Comicality, action and a happy ending for the opera by Ferdinando Paer in its first modern performance
Diego Fasolis conducts the Orchestra and Chorus at the Regio 
Leo Muscato directs the new production

Teatro Regio, Tuesday 12 March 2019 at 8pm

On Tuesday 12 March 2019, at 8pm the Regio puts on the new staging of the opera Agnese by Ferdinando Paer (1771-1839), which will catalyse the audience's curiosity and the attention of the critics about this work, staged in its first modern representation.

The Teatro Regio Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Diego Fasolis, will bring to light a forgotten gem of early nineteenth-century Italian melodrama: the semi-serious opera Agnese, by the Parma composer of Austrian origin, Ferdinando Paer. The Regio's new staging sees Leo Muscato directing, and performances by María Rey-Joly (Agnese), Markus Werba (Uberto), Edgardo Rocha (Ernesto), Filippo Morace (Don Pasquale), Andrea Giovannini (Don Girolamo), Lucia Cirillo (Carlotta), Giulia Della Peruta (Vespina) and Federico Benetti (the keeper). The chorus is led by Andrea Secchi.

Agnese was rediscovered in 2008 with a recording in the form of a live concert conducted by Diego Fasolis (who returns to the podium at the Regio after his Così fan tutte of the 2017-2018 Season), who told us: "Agnese is just one of the extraordinary works that lie in more or less well-known and prestigious archives. Many theatres are starting to look for and to offer new works to their audiences. It works well with the Baroque, often with original instruments, and we are slowly advancing with curiosity and enthusiasm towards nearer and equally rich eras. I am stimulated by any repertoire that allows for an understanding to be constructed with the musicians to the benefit of the quality of the work and life, which is then passed on to the audience, which we hope to enchant with Agnese. Dreaming, being moved, smiling and crying in a beautiful dream with a happy ending. This is Paer's Agnese".

Diego Fasolis has stood out throughout his career for his attention to historic performances and the less often performed works of the Baroque and classic repertoires. His scrupulous but never dogmatic interpretations have earned him very prestigious collaborations and dozens of recordings, including two which have received awards with ECHO Klassik 2013 in the First world recording (for the album Mission with Cecilia Bartoli) and Opera of the year (for Artaserse by Vinci, leading the Concerto Köln orchestra) sections.

Leo Muscato, who won the Abbiati Prize in 2013 as best opera director and in 2016 the International Opera Award assigned by the Verona per l’Arena Foundation, is on his second performance on the stage at the Regio, after L’Incoronazione di Dario (2016-2017 Season); the opera, not in the repertory and poised between dramatic recording and funny semi-serious opera interventions, lends itself well to the interpretation of a director who for some years has dealt with researching the different expressive possibilities of the four main interpretative registers: Tragic, Dramatic, Comedy and Comicality.

A unique opportunity to rediscover the masterpiece of one of the greatest international exponents of Italian music of his time: between 1792, the year of his first real success, and the early decades of the Nineteenth-Century, Paer's operas achieved great acclaim in the main European theatres. Paer worked in Vienna, at the court of Dresden for Frederick Augustus III of Saxony, he was the imperial composer of Napoleon Bonaparte, from 1813 director of the Paris Théâtre Italien, a role maintained between alternating events until 1827, when he was succeeded by Gioachino Rossini, and finally a teacher of composition at the Paris Conservatory. He had a very respected career, therefore, enriched by many successes among audiences and critics. In his very rich production, which numbers over 50 operas, as well as pieces of sacred, orchestral and chamber music, Agnese (1809) stands out immediately due to the audacity of its theme, which divided the audience between scandal, due to its scenes of madness, and emotion, due to the expressiveness of the music, but was able to conquer the admiration of great composers such as Berlioz and Chopin; the great success earned scores of replicas in theatres across the world, from Milan's La Scala to the distant Mexico City, until the 50s of the Nineteenth-Century. The oblivion into which the opera then fell until now, obscured by more famous repertoires, actually conceals an absolutely modern and vivacious piece, constantly balanced between drama and lightness, with a rare happy ending in which the very human themes of trust and forgiveness triumph.

Agnese has run away with her lover Ernesto, with whom she had a daughter; betrayed and abandoned, she returns to ask for forgiveness and to win back her father Uberto. However, she finds him locked in an asylum, having gone mad, believing her to be dead. The brilliant intuition of the doctor Don Girolamo and the power of memory and music bring back reason to Uberto and return to Agnese the love of her father and of Ernesto, in an emotional and rare happy ending.

Like in a contemporary drama, Luigi Buonavoglia's libretto portrays relationships and bonds that are sown back together and wounded feelings that can be remedied, and describes in a modern way madness not as a “romantic”, horrible and fatal condition, but as a sickness, which can be cured and even healed.

All this makes Agnese an original and very interesting piece of theatre, where Paer lays out, as well as a great compositional modernity, also an extraordinary dramatic capacity, which uses music in favour of the scene with a masterly balance between expressive moments, comicality and action.

Agnese will be the Spanish soprano María Rey-Joly: trained with big names of opera such as Brigitte Fassbaender, Raina Kabaiwanska and Plácido Domingo, she won first prize at the VIII “Francisco Alonso” International Competition in Madrid, and is a versatile performer with a broad repertoire, ranging from zarzuela to the main Mozart female characters. The Austrian baritone Markus Werba (Uberto) returns to the Regio stage after the brilliant Papageno played in 2017; after his debut at just 25 years of age at the Milan Piccolo in Così fan tutte, the last direction by Strehler, he has taken to the world's main stages, such as those of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera New York and the Wiener Staatsoper. Playing Ernesto is the tenor Edgardo Rocha, who has already appeared at the Regio in Così fan tutte(2011/12 Season) and Il turco in Italia (2014/15 Season). After complete and eclectic musical training - he graduated in piano and studied choral direction and orchestra conduction - he has specialised in the bel canto repertoire; he won the final consecration of the audience playing Don Ramiro in the film La Cenerentola, una favola in diretta directed by Carlo Verdone and conducted by Gianluigi Gelmetti. The comic pages of the opera are entrusted to the interventions of Don Pasquale, bass, played by Filippo Morace, winner of the Belli competition in Spoleto in 1999 and who has to his credit numerous Baroque performances and a historical repertoire. The cast is completed by Andrea Giovannini as Don Girolamo, doctor at the asylum, Lucia Cirillo(Carlotta), Giulia Della Peruta (Vespina), Federico Benetti (keeper of the madmen).

The scenery of this new production is created by Federica Parolini, costumes by Silvia Aymonino, lighting by Alessandro Verazzi.

Giuliano Castellani, for the Regio Conferences, Wednesday 6 March at 5:30pm at Piccolo Regio, will lead the meeting with free entry entitled Follia e amor filiale nell’opera di Paer.

Tickets on sale at the Teatro Regio Ticket Office, Piazza Castello 215 - Tel. 011.8815.241/242, at Infopiemonte-Torinocultura, at Vivaticket stores, online at and by telephone at no. 011.8815.270. Ticket Prices: performance of 12 March €170 - 135 - 120 - 100 - 70 - 55; performances of 14, 15, 17 and 24 March: €95 - 80 - 75 - 70 - 60 - 29. Tickets with a 20% reduction for under 30s and a 10% reduction for over 65s. One hour before the shows, any tickets still available will be sold with a 20% reduction on the full price. For further information: Tel. 011.8815.557 and

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Turin, 13 February 2019

Teatro Regio, Communication and Press Department - Paola Giunti (Director), Sara Zago (Press Relations)
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