Meyerbeer's penultimate Grand Opera, Le Prophète, is a sprawling work with a complex and dark plot. Unlike other operas where the love story takes center stage, this opera more prominently features the story of a mother's love and sacrifice for her son. Also, unlike many other operas, the mezzo-soprano is the lead.
A short summation of the story is as follows:
Berthe and her future mother-in-law Fidès head for the castle of the Count of Oberthal to ask permission for the former to marry her beloved Jean. They run into three Anabaptists who excite the crowds into a social revolution. They are stopped by the Count himself who is struck by Berthe’s beauty and refuses her request to marry Jean.
The Anabaptists try to recruit Jean as their leader, but he only wants to live for his beloved Berthe. The Count demands that Berthe be returned to him. After he takes her away, Jean decides to join the Anabaptists in overthrowing the Count.
Jean is made a prophet and the Anabaptist group participates in murdering and capturing the rich. The Count enters the Anabaptist camp in disguise to try and figure out a plan to stop them but is ultimately discovered and sentenced to death. He tells Jean that Berthe escaped his clutches and Jean, who is wary of the violence, spares his life.
Berthe and Fidès are reunited. Fidès explains that her son was murdered by the Anabaptists and Berthe decides to assassinate the prophet.
During Jean’s coronation ceremony, Fidès recognizes her son and publicly makes the claim to be his mother. Everyone thinks he has been anointed by God and is confused by her claim. Jean tells his followers to kill him if Fidès makes the claim again. She retracts her statement.
The Anabaptists decide to turn over Jean to the Imperial forces. Jean is reunited with his mother and promises to stop being a prophet. He is reunited with Berthe and they dream of their future together. However, when she realizes that he is the prophet, Berthe kills herself.
At a banquet in his honor, Jean, the Anabaptists, his mother, and the Imperial forces all die when the hall collapses from an explosion.
For our concert:
The role of Fidès will be sung by mezzo-soprano Lara Michole Tillotson.
The role of Jean will be sung by tenor George Lyons.
The role of Berthe will be sung by soprano Jennifer Zamorano.
The three anabaptists will be sung by Bass baritones Jeffrey Goble, Jeremy Griffin and tenor Mark Hanke.
The role of Oberthal as well as some incidental characters will be sung by Jonathan Green.
The role of the orchestra will be deftly accomplished on the piano keyboard by Catherine Miller.