Eliogabalo by the Dutch National Opera

Eliogabalo by the Dutch National Opera

Oct 12, 2017Oct 26, 2017
Nationale Opera & Ballet, Amstel 3, 1011 PN

This is your chance to see Eliogabalo at Dutch National Opera, which has only been performed a few times in over 300 years.

Eliogabalo by the Dutch National Opera is an absolute must-see. The reign of historic late-Roman emperor Heliogabalus was a grand carnival of maniacal lust and depravity, forming the perfect basis for the legendary opera Eliogabalo.

Eliogabalo is this season’s grand baroque opera, performed by the Dutch National Opera. It is the last preserved opera by Venetian composer Francesco Cavalli, a student of Monteverdi. Until recently, Eliogabalo would not be performed on stage because it features the murder of a ruler. Its world premiere did not take place until more than 300 years after its creation, in 1999.

The real Eliogabalo

Eliogabalo is centred around the infamous true historic figure Heliogabalus, a colourful teen emperor from Syria, who was known for his tumultuous sex life and raucous behaviour.

Few real facts are known about Heliogabalus. He ruled the Roman Empire in the third century AD, from the young age of 14 until he turned 18. Myths about his conduct paint him as an eccentric, decadent and extraordinary person, with a bisexual orientation. One of his pastimes was hiding jewels in his guests’ food so he could watch them choke. Eventually, he was killed by his own guards.

Production by the Dutch National Opera

The Dutch National Opera production of Eliogabalo is directed by Thomas Jolly, in cooperation with the Opéra national de Paris. The production takes place in a seemingly small space, surrounded by darkness. Special lighting effects by Antoine Travers and extravagant costumes by British fashion designer Gerard Pugh give Eliogabalo its special essence, mixing intimacy and emotions with eccentricity and estrangement.

Gareth Pugh, a British fashion designer, designed the often eccentric costumes. In 2007, Pugh presented his first collection at the Fashion Week, in London. His designs are worn by such stars as Rihanna, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. He previously designed costumes for the opera Antigona, by Tommaso Treatta. Eliogabalo will be performed in Italian, with Dutch and English subtitles.

Capella Mediterranea

Leonardo García Alarcón and his Cappella Mediterranea will be guest performers at the National Opera for the first time. The ensemble specialise in early 17th century music in three major genres: the madrigal, the polyphonic motet and the opera.