Andrea Chénier

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June 2022


The plot of the opera is set during the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror of the Jacobins in and around Paris. They invented largely free and is based only on a small scale on known facts from the biography Chéniers.

First Act

The poet Andrea Chénier, the main actor, met the handset for the first time in the midst of a noble society in the house of the Countess of Coigny in the countryside. Although it is set against the nobility and the decadent lifestyle, he takes part in this society. When he is prompted to recite some of his poems, he refuses charming and is brought only by mocking remarks of the young count's daughter Madeleine to recite some verses. In this he exerts harsh criticism on nobility and its way of life. Surprisingly, Madeleine feels well and sides with the poet. In this situation the son of the gardener, Charles Gérard bursts - the opponent Chéniers, inside with some hungry poor people. Gérard, who is already convinced of the ideas of the Revolution and the nobility - up on Madeleine - hate is repressed and must leave the service.

Act Two

Andrea Chénier is now in Paris and sees himself and all Parisians of spies who are serving the Revolution, observed. His nobility critical works have made him a man who was celebrated by the revolutionaries. But times have changed and now it is considered critical because of its relations with the nobility and gets more and more under suspicion, no longer fully stand behind the ideas of the Revolution. His friend Roucher advises him to flee. But it keep the mysterious love letters of an unknown who turns out to be Madeleine, from getting to flee. It comes to a love scene from a spy (Un Incredibile) is observed.

The spies notified Gérard, who is now ascended to the Secretary of the Revolution. Between Gérard and Chénier it comes to a duel, in which Gérard collapses severely wounded.

Act Three

Gérard has recovered, has arrested Chénier and can be brought to justice. In the boardroom of the Revolutionary Tribunal Madeleine appears to save him. Gérard recognizes Madeleine and feels his love flares up to her again and gets stronger. As a price for Chéniers rescue he asks Madeleine and she agrees to a love of Chénier. She is holding a moving speech about their fate during the Revolution. These and their willingness to "sacrifice themselves", Gérard can change its attitude towards Chénier. Chénier defends himself brilliantly before the prosecutor Fouquier-Tinville. Gérard advocates Chénier and speaks out against the death sentence. Still, he can not prevent Andrea Chénier is sentenced to the guillotine. The people want it that way.

Act Four

In the prison of St. Lazare Chénier spends his last hours, where he his friend Roucher recites his last verses. Madeleine meanwhile summarizes the decision, with the man she loves dying. It impresses the prison guards and mounts in place of a condemned Deliquentin along with Chénier the carts, which they bring to the scaffold. The two lovers are happy to walk together in death. Gérard tried to obtain a pardon, but it's too late. Madeleine and Andrea are united in death.

Program and cast

Conductor: Balázs Kocsár
Andrea Chénier, the poet: Carlo Ventre
Maddalena de Coigny: Eszter Sümegi
Carlo Gérard: Michele Kalmandy
The Countess of Coigny / Old Madelon: Bernadett Fodor
Bersi, a mulatto girl: Ildikó Megyimórecz
Pierre Fléville / Roucher / Fouquier-Tinville: Lajos Geiger
Mathieu, the sans-culotte: Máté Fülep
The Abbé / The Incredible, a spy: János Szerekován
Master of the Household / Dumas / Schmidt: András Hábetler

Hungarian State Opera

The Opera House is not only one of the most significant art relic of Budapest, but the symbol of the Hungarian operatic tradition of more than three hundred years as well. The long-awaited moment in Hungarian opera life arrived on September 27, 1884, when, in the presence of Franz Joseph I. the Opera House was opened amid great pomp and ceremony. The event, however, erupted into a small scandal - the curious crowd broke into the entrance hall and overran the security guards in order to catch a glimpse of the splendid Palace on Sugar út. Designed by Mikós Ybl, a major figure of 19th century Hungarian architecture, the construction lived up to the highest expectations. Ornamentation included paintings and sculptures by leading figures of Hungarian art of the time: Károly Lotz, Bertalan Székely, Mór Than and Alajos Stróbl. The great bronze chandelier from Mainz and the stage machinery moda by the Asphaleia company of Vienna were both considered as cutting-edge technology at that time.


Many important artists were guests here including Gustav Mahler, the composer who was director in Budapest from 1887 to 1891. He founded the international prestige of the institution, performing Wagner operas as well as Magcagni’ Cavalleria Rusticana. The Hungarian State Opera has always maintained high professional standards, inviting international stars like Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Monserrat Caballé, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, José Cura, Thomas Hampson and Juan Diego Flórez to perform on its stage. The Hungarian cast include outstanding and renowed artists like Éva Marton, Ilona Tokody, Andrea Rost, Dénes Gulyás, Attila Fekete and Gábor Bretz.

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