03, February 2012

L’amour de Loin in Canada

Love from Afar in Canada

The opera L’Amour de loin (Love from Afar) by Kaija Saariaho is staged this February at the Four Seasons Center in Toronto from February 2-22.  Johannes Debus conducts The Canadian Opera Company.

The Prince of Blaye, a troubadour named Jaufré Rudel, is tired of his present life of diversions. A pilgrim visiting Blaye tells the Prince about the Countess who lives in Tripoli and Jaufré falls in love with her sight unseen. He composes songs describing his distant love. When the Pilgrim visits Tripoli again, he sings one of Jaufré’s songs to the Countess, Clémence, and describes the troubadour who sings about her. At first, Clémence doubts whether she is worthy of his love, but eventually she falls in love with her distant admirer.

Jaufré and the Pilgrim take a journey across the sea toward Tripoli to meet the Countess. On the voyage, Jaufré falls ill and dreams about their meeting. When they arrive in Tripoli and the couple finally meets, he dies in her arms. At first, the Countess curses her fate, but gradually her grief transforms into acceptance and love.

Love from Afar has been acclaimed as likely the first great opera of the 21st century. It met with great success, garnering seven productions in the nine years since its 2000 Salzburg Festival premiere. It is ‘a haunting and resonant work . . . often transfixing and utterly distinguished. The ovations were prolonged and deserved.’ (Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, Aug. 17, 2000).

Performance Dates:
February 2, 4, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18, and 22
Four Seasons Center, Toronto, Canada

Jaufré Rudel: Russell Braun
Clémence: Erin Wall
The Pilgrim: Krisztina Szabò

Conductor: Johannes Debus
Director: Daniele Finzi Pasca
Creative Associate: Julie Hamellin
Set Designer: Jean Rabasse
Costume Designer: Kevin Pollard
Seascape Projections Designer: Roberto Vitalini
Chorus Master: Sandra Horst
With the COC Orchestra and Chorus