Andrea Chénier
by Umberto Giordano


June 8, 7:00pm
First United Methodist Church of Bellevue
1934 108th Ave NE
Bellevue, WA
June 10, 5:00pm
First United Methodist Church of Seatle
180 Denny Way
Seattle, WA

Suggested Donation: $15 General, $10 Student / Senior

Cast and Characters

Andrea Chénier, a poet ...... Gino Lucchetti
Carlo Gérard, a servant ...... Michael Drumheller
Maddalena de Coigny ...... Regina Thomas
Bersi, her maid ...... Deborah Blakesley
La comtesse di Coigny ...... Carla Hilderbrand
Pietro Fléville, a novelist ...... Deac Guidi
Mathieu, a sans-culotte ...... Deac Guidi
The Abbé, a poet ...... Justin Kalm
The Incredible, a spy ...... Tim Janecke
Roucher, a friend of Chénier ...... James McAdams
Schmidt, a gaoler at St. Lazare ...... Renwick Hester
Madelon, an old woman ...... Greta Birkby
Fouquier Tinville, the Public Prosecutor ...... James McAdams
Dumas, Master of the Household ...... Renwick Hester
Il Maestro di Casa ...... Michael Kysar
Pastorelle ...... Katie Hochman, Cozy Josephson, Greta Birkby, Beth Reichgott, Amber Rose Johnson

Orchestra

Violin 1 ...... Natalie Toida
Violin 2 ...... Dustin Peskuric
Viola ...... Jennifer Glenn-Shoval
Cello ...... Janice Lee
Flute ...... Jenna Calixto
Oboe ...... John Dimond
Clarinet ...... Steven Noffsinger
Bassoon ...... Marenka Dobes

Synopsis

Time: 1789-93
Place: In and around Paris

ACT I - The Countess of Coigny's ball

Preparations for a ball are underway. Among the servants is Gérard. He is filled with indignation at the sight of his aged father suffering as the result of long years of abusive labor for the aristocrats. When the guests arrive, a pastoral love story is presented for their entertainment. Among the guests is the poet, Andrea Chénier. Maddalena convinces him to improvise a poem. Instead of her suggested topic of love, he composes a poem about the misery and suffering of the poor which develops into a tirade against those in power. The ball's privileged guests are outraged by Chénier's idealistic humanitarianism. Inspired by the poet, Gérard appears leading a crowd of ragged men and women and they are summarily ordered to leave the castle. Outraged, Chénier follows them.

ACT II - In Paris

Chénier is now a revolutionary activist and a wanted man. He is advised to flee by his friend Roucher. However, Chénier has fallen in love with Maddalena and refuses to leave without her. Maddalena soon arrives having sneaked away from her family with the desire of joining the revolution. The lovers rejoice in each other's company briefly but are interrupted when they are discovered by Gérard, who is infatuated with Maddalena. The men fight over her with swords and Gérard is wounded. Believing he is dying, he warns Chénier to flee from the wrath of the bloodthirsty revolutionaries, and asks him to save Maddalena also. When a mob arrives on the scene a few minutes later, Gérard tells them that his assailant is unknown to him.

ACT III - The revolutionary tribunal

Gérard has recovered and is presiding over a tribunal. A spy (Incredible) announces Chénier's arrest for having dared criticize the cruelty of the powerful revolutionary leader Robespierre. He is about to put his signature on the document outlining the charges, when he laughingly asks himself, "Nemico della patria?" (An enemy of his country?) He knows well that is the standard charge against one's personal enemies. Gérard hesitates, recalling that it was Chénier's inspired verse that first awakened his own patriotism. Now to satisfy his desire for a woman, he contemplates sacrificing a friend. Finally his passion triumphs and Gérard signs the document in a mood of cynicism.

Facing the tribunal, Chénier pleads for himself vehemently, saying that he, a soldier, has fought for his country. If he must die, he asks to die fighting for it and not to be shamefully executed. Maddalena, whose mother has meanwhile perished, appears. She offers to give herself to Gérard to save Chénier's life. Gérard then pleads for the poet; but it is now too late. The mob thirsts for blood.

ACT IV - St. Lazare Prison

Chénier awaits execution. He spends his time writing verses of poetry which express his faith in truth and beauty. Meanwhile, Maddalena bribes her way into the prison. She is ushered in to see Chénier by Gérard. The lovers have a brief tender moment before making one more failed appeal to Robespierre for a pardon. At dawn, Chénier is due to be beheaded. Unable to live without him, Maddalena takes the place of a condemned woman and chooses to go to the guillotine with her lover.

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