It was tantamount to a pioneering achievement. Only a very few ventured to present a performance of Les Troyens, the final opera completed by Hector Berlioz. During his lifetime, it was never performed in its entirety. The first complete performance took place in Karlsruhe in 1890. This musical tragedy unites sufficient matter for two stage works: It deals with the destruction of Troy and the flight of the few survivors as well as with the refugees’ abode in Carthage and the love story between Dido and Aeneas. In Karlsruhe, the five-and-a-half-hour-long work was presented on two consecutive evenings.
After taking office as General Music Director of Deutsche Oper Berlin, Donald Runnicles took a risk and chose Les Troyens for his first new production in 2010 – with great musical success. For Musikfest Berlin, he has arranged a concertante excerpt from both parts of this five-act work. He has reduced the sung parts to those that were interpreted by a single artist, Pauline Mailhac, in Karlsruhe: the roles of the two queens, Trojan Hecuba and Carthage’s Dido.