Murder in the Cathedral (Assassinio nell cattedrale)
Opera in 2 Acts by Idlebrando Pizzetti (1880-1968)
Faith, politics, and power: these are the three weighty themes that lie at the heart of Assassinio nella Cattedrale (Murder in the Cathedral). The year is 1170, and Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, has returned to his seat after seven years in exile in France. He continues to oppose King Henry II in his words and actions, and is assailed by temptations to silence himself, to give up his position, to fight, or to seek martyrdom. Banishing these demons, he delivers his Christmas Day sermon reflecting on birth, death, and martyrs, and in the final act defiantly faces the four murderous knights and their accusations of treachery.
Ildebrando Pizzetti’s operatic adaptation of the original T.S. Eliot play is more than equal to the drama of the story. The music is by turns mournful, desperate, solemn, thrilling and noble, creating a supremely moving account of the historical events. It is often performed in Italy, but rarely heard elsewhere, and this evening will be a unique opportunity to hear it in English. We are extremely fortunate to have the legendary British bass John Tomlinson with us to sing the iconic role of Becket, and to have the equally legendary conductor Martyn Brabbins at the helm.
© Bruno Bower