Vitellia – Becoming First Lady
Opera in 2 Acts, 1791
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Libretto by Caterino Mazzolà, after Metastasio
Opéra de Rouen Normandie – December 2022
« I am the most guilty of all! It is I who hatched the plot; I seduced your faithfullest friend; I took advantage of his blind love for me. » - La Clemenza di Tito, Act 2
Conductor, Ben Glassberg
Conceptors, Jean-Philippe Clarac & Olivier Delœuil
Lighting designer, scenographic collaborator, Christophe Pitoiset
Artistic collaborator, Lodie Kardouss
Video, Jean-Baptiste Beïs
Graphic designer, Julien Roques
Dramaturge, Luc Bourrousse
Opéra de Rouen Normandie - New production.
Claude Pompidou, Jackie Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama —but also Eva Peron and Imelda Marcos, or Valérie Trierweiler, or Melania Trump... What lies behind First Ladies conventional images? What hides behind their glossy smiles and their formal elegance?
At the very moment when the Emperor Titus, forgiving all those who plotted against him, is finally about to marry her, the ambitious Vitellia recalls the previous events. Alone in a presidential lounge, just at the doors of Power, Vitellia remembers all she had to go through, all she had to achieve and lose to reach this moment when she becomes an Empress at last, while renouncing a part of herself.
Power and seduction games, amourous ties and political negotiations intertwine, in a series of successive flashbacks. Behind the ceremonial figurehead, a determined and manipulative fighter is revealed, who is also a wounded lover and a complex, profoundly endearing woman. Thus Mozart, a convinced proto-feminist, reminds us that behind any powerful man one should always chercher la femme.