Les Martyrs


Love, faith, death and the question of what people are prepared to risk for their values and convictions. Gaetano Donizetti deals with these themes using the example of Christian martyrdom. An outrage for the Italian censors of the 1830s, prompting Gaetano Donizetti to switch to France and enlist the help of librettist Eugène Scribe to publish the opera he had been planning, Poliuto, as a grand opéra. Under the title Les martyrs the work had its premiere in Paris in 1840 and included, among other things, a ballet scene, an innovative score structure that presaged the music-drama form, and a spectacularly reworked tenor part. Today, it is one of Donizetti’s lesser-known and rarely performed works, but for Polish director Cezary Tomaszewski it is nevertheless “the best Donizetti opera. A hybrid of bel canto and grand opéra. A masterpiece, thrilling, cinematic with multi-layered and exciting characters”. He transfers the plot to a fantastic, amorphous and futuristic world that focuses on the attempted domination of power over the body. American tenor John Osborn is debuting in the demanding bel canto part of Polyceute (“heroic, confident in the heights, and supple the Polyeucte of John Osborn”, Der Standard). He is joined by Roberta Mantegna as Pauline (“her singing is enchanting – firm, yet soft and radiant tones with sparkling coloratura”, The ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Jérémie Rhorer, a specialist in historically informed performance practice. “An absolute event is the […] consummately singing Arnold Schoenberg Choir.” (Kurier)v

Additional Info

  • No: A04050350
  • Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
  • Conductor: Jeremie Rhorer
  • Orchestra: ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien
  • Artists: Roberta Mantegna, John Osborn, Mattia Olivieri, David Steffens, Arnold Schönberg Choir
  • Production year: 2023
  • Run time: 02:31:00
  • Director: Stage Director: Cezary Tomaszewski
  • Producers: UNITEL, ORF III, MusikTheater an der Wien, Vereinigte Bühnen Wien GmbH
  • Format: 4K
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