at the National Theater in Munich presents a cast of outstanding bel canto singers: star mezzo-soprano Eina Garanca as the seductive Léonor de Guzman, Matthew Polenzani as her desperate lover Fernand, and Mariusz Kwiecień as King Alphonse.
Numerous myths surround the historical figure of Léonore de Guzman, mistress of King Alfons XI of Castile, who becomes embroiled within an intrigue-laced political power play. Léonore and her lover, the young monk Fernand, become pawns in a conflict between church and state, which can only lead to heartbreak and tragedy.
Amélie Niermeyer transforms the tragedy of the female role torn between spiritual and secular values into “a concentrated and intense drama […] with high acting quality” (Münchner Merkur). This contrast is highlighted by enormous architectural box structures that continually transport the characters between the convent and the royal palace, emphasizing the influence of each party on the scene.
The “fabulous Elina Garanca […] sings beautifully and emotionally restrained, leaving the audience deeply moved during her dying scene”, while Matthew Polenzani, in his debut as Fernand, scores with superb singing and acting, “reaching high tones with ease” (Süddeutsche Zeitung). Mariusz Kwiecien “convinces with the proper dandified arrogance and impressive acting”, while conductor Karel Mark Chichon completes the musically fantastic performance by “getting the most out of the Bayerisches Staatsorchester, impressively bringing out the dark, viscous sounds of the score and following the soloists with great intuition” (BR Klassik).