Notary to the Pope Cola di Rienzi stands up to the patricians, is loved by the people of Rome and becomes a Tribune. But power struggles are tough – he falls out of grace with his countrymen and the church, and is destroyed. Richard Wagner began composing Rienzi, his third opera, in Riga, the same work that launched the composer’s worldwide success. This new production emphasizes the connection that both opera and composer share with Riga – Wagner’s opus Rienzi will kick off Riga’s year as the European Capital of Culture. The production is organized by the creative association Hotel Pro Forma, which Latvian audiences will recognize from the multimedia productions Operation: Orfeo and War Sum Up. Audiences will hear music from Rienzi, as well as electronic music from young Latvian sound artist Voldemārs Johansons.
In cooperation with the Riga Dome Choir School and Riga Choreography School
Late evening. Roman noblemen Paolo Orsini and Stefano Colonna seek to abduct sister of their political arch-rival Rienzi Irene who is saved from this humiliation by Stefano Colonna’s son Adriano.
Rienzi arrives to restore order. He strives to suppress his anger the aristocrats’
Conspiracy has provoked, in order to preserve his good relations with the church. The legate of the Pope and citizens of Rome pledge their loyalty to Rienzi.
Adriano fervently wishes to see his beloved Irene. Her brother is ready to accept it on the condition of Adrian’s support of the side seeking to overthrow Roman aristocrats. Having agreed, Adriano and Irene revel in a shared dream of future.
The signal is sounded to announce the beginning of a skirmish: Rienzi is hailed and the gathering expresses belief in their power to overcome the tyranny of Roman nobility.
Orsini and Stefano Colonna decide to assassinate Rienzi, but their plot fails to be successful.
Adriano and Irene appeal to tribune to be merciful. Rienzi concedes and withdraws the death sentence for the guilty, which was pronounced. He charges them with a pledge of loyalty as a wager, which he promptly receives. The crowd extols Rienzi.
Rienzi’s triumph and the splendid façade of power begin to be threatened by aristocrats, who have broken their promise of allegiance, and by rapidly diminishing support granted to Rienzi in the circles of Roman citizenry earlier.
Adriano is torn by his inner conflict. The young man is in love with Irene and, thus, unwilling to betray his vow of support, given to her brother Rienzi. However, as he learns about the death of his father in the battle against Rienzi’s army, he is ready to raise revenge against the people’s tribune who increasingly acts like a tyrant.
No longer with either church or people on his side, Rienzi is deeply in prayer and hopes to draw the providence of God for fulfillment of his ideas. Irene is the only one left who still believes in the future visions of Rienzi and, for this reason, holds against Adriano’s advice of leaving her brother, now, reviled by the crowd, and embarking on a purely new life.
The crowd finds Rienzi and destroys him. The same fate awaits Irene, who was unwilling to leave the side of Rienzi, along with her devote Adriano. Prayer to Holy Virgin rises to conclude the tempest of rage of the masses – a plea for peace and harmony. This entreaty serves to set off war-mongering games of the young, which mimic and inadvertently uphold the experience of their predecessors.