Until 5 April, Madrid’s Teatro Real is presenting the production of Sergéi Prokófiev’s The Angel of Fire, in collaboration with the Zurich Opera, which premiered it in 2017.
The brutal, iconoclastic and grotesque libretto of the opera, based on the work of the same name by the symbolist writer Valeri Briúsov, has delayed its premiere in different countries, now arriving in Spain, 95 years after the completion of the score and 68 years after its first presentation in concert version, in 1954.
Calixto Bieito shifts the action from obscurantist pre-Lutheran Germany to the 1950s and 60s, transferring its satanic plot to the deranged and helpless mind of the protagonist, raped in her childhood. Its satanic, grotesque and delirious plot relates, over seven scenes (in five acts), the gruesome path of Renata, possessed by evil spirits from the supernatural appearance, in her childhood, of Madiel, the angel of fire, to her tragic end.
Two choral casts led by sopranos Ausrine Stundyte and Elena Popovskaya (Renata) and baritones Leigh Melrose and Dimitris Tiliakos (Ruprecht) perform the opera, with Marcos Darbyshire leading the Teatro Real’s revival of the production. The Principal Orchestra of the Teatro Real will perform an orchestral version of the Ukrainian anthem before the start of each of the 10 performances of The Angel of Fire.