Opera lovers can rejoice at the news that a production of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt” (music by Ibsen’s countryman Edvard Grieg) will be mounted at Guadalajara’s Teatro Degollado the first weekend of November, letting loose a bracing gust of Scandinavian culture sure to raise goosebumps on the extremities of the city’s culture vultures.
The production, funded by Jalisco’s Secretary of Culture, is the work of Concerttante Producciones, a theater company based in Zapopan. The organization’s leaders have decided to pare down for maximum palatability the mammoth five-act, seven-hour opera to a more wieldy two-act, two-and-half-hour affair, without losing, one hopes, the work’s essential vitality and emotional and intellectual impact. Much of what was excised, according to the Concerttante’s director, Jorge Taddeo, consisted of large chunks of expository dialogue.
The original verse play was written by Ibsen – perhaps most famous for his epochal drama, “A Doll’s House” – in 1867 and put to music by Grieg for its first production in 1876. The story involves the odyssey of self-discovery of a young ne’er-do-well, the titular Gynt. The work is romantic (in the 19th Century sense) and full of Scandinavian myth and legend. However, it also contains elements of realism, in addition to satirical jabs at then-contemporary Norwegian society’s mores and customs.
Bringing the production to life, together with Concerttante Producciones’ team of actor/singers, costume and set designers, et al, are members of the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chorus of the Pan-American University. Jesus Hernandez will assay the role of Peer Gynt.
Showtimes at Teatro Degollado are 8 p.m. on Friday, November 3; 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 4; and 6 p.m. on Sunday, November 5. Tickets, from 250 to 450 pesos, are available through Ticketmaster or at the Degollado box office. Go to sc.jalisco.gob.mx for more information on the event, and concerttante.com to know more about the event’s grand poobahs.