Broadcast

Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast: Cyrano de Bergerac 

Saturday, May 5, 2017, 12:30 P.M. (ET)

Broadcasts Cyrano hdl 517
The theatergoing crowd at the Hôtel de Bourgogne in Cyrano at the Met
© Beth Bergman
The 2016–17 Metropolitan Opera broadcast season is sponsored 
by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®, with generous long-term 
support from The Annenberg Foundation, The Neubauer Family Foundation, 
The Vincent A. Stabile Endowment for Broadcast Media, 
and through contributions from listeners worldwide.

Cyrano de Bergerac

Music by FRANCO ALFANO
Libretto by HENRI CAIN, based on the play by Edmond Rostand 
THE CAST  
(in order of vocal appearance)
Le Bret           bass-baritone, DAVID PITTSINGER 
Ragueneau  baritone, ROBERTO DE CANDIA 
Christian  tenor, ATALLA AYAN 
Lignière  bass, PAUL CORONA 
Montfleury  tenor, TONY STEVENSON 
Cyrano  tenor, ROBERTO ALAGNA 
Vicomte de Valvert  baritone, HYUNG YUN 
Duenna  mezzo, JENNIFER RODERER 
Cook  bass, EDWARD ALBERT 
Lise  soprano, HOLLI HARRISON 
Musketeer  bass, EDWARD HANLON 
Roxane  soprano, JENNIFER ROWLEY 
Carbon  baritone, MICHAEL TODD SIMPSON 
De Guiche  baritone, JUAN JESÚS RODRÍGUEZ 
First Sentinel  tenor, GREGORY WARREN 
Second Sentinel  tenor, JUHWAN LEE 
Spanish Officer  baritone, HYUNG YUN 
A lay sister  soprano, HOLLI HARRISON 
Sister Marta  mezzo, EDYTA KULCZAK 
 
Conducted by MARCO ARMILIATO

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
The Metropolitan Opera Chorus

Production: Francesca Zambello
Set designer: Peter J. Davison
Costume designer: Anita Yavich
Lighting designer: Natasha Katz
Fight director: Rick Sordelet
Choreographer: Thomas Baird
Chorus master: Donald Palumbo
Musical preparation: Joan Dornemann,
Dennis Giauque, Liora Maurer, Steven Osgood

Assistant stage directors: Gina Lapinski,
Paula Williams
Prompter: Joan Dornemann
French coach: Denise Massé

Production a gift of the
Gramma Fisher Foundation, Marshalltown, Iowa, and Bertita and Guillermo L. Martinez
Coproduction of the Metropolitan Opera and
Royal Opera House, London
 
THE CAST  
Timings (ET)

  (Paris)   
ACT I   The theater of the Hôtel de Bourgogne  12:30– 
ACT II    –1:58 
Sc. 1  Ragueneau’s bakery   
Sc. 2  The street below Roxane's balcony   
ACT III    Battlefield near the town of Arras  3:09– 
ACT IV   A convent garden, fifteen years later  –3:40
 
Host: Mary Jo Heath  
Commentator: Ira Siff
Music producer: Jay David Saks
Producers: Ellen Keel, John Bischoff,
William Berger

Executive producers: Mia Bongiovanni, Elena Park
 

THE STORY

ACT I. Paris. At a performance at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, Christian, a new cadet in the Guards, admires the beautiful Roxane but dares not approach her. Cyrano, pride of the Guardsmen, bursts in to stop the performance, chasing the lead actor, whom he despises, from the stage. The Vicomte de Valvert, scandalized at this insult to a nobleman's protégé, warns Cyrano that his bravado will make him powerful enemies, but Cyrano scorns the tyranny of patronage and challenges the Vicomte, composing a ballad about their duel as they fight ("Je jette avec grace"). As the onlookers cheer Cyrano's victory, Le Bret admonishes his friend for wasting his skill on frivolous brawls. Cyrano replies that he fights in honor of his cousin Roxane, whom he adores from afar, though his grotesque nose has banished all hope of winning her. When Roxane's duenna brings a request for a tête-à-tête the next morning, Cyrano's dream is reawakened, and he declares himself ready to fight an army of giants ("M'apaiser? Maintenant!"). Learning that his friend Lignière is the target of 100 hired thugs, set on by the pompous De Guiche in revenge for an unflattering poem, Cyrano, buoyed by the prospect of his tryst with Roxane, promises to take the villains on single-handed and invites the admiring crowd to watch ("O! Paris fuit").

ACT II. Sc. 1. In the shop of the pastry chef Ragueneau, the proprietor awaits the poets' society that meets there. Cyrano asks to be left alone with Roxane when she arrives, then nervously begins a love letter to her ("Eh bien, écrivons-la"). The poets withdraw as she enters. She thanks Cyrano for defying the Vicomte, whom the married De Guiche, himself in love with Roxane, has tried to impose on her as a compliant husband. Then, recalling the bonds of their childhood, she confides that she is in love. Cyrano's hopes are dashed when she describes her beloved as handsome and names Christian. Roxane exacts a pledge from Cyrano to protect Christian from duels with his fellow cadets, then departs, sending word that Christian should write to her. Carbon, captain of the Guards, arrives with the company to salute Cyrano's latest exploits. Tweaked by the supercilious De Guiche, Cyrano and Carbon boast of their roughneck, devil-may-care regiment ("Ce sont les cadets de Gascogne"). De Guiche offers his patronage to Cyrano, who rejects it rudely. Christian, warned by the cadets not to mention Cyrano's nose, taunts the great swordsman to prove his bravery. Bound by his promise to Roxane, Cyrano lets the insult pass and, left alone with the new recruit, delivers Roxane's message. Christian protests that he is hopelessly inept at words of love. Cyrano offers his services as ghostwriter: his eloquence and Christian's beauty will combine to make a lover worthy of Roxane ("Cela m'amuserait").

