Monthly Archives: January 2017

Gaveaux and Beethoven Make a Paer Roadkill Opera Sandwich in Washington DC

Exciting news for fans of Ferdinando Paer’s music: over the next few weeks in Washington, DC, you can hear live performances of two of the period operas that sandwiched Paer’s 1804 opera Leonora (the musical basis for A Roadkill Opera):

  • Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 3 pm, Opera Lafayette presents Gaveaux’s 1798 French escape opera Léonore, ou l’amour conjugal
  • Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 6 pm, Washington Concert Opera presents Beethoven’s 1805 version (of his more famous 1814 Fidelio) of Leonore
Photo of Walker and Brown speaking at the Arts Club of Washington (DC) in January 2017
Antony Walker (at the piano) and Ryan Brown discussed the remarkable coincidence of their programming the 1798 French opera Leonore (by Brown’s Opera Lafayette) and Beethoven’s 1805 Leonore (by Walker’s Washington Concert Opera) within weeks of each other.

There was also an 1805 version by Mayr of the same story, under the tile L’amor conjugal, that predated Beethoven’s first attempt. The story of the common genesis of the three Viennese residents, Paer, Mayr, and Beethoven, in Gaveaux’s librettist Bouilly and his enthralled fan Empress Therese is well-told in John A. Rice’s 2003 Empress Marie Therese and Music at the Viennese Court, 1792-1807.

It was Paer’s setting that provided the music that power’s Parker & Paer’s 2012 A Roadkill Opera, which had its premiere under the direction of Maestro Jeffrey Dokken at the Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint in Washington, DC in January 2016, followed by a performance of highlights by the Symphony Orchestra of Northern Virginia at the James Lee Community Theater in Falls Church, Virginia in October 2016.

Banner showing seven generation history of Leonora/Fidelio
The seven generations of Leonore began with Gaveaux’s 1798 Leonore, followed by Paer’s 1804 Leonora, Mayr’s 1805 L’amor coniugale, and Beethoven’s three versions (beginning in 1805) of Leonora/Fidelio, and culminating in Parker & Paer’s 2012 A Roadkill Opera

Ryan Brown, artistic director and conductor of Opera Lafayette, kicks things off on February 19, 2017, at Lisner Auditorium. Antony Walker, artistic director and conductor of Washington Concert Opera, follows up at Lisner on March 5, 2017. The two got together at the Arts Club of Washington on January 26, 2017, to discuss the history and relationship of these operas.

Photo of Holly, Eddie, llama, and Marvin on the set of A Roadkill Opera
Holly (Laura Wehrmeyer) and Eddie (Alan Naylor) debate ways and whether it is necessary to punch up the humor of In A Clearing while Marvin (Christopher Dews) tends to the llama in A Roadkill Opera in its world premiere performances in January 2016 at the Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint in Washington DC