Thursday, 16 December 2021
From 7:30 pmuntil approximately 9:50 pm
Müpa – Béla Bartók National Concert Hall,
HUF 2,500, HUF 3,500, HUF 4,000, HUF 4,500, HUF 5,500
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Kocsis season ticket / 2

Félicien David: Herculanum – Hungarian première

Lilia Gabrielle Philiponet
Olympia Aude Extrémo
Hélios Cyrille Dubois
Nicanor/Satan Alexandre Duhamel
Magnus Douglas Williams

Hungarian National Choir (choirmaster: Csaba Somos)
Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra

Conductor: György Vashegyi


A forgotten French Romantic composer, an unfamiliar opera and a story about a city destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD and the lives of its inhabitants. This evening is an opportunity for us to excavate exciting finds from the grey layers of the ashes of time. Félicien David’s opera was praised even by Berlioz. Presenting the work will be an international cast of singers under the baton of György Vashegyi, who has worked tirelessly for many years to popularise neglected treasures of music history.

Félicien David (1810–1876) was a student of Cherubini’s; a contemporary of Liszt and the great Romantics Schumann, Mendelssohn, Wagner and Verdi, he wrote numerous operas. The most famous of these is the four-act Herculanum: first performed in 1859, it is a dramatic love story full of seduction and intrigue between the pagan Romans and members of the new Christian faith set against the backdrop of an impending natural disaster. If we add that Satan appears in the story, first in disguise and later revealing himself, one can see how powerfully the expressive style of David’s work uses the extreme devices of Romanticism. The core of the production’s international cast of singers consists of three French artists – soprano Gabrielle Philiponet, mezzo-soprano Aude Extrémo, tenor Cyrille Dubois and baritone Alexandre Duhamel – along with American bass-baritone Douglas Williams. György Vashegyi, who started his highly significant journey of exploration into the French repertoire with Rameau and operas from the Baroque period, also leads Hungarian music listeners across Classical and Romantic landscapes conducting works by Méhul, Cherubini, David and others.