Today, Pascal Dusapin's new opera, Penthesilea, with a libretto (in French) by Beate Haeckl and the composer after Heinrich von Kleist, will be performed in Brussels (Théâtre de la Monnaie).
Penthesilea, the proud queen of the Amazons ! After the accidental death of her sister Hippolyta, she took part in the Trojan War to prove the courage of the Amazons. A complex and deadly game of love and hate, attraction and repulsion arose between Penthesilea and Achilles. It was Heinrich von Kleist (1808) who brought the subject into the modern era. In his version, Achilles does not kill Penthesilea, but vice versa : in a moment of tragic madness she tears apart the one she loves with her teeth. (reproduced from La Monnaie website)The cast includes Natascha Petrinsky (Penthesilea), Marisol Montalvo (Prothoe), Georg Nigl (Achilles), Werner van Mechelen (Odysseus). La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra and Chorus are conducted by Franck Ollu. Pierre Audi directs.
It is Dusapin's seventh opera since Romeo and Juliet in 1988. His most recent stage works are Perelà - Uomo di fuomo (2001), Faustus, The Last Night (2004) and Passion (2008). Kleist's play has already been adapted to the stage : by René Koering (Scène de chasse, Montpellier, 2009) and Othmar Schoeck (1927).
The performance should last about 1 hour and 45 minutes (no intermission). The production will be available for streaming on the opera house website from April 23rd to May 13th. No broadcast seems to be planned. The opera will be also performed in Strasbourg (Musica festival) next September.