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Detlev Glanert’s Caligula at the Teatro Colón

(March 2014)

Caligula sees its South American premiere

The Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires has been a staple venue for adventurous programming for over a century. Its dedication to contemporary music in many different genres can be seen through the decades; the works of Alberto Ginastera, Osvaldo Golijov, Bohuslav Martinu, Benjamin Britten, and countless others have been performed at Argentina’s grandest performance hall. Kicking off the Teatro Colón’s 2014 lyric season will be Detlev Glanert’s 2006 opera in four acts, Caligula. The production runs April 1–8, 2014.

Caligula has been hailed as "perhaps the finest German opera of the 21st Century" (Tempo) and "a composition which will be seen as one of the great musical works of fate" (Scherzo). The work is a tale of insanity, murder, and love, inspired by the real-life exploits of the Roman emperor Caligula. In Glanert’s Caligula, the infamous emperor returns to public view three days after the death of his sister and lover, Drusilla. He orders his former slave, Helicon, to bring him the moon, and begins to enact nonsensical and absurd laws. The emperor ultimately wants to purge evil from the world, and, upon catching wind of his madness, the Roman senators conspire to do away with him. After delving deeper into madness, Caligula forces his wife to prove her love for him by succumbing to death by his own hand. In the end, it is Caligula who is killed by the conspirators.

To watch a video of Detlev Glanert talking about the inception of Caligula, click here.

This English National Opera production features an all-star cast that includes Peter Coleman Wright, Ivonne Howard, Martin Wölfe, Héctor Guedes, Jurgita Adamonyte, Gustavo López Manzitti, Víctor Torres, and Marisú Pavón. Caligula saw its premiere in 2006 at the Frankfurt Opera—a co-commissioner along with the Cologne Opera. Caligula features a libretto by Hans-Ulrich Treichel, based on the play by Albert Camus.

For more information about this work, click here.


CAESONIA, Caligula's wife
HELICON, Caligula's slave
CHEREA, state procurator
SCIPIO, a young patrician
MUCIUS, senator
MEREIA / LEPIDUS, Roman nobles (doubling role)
LIVIA, Mucius' wife
Four poets
Men and women, voices

Photo: Iko Freese

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