by OPERA Charm Team
November 7, 2023

Premiere on November 11th, 2023


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On Saturday, November 11th, 2023, the next premiere and at the same time a State Opera premiere is on the programme: György Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre. Belgian stage director Jan Lauwers is responsible for the production, set design and choreography (together with Paul Blackman) and returns to the Haus am Ring with this new production following the acclaimed premiere of L’incoronazione di Poppea in the 2020/2021 season. Pablo Heras-Casado will conduct – this will be his fourth premiere at Haus am Ring. The Austrian baritone Georg Nigl can be heard in the leading role of Nekrotzar in his international role debut. He will be joined on stage by Gerhard Siegel as Piet vom Fass, Maria Nazarova as Amanda, Isabel Signoret as Amando, Wolfgang Bankl as Astradamors, Marina Prudenskaya as Mescalina and house debutants Sarah Aristidou as the head of Gepopo / Venus and Andrew Watts as Prince Go-Go.

Ligeti’s only opera is based on the 1934 play La balade du Grand Macabre by Michel de Ghelderode and was premiered at the Royal Opera in Stockholm on April 12th, 1978. Since then, the work has become an important part of the global opera repertoire. The composer develops the basic theme of the opera – the abolition of fear and the triumph of Eros – through ironic distance, alienation and ambiguity: Death, alias Necrotzar, alias the demonic Great Macabre, arrives in an imaginary, corrupt land of milk and honey to proclaim the end of the world. There he learns about human desires – and ends up being the only one to die himself. This experience encourages humanity to carry on living as before and maintain its frivolous lifestyle.

The synaesthetically inclined Ligeti – he associated colours and shapes, machines and physical devices with musical processes and, conversely, sounds and noises with colours, words and letters – also wrote Le Grand Macabre with an extraordinary orchestration, which can now be heard for the first time at Haus am Ring. In addition to a rather small string section, the instruments include a bass trumpet, harmonica, whistles, six doorbells and, last but not least, twelve differently tuned car horns.

Le Grand Macabre in livestream and on the radio
The premiere of Le Grand Macabre on Saturday, November 11th, 2023 will be broadcast live on Radio Ö1 from 19:00. On Sunday, November 19th, 2023, the performance will be broadcast live on the Vienna State Opera’s streaming platform (free, registration required) from 19:00.

Introductory matinee to the premiere
The introductory matinee to Le Grand Macabre, hosted by State Opera Director Bogdan Roščić, took place on Sunday, November 5th, 2023. The event featured a presentation of the new production, talks with artists and musical contributions. Participants and dialogue partners on this morning included Jan Lauwers, Pablo Heras-Casado, Georg Nigl, Sarah Aristidou and Gerhard Siegel. The 90-minute matinee can be viewed on the Vienna State Opera’s YouTube channel.


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Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner comes from a music-loving family. Her first encounter with the opera universe was at the tender age of six. The grandeur of the stage productions and costumes, the backstage chatter, and last, but definitely not least, the music left her in awe, beginning with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The overall feeling that opera awakens in anyone who gets a glimpse into this part of artistic eternity, that each and every day passes the test of time, was what drew her to stay and be a part of this world. The Opera House of Brașov became her second home, and the people who worked there were her second family.

Since then, Alice has devoted her spare time to maximising her musical knowledge through instrumental studies, studying both piano and violin for a short time. In the following years, her number one passion stepped out of the limelight and graciously gave way to Law Studies.
Since 2018 she has been studying Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Her passion for opera, even if it is no longer her top professional priority in terms of career, it has most definitely become her priority during her free time. Wanting to experience the best of both worlds and extend her musical horizons, she regularly attends opera performances throughout Romania and abroad.
With OPERA Charm Magazine, Alice aims to nurture her creative side to help it flourish and bloom and to discover, alongside the magazine’s readers, the fascinatingly complex world of opera.

Currently, she is an LL.M. in Business Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Oana Zamfir

Oana Zamfir is a second year MA student at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts, at the Department of Musicology.

She studied violin for 12 years at the “Stefan Luchian” High School of Art in Botosani, later focusing on the theoretical aspects of music. In 2019 she completed her bachelor studies in Musicology as a student of the National Academy of Music “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca. Her research during 2018-2019 brought to the forefront elements of the archaic ritual within works of composers who activated during the communist period, giving her the opportunity to start a research internship at the “Carl von Ossietzky” University in Germany. In this context, she recorded conversations with members of the Sophie Drinker Institute in Bremen, and had access to documents directly from the Myriam Marbé archive.

Since 2019 she has been a teacher of Music Education and Theoretical Music Studies, making full use of interactive methods in the musical training of students and working, at the same time, with the children’s choir founded in the first year of her activity.

Her interests include pursuing a degree in interior design in 2020.

Alexandru Suciu

Alexandru Suciu inherited his passion for art growing up in a family of several generations of musicians. He began his musical studies at the “Augustin Bena” School of Music in Cluj, where he studied piano and guitar. Even though his main study direction was philological, his passion for music prevailed. He began his academical journey at the Faculty of Letters of the “Babeș-Bolyai” University, studying Comparative literature and English. He continued by studying Opera Singing at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy. He also graduated the Musical Education section, followed by Artistic Directing at the Musical Performing Arts department.

His multidisciplinary education opened the doors towards research, which is seen both through his participation in national and international conferences and symposia, such as the Salzburg Easter School PhD-forum, organized by the Salzburg Universität or the Silesian Meeting of Young Scholars, organized by the Institute of English at the University of Silesia, as well as the collaboration with Opera Charm Magazine.

During his student years, he won several prizes, including the Grand Prize at the “Paul Constantinescu” National Musical Interpretation Competition, the Romanian Composers and Musicologists’ Union Prize at the same competition, the First Prize and the Schubert Prize at the “Ada Ulubeanu” Competition.

He further developed his artistic skills by specializing in courses and masterclasses held by personalities such as Vittorio Terranova, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Marian Pop, Ines Salazar, Riccardo Zanellato, Paolo Bosisio, Valentina Farcaș and Manuel Lange in contexts such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Operngesang Deutschlandsberg, Corso Internazionale di Canto Lirico I.M.C. Licata or the Europäische Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst Montepulciano. Besides his activity on-stage, he currently teaches Opera Singing Didactics, and Pedagogical Practice within the Department for Teacher Education and Training at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy.

Cristina Fieraru

Cristina is a 24 year-old Romanian soprano & a student at the National University of Music Bucharest, where she pursues the MA program in Vocal Performance.

She made her debut in Pamina from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at only 19 years old at the Bucharest National Opera House, as a member of the Ludovic Spiess Experimental Opera Studio. Over the years she made her debut in roles such as Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì & Musetta (La Bohème), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) in her university’s opera productions.
Her passion and experience extends in the field of choral music, too.

She has been part of our dream team since the fall of 2021. For a good period of time she took care of OPERA Charm’s social media and took you on the monthly journey through the history of opera through our Legends rubric – and a few times through the Theaters around the World rubric.

Her little soul rubric – from 2021 to present – is definitely the Conductors of the Future, where, every month, she gives you the chance to meet a young star of the world of conducting and, of course, to find out what’s the most charming feature of opera in these artists’ views.


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