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Verdi’s ‘Les Vêpres Siciliennes’

Bill Cooper

Royal Opera | June 26, 2021, 1:00 pm Based on a story set in 1282, Sicily has been invaded by the French, and the Duchess Hélène (Lianna Haroutounian) is being held hostage by Montfort (Michael Volle), the French governor. Hélène reveals that her brother was executed by Montfort and she is seeking revenge, and is assured by Henri (Bryan Hymel) how deeply he despises Montfort, although he does not realise that he is Montfort’s son. Procida (Erwin Schrott) is a Sicilian, also seeking revenge after the French attack, and he involves Henri and Hélène in a plot to assassinate Montfort. However, once he knows he is Montfort’s son, Henri is torn between his love for Hélène and his loyalty to his father and country, and ultimately this predicament leads to everybody losing everything.