World premiere: 10 August, 2008 – Lewes
Glyndebourne Opera Festival
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Vladimir Jurowsky
Director: Silviu Purcarete
Based on Gabriel García Márquez’s novel “Of Love and Other Demons”
Libretto: Kornél Hamvai
Love and Other Demons is a story of forbidden love set in the tropical and magical world of 18th century Colombia, adapted from the novella by Nobel-prizewinner, Gabriel García Márquez.
One Sunday in the slave market in the port of Cartagena de Indias, a young girl is bitten by a dog. The girl is Sierva Maria of All The Angels, the daughter of the Marquis, and the dog is rabid. Although Sierva herself seems unhurt, this is a town where reason and superstition are at war, and soon the talk is not of rabies, but possession. Sierva finds herself imprisoned in the Convent of St Clare, where Cayetano Delaura, the bishop’s exorcist, comes to drive out her demons. But soon it is Delaura himself who is possessed, consumed by Love, ‘the most terrible demon of all’. As the lovers’ obsession grows, so too does the desire of the authorities to purge this sickness from their midst.
Peter Eötvös and librettist Kornél Hamvai have given each different level of narration its own characteristic language: English is the everyday language of the noblemen, Latin is the language of the church, Spanish is used by Delaura whenever his conversations with Sierva touch on personal feelings, and Yoruba is the secret language of the slaves.
Maria is living with her father who is not taking care of her. She prefers to be with the servants and slaves. She is bitten by a dog with rabies. She suffers no reaction; nevertheless, she is brought to a convent where Father Delaura is supposed to take care of her. He is supposed to exorcise her of demons but falls in love with her. As this is recognized she is removed from the convent and the bishop himself will exorcise her demons. She dies in the process.