Le Grand Macabre by György Ligeti


  • György Ligeti Le grand macabre

James Gaffigan conducts the only opera written by the contrary avant-garde György Ligeti (19232006). Poignant theatre, from the bizarre to the sensual.

Remarkably topical opera
In these times of pandemics, ecological catastrophes, bloody civil wars and political instability, there is really no more suitable opera than Le Grand Macabre by Hungarian György Ligeti, a work that was completed in 1977 and revised in 1996. The contrary avant-garde composer based his story on the absurdist play La balade du Grand Macabre by the French-speaking Fleming Michel De Ghelderode. In bizarre scenes, we follow the drunkard Piet the Pot in his many encounters with carnal love and the naked political power struggle.

Ligeti: the top of the twentieth century
Ligeti translated the Jeroen-Bosch-like colourfulness of the story into grotesque pastiches full of exaggerated vocal styles, which persiflate the past vocal centuries. Yet he ultimately manages to grab you by the throat with a wonderfully sensual duet between soprano and mezzo-soprano, with the virtuoso countertenor role of Prince Go-Go, and even with the great macabre Death himself, embodied in the bass-baritone Nekrotzar. The post-apocalyptic landscape that Ligeti paints with strings and harmonicas at the end makes it clear that he is one of the most important composers of the twentieth century.

Read Thea Derks' preview: Le Grand Macabre by György Ligeti - surprisingly topical opera about the end of time. The English version can be found here.

> More information about your visit to The Royal Concertgebouw and the new corona rules

Saturday, 27 November 2021
The Royal Concertgebouw

Large Hall


Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
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James Gaffigan (c) Vera Mann
James Gaffigan
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Netherlands Radio Choir
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Gijs Leenaars (c) Hans van der Woerd
Gijs Leenaars
Choir conductor
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Heidi Melton (c) Andrew Finden
Heidi Melton
Soprano, Mescalina
Martin Winkler
Martin Winkler
Bass-baritone, Nekrotzar
Sofia Fomina (c) Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi & Olga Martinez
Sofia Fomina
Soprano, Amanda
Marta Fontanals-Simmons
Marta Fontanals-Simmons
Mezzo-Soprano, Amando
Peter Hoare
Tenor, Pete the Pot
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen
Countertenor, Prince Go-Go
Seth Carico
Bass-baritone, Astradamors
Paul Curievici (c) Nick Ritte
Paul Curievici
Tenor, White-Party Minister
Tim Kuypers
Baritone, Black-Party Minister
Sara Hershkowitz (c) Thomas Jahn.
Sara Hershkowitz
Soprano, Venus / Gepopo

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