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Friday, February 3, 2023

“Hadrian” by Rufus Wainwright received a standing ovation at the Teatro Real at the end of the 2021-2022 season



Canadian singer-songwriter and composer Rufus Wainwright’s opera Hadrian received a standing ovation from audiences who descended on the Teatro Real this Wednesday to witness a story that gives a voice to gay love and marks the end of the 2021- 2022 at the Madrid Coliseum.

At the end of the play, the audience cheered and applauded the cast for more than five minutes, led by Thomas Hampson (Hadrian) and Santiago Ballerini (Antinous), but especially a great Vanessa Goikoetxea in the role of Sabina for her great performance in the second act, accompanied by the titular choir of the Teatro Real, which received with emotion the affection of the spectators.

“Hadrian”, performed by the great Thomas Hampson, recreates the story of the last day of the Roman Emperor who reigned between AD 117 and 138. On this occasion, Rufus Wainwright has focused on the least known part of the Roman Emperor, who openly lived his homosexuality and his deep and unbreakable love for another man, Antinous, apart from other more well-known aspects of his legacy such as the building of the Wall in Britain, the bears his name, or his conflict with Judea over the rise of monotheism.

The film director Pedro Almodóvar did not want to miss this opera in a semi-staged concert version in four acts, in which the government’s economic vice-president, Nadia Calviño, also took part; the Delegate for Culture and Sport of the Madrid City Council, Andrea Levy; or the Dukes of Huéscar, among other familiar faces.

With a libretto by Daniel MacIvor and the special collaboration of the Mapplethorpe Foundation, the work premiered on October 13, 2018 at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto. For its performance in Madrid, the opera will be supported by the evocative images of the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, around 300, which help to better adapt the story and achieve a better immersion in the universe of “Hadrian”, which lasts more than two and a half hours in takes place in a minimalist environment with neutral tones.

Initially, the performance of soprano Ainhoa ​​​​Arteta and bass Rubén Amoretti was planned. However, both canceled their participation in the opera for health reasons and were replaced by Alexandra Urquiola (Plotina) and Christian Federici (Turbo) respectively.

Homoerotic relationships were acceptable among the Roman nobility of the time, but were viewed positively only by adults and slaves. In this case, Antinous was not only a free man, but also too old and treated as an equal partner. The two met in Greece while the Emperor was touring the Empire and spent the next six years together continuing that tour.

Towards the end of his journey, in the happy prospect of living together in the Emperor’s villa outside Rome, Antinous died under mysterious circumstances by drowning in the Nile. This is the starting point of “Hadrian”: an explanation of this and the death policy of Adriano , which transports us to one of the greatest love stories of all time.


Thus, the first act is set in Tibur, Hadrian’s villa, on the outskirts of Rome, with the death of Antinous, while the second is set in the past and in Greece. At this point in the play, the loving couple, dressed in black and white, have shown their romantic relationship.

Of unique emotion was the third act, set in a place outside of time where viewers have the opportunity to witness the love between Hadrian and Antinous that has matured into the complicit passion of soul mates.

Finally, in Act Four, Hadrian is devastated by the knowledge of the truth, but then he rises and takes action to exact a vengeance that will affect both the fate of the Empire and the wishes of Plotina (the empress who had Hadrian led to it) will be his throne). ) to be remembered forever as she signs the edict to send troops to Judea.

Finally, Hadrian forces Turbo to confess to the murder of Antinous, who claims it was all because of the Emperor and his legacy, to which he replies that his legacy will not be war but love. “In a way, I was sincere. A path to be remembered. That last breath, my legacy: He loved,” concludes Hadrian, after taking the viewer on a journey between the fragile comfort of memory and irrevocable reality of the loss.


Source europapress.es

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