The opera, Maazel's first, is based on the 1948 novel by George Orwell about a man who defies and is finally destroyed by the totalitarian state in which he lives. The libretto is by poet J. D. McClatchy and Thomas Meehan, a writer