Sinclair - Polyeucte
Flora Mcintosh - Pauline
Jan Capinski - Sévère
John Mackenzie - Félix
Fabian Helmrich- Néarque
Michael Scott - Siméon
Helen Hughson - Stratonice
Stephen Esiri - Albin
Michael Tk Lam - Sextus
Author: Charles Gounod
Director: Thomas Guthrie
Designer: Raphae Memon
Musical direction: Charles Peebles
Lighting: Alex Forey