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Thursday - Opera Matinee: Rossini's Moses in Egypt

Penny Gore presents this week's Thursday Opera Matinee: Rossini's Moses in Egypt, performed at the Bregenz Festival last summer.

Penny Gore presents this week's Thursday Opera Matinee: Rossini's Moses in Egypt, performed at the Bregenz Festival last summer. Telling the story of Moses and the Israelites' escape from Egypt, it's also a love story between the Pharaoh's son Amenofi and the Israelite Elcia. Followed by more from this week's featured orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales with music by Haydn.

2pm
Rossini: Moses in Egypt
Pharoah ..... Andrew Foster-Williams (baritone)
Amaltea ..... Mandy Fredrich (soprano)
Osiride .....Sunnyboy Dladla (bass)
Elcia ..... Clarissa Costanzo (soprano)
Mambre ..... Taylan Reinhard (tenor)
Moses ..... Goran Juric (bass)
Aaron ..... Matteo Macchioni (tenor)
Amenofi ..... Dara Savinova (mezzo-soprano)
Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Vienna Symphony Orchestra
Enrique Mazzola (conductor)

c.4.30pm
Haydn: Symphony No 92 in G major, "Oxford"
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Thomas Sondergard (conductor).

3 hours

Music Played

  • Gioachino Rossini

    Moses in Egypt: Act 1

    Singer: Andrew Foster-Williams. Singer: Mandy Fredrich. Singer: Goran Jurić. Choir: Pražský filharmonický sbor. Orchestra: Wiener Symphoniker. Conductor: Enrique Mazzola.
  • Gioachino Rossini

    Moses in Egypt: Act 2

    Singer: Andrew Foster-Williams. Singer: Mandy Fredrich. Singer: Goran Jurić. Choir: Pražský filharmonický sbor. Orchestra: Wiener Symphoniker. Conductor: Enrique Mazzola.
  • Gioachino Rossini

    Moses in Egypt: Act 3

    Singer: Andrew Foster-Williams. Singer: Mandy Fredrich. Singer: Goran Jurić. Choir: Pražský filharmonický sbor. Orchestra: Wiener Symphoniker. Conductor: Enrique Mazzola.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Symphony no. 92 in G major H.1.92 (Oxford)

    Orchestra: BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Conductor: Thomas Søndergård.
  • Frank Bridge

    Threads

    Conductor: Richard Hickox. Orchestra: BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
    • Bridge: Orchestral Works vol.5: Williams/BBC NOW/Hickox.
    • Chandos.
    • 8.

Synopsis

Place: Egypt
Time: c. 1230 B.C.

Act 1

God has enveloped Egypt in darkness to punish the Pharaoh and his people for not allowing the Hebrews to seek the Promised Land across the Red Sea. The Pharaoh calls for Moses, the leader of the Hebrews, and tells him that when the sun shines again he will release the captives. Moses’s brother, Aaron, warns him not to trust the Pharaoh but nevertheless Moses pleads to God and light returns.

The Pharaoh's son Osiride is in love with Elica, a Hebrew girl. He persuades the High Priest Mambre to assist him in preventing the Hebrews from leaving. The Priest does not believe in Moses's powers and agrees to help Osiride by encouraging the Egyptians to revolt against the Pharaoh’s decision. As a result, the Pharaoh withdraws his promise, warning Moses that any Hebrew who tries to escape will be killed. The Pharaoh's wife Amaltea, who has secretly converted to Judaism, fails to dissuade him. Moses threatens further punishment and is set upon by Osiride's soldiers, who are prevented from murdering him only by the intervention of the Pharaoh. Moses  prays for fire to rain down upon the country.

 

Act 2

The Pharaoh orders the Hebrews to leave at once, so as to banish the curse placed on his people. The Pharaoh then tells his son that he is to marry the Princess of Armenia and is baffled by his unenthusiastic response.

Shortly afterwards, Moses learns that Osiride has kidnapped Elcia, but Aaron knows where they are hiding. Amaltea is warned and accompanies him to find the lovers.

Together in the cave, Osiride tells Elcia of his father's plans for him, suggesting that they can live together by hiding in the countryside. The Queen with her guards and Aaron interrupt the two lovers, but they refuse to separate and Osiride declares his intention to abdicate.

Meanwhile, the Pharaoh has once again reneged on his promise to the Hebrews, fearing that they will support Egypt's enemies. Outraged, Moses declares that the Crown Prince and all the firstborn males of the country will be struck down by lightning. The Pharaoh orders Moses to be put in chains, and, to protect his son from the prophecy, declares Osiride to be his co-ruler and that he will be the one to proclaim the death sentence on Moses. Elcia then reveals her relationship with Osiride, begging him to free Moses and his people. She tries to persuade him to accept his destiny and marry the royal princess of Armenia but Osiride remains adamant and immediately orders that Moses be killed. As the sentence leaves his lips, he is felled by a divine stroke of lightning.

 

Act 3

On the shores of the Red Sea

Having crossed the desert, the Hebrews find their journey to the promised land blocked by the Red Sea. Moses prays as the fearful noise of approaching Egyptian chariots grows in the distance. Touching the waters with his staff, Moses opens up a pathway for his terrified people through the Red Sea. The Egyptians, led by Mambre and Pharaoh, follow closely behind but Moses and his followers manage to reach the opposite shore first. The waters of the Red Sea rush back together, burying the Pharaoh and his host beneath the waves.

 

Credit

Role Contributor
Performer BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Broadcast