Sc. 2. Outside Roxane's balcony, De Guiche brings her word that the Guards, under his command, have been sent to besiege Arras. When Cyrano comes to herald Christian's arrival, Roxane withdraws, leaving instructions for her suitor to extemporize on the theme of love. Cyrano, summoning Christian, offers to prepare a script for him, but he says he will woo for himself. No sooner has Roxane reappeared than Christian finds himself tongue-tied. When she scornfully dismisses her stammering lover, he appeals to Cyrano, who, under cover of darkness, softly pours forth his own words of love ("Oh instants adorables"). Roxane is swept away by his eloquence, and Christian climbs up to the balcony to embrace her ("Baiser, festin d'amour").

ACT III. Camped outside Arras, the soldiers sleep, while Le Bret and Carbon keep watch. Cyrano returns from behind enemy lines, where he has ventured day and night to deliver love letters to Roxane, written in the name of Christian, who is now her husband. When the soldiers awake, half-starved, Cyrano summons a shepherd to distract them with airs of their native Gascony ("Approche, berger"), saying nostalgia is a nobler malady than hunger. De Guiche enters with news that the Spanish are mounting an attack. Facing all-but-certain death, Christian longs to send Roxane a last farewell. Cyrano says it is already written, and Christian, demanding to see it, is amazed to discover a tearstain on the page. A carriage arrives, bearing Roxane, who has braved enemy fire in the name of love. Learning that the battle is imminent, she refuses to leave, saying she will die with her beloved. Alone with Christian, she confides that, though she once admired him for the beauty of his face, it is the soul he has revealed in his letters that has truly won her heart ("Je lisais, je relisais"). Christian, stunned, sends her to cheer his comrades and calls for Cyrano. Repeating Roxane's declaration, he urges his friend to confess his long-repressed passion and let the lady choose between them. When Cyrano demurs, Christian summons Roxane and rushes into battle. Roxane affirms that she would love the author of the letters even without his beauty, and Cyrano is about to speak when the soldiers carry in the body of Christian. Honoring his friend's memory, Cyrano watches in silence as she finds his last letter in Christian's pocket; he bids her farewell and hurls himself into the fray.

ACT IV. Fifteen years later, in the garden of the convent where she now lives, Roxane receives the repentant De Guiche. Le Bret brings word that Cyrano's attacks on hypocrisy have made him more enemies than ever. Ragueneau bursts in, agitated, and drags Le Bret away. Cyrano enters, pale and with his hat drawn down over his eyes, apologizing that an unexpected caller has made him late for his visit for the first time in fourteen years. He begins to regale Roxane with the news of the week ("Samedi dix-neuf"), but she grows alarmed when he trails off in mid-sentence. Coming to, he assures her that it is only his old wound from Arras and reminds her of her long-ago promise to let him see Christian's letter of farewell. She gives it to him, and he begins to read aloud ("Roxane … adieu!"). Roxane, suddenly recognizing the voice beneath her balcony, realizes that the letters were Cyrano's all along. When Le Bret and Ragueneau come in search of him, he finishes the day's "gazette" by reporting his own death at the hand of hired assassins. He has dragged himself from his deathbed to visit her. Roxane, crying that she loves him, begs him to live, but it is too late. Cyrano says he will greet death - the unexpected caller - as he has lived life, with his sword in his hand and fighting to the end ("Je crois qu'elle ose regarder mon nez"). Declaring that death may rob him of his laurels but never his panache, he falls lifeless.

THE BACKGROUND

For background on Franco Alfano, see "The Voice Behind Cyrano."

WHAT TO READ AND HEAR

Edmond Rostand's play, Cyrano de Bergerac, is available in inexpensive paperback editions in the original French (Classiques de Poche) or in English translations by Anthony Burgess (Nick Hern), Christopher Fry (Oxford) and Brian Hooker (Bantam). Sue Lloyd's The Man Who Was Cyrano: A Life of Edmond Rostand, an absorbing study of one of France's most popular playwrights, is available in paperback (Unlimited Publishing).

On CD, CPO Records offers a live capture of a robust Cyrano from the Kiel Opera, conducted by Markus Frank. The Kiel performance is in French, as is the other Cyrano available on CD, a 1975 RAI broadcast led with flair by Maurizio Arena.

On DVD, Roberto Alagna stars as Alfano's swordsman in a performance of the opera taped at Montpellier (DG). The boldly romantic Cyrano of Gérard Depardieu anchors Jean-Paul Rappeneau's lavish 1990 French film of Rostand's play (Columbia). spacer

Information on the opera's background, setting, music, and program notes for this performance can be found at the Metropolitan Opera.
This performance is also being broadcast
on Metropolitan Opera Radio on
SiriusXM channel 74.
Send quiz questions to Metropolitan Opera Quiz,
Metropolitan Opera,
30 Lincoln Center,
New York, NY 10023,
or e-mail metquiz@metopera.org

 



Follow OPERA NEWS on FacebookTwitter Button