- Since the opera’s premiere in 2000 at the Salzburg Festival, Love from Afar has captivated audiences worldwide with performances at Théâtre du Châtelet, Sante Fe Opera, Stadttheater Bern, Finnish National Opera, the Bergen International Festival, English National Opera and Vlaamse Opera. Arguably the greatest opera of the 21st century, it has been praised as a “haunting and resonant work... transfixing and utterly distinguished” by the New York Times.
About the cast and creative team:
- Daniele Finzi-Pasca, best known for his work with Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo and the creation of the closing ceremonies of the XX Olympic Winter Games in Torino in 2006, directs the production
- internationally renowned lyric baritone Russell Braun (last seen here as Oreste in Iphigenia in Tauris) sings the role of Jaufré Rudel
- Erin Wall, soprano, makes her COC debut in the role of Clémence
- Mezzo-soprano and Ensemble Studio graduate Krisztina Szabó (last seen here as Idamante in Idomeneo) sings the role of the Pilgrim
- Johannes Debus leads the COC Orchestra and Chorus through Saariaho’s lushly orchestrated score. The composer has created a rich tapestry of sound using innovative combinations of traditional instrumental sections with electronics. Among the more unusual instruments used in Love from Afar’s orchestration are an o-daiko (a Japanese taiko drum), glass and shell chimes, and a synthesizer to trigger electronic soundscape effects.
- Videos from ENO's 2009 production of L'amour de loin (Love from Afar), the production appearing at the COC in Feb. 2012:
- Video from Vlaamse Opera's 2010 production of Love from Afar:
- All photos are from the Vlaamse Opera 2010 production of Love from Afar. Photos by Annemie Augustijns
About the Opera
Love from Afar tells the story of a world-weary troubadour from France who carries on a long-distance love affair with a beautiful woman living in Tripoli. Although they never see or speak to each other, their feelings develop and grow through the efforts of an enigmatic Pilgrim, who carries messages of love and yearning between the two. Saariaho drew her inspiration for the work from the life and song texts of Jaufré Rudel, a French prince and troubadour of the 12th century, who often wrote of his obsessive love for an ideal, unattainable woman and whether such a love is best preserved from afar. The resulting work is a melding of medieval musings with the sounds of the modern age.
This production of Love from Afar is a COC co-production with English National Opera, where it premiered in July 2009, and Vlaamse Opera, where it made its debut in September 2010.
Sung in French with English SURTITLES™, Love from Afar runs for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on Feb. 2, 4, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18 and 22, 2012.