Oberes Belvedere

Les Martyrs

Photo of the entrance to Halls F and G in the MuseumsQuartier
© WienTourismus/Paul Bauer
Photo of the entrance to Halls F and G in the MuseumsQuartier

Grand Opéra in four acts
libretto by Eugène Scribe
in French with German and English surtitles

Premiere: September 18, 2023

ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien
Arnold Schoenberg Chor
Conductor: Jérémie Rhorer
Director: Cezary Tomaszewski

Is it permissible to make martyrdom the subject of an opera? In the 1830s, Italian censors answered with a resounding "No", prompting Gaetano Donizetti to switch to France and enlist the help of librettist Eugène Scribe to publish the opera he was planning, Poliuto, as a grand opéra. Under the title Les Martyrs the work received its premiere in Paris in 1840 and included, among other things, a ballet scene, an innovative score structure that presaged the music-drama form, and a spectacularly reworked tenor part. In the days of the persecution of Christians in Armenia in Late Antiquity, a young woman is caught not just between two religions, but also between her husband and her former lover. Personal turmoil and ideological upheavals collide in an opera that risks the bold contrast between Italian bel canto and French Romanticism. In his production, director Cezary Tomaszewski concentrates on the tragic history of the country in which the action is set: Armenia.


MusikTheater an der Wien in the MuseumsQuartier Halle E

Museumsplatz 1
1070 Wien

Current Dates

  • Mon. 18 Sep 2023, 7 p.m.
  • Fri. 20 Sep 2024, 7 p.m.
  • Mon. 23 Sep 2024, 7 p.m.
  • Wed. 25 Sep 2024, 7 p.m.
  • Sat. 28 Sep 2024, 7 p.m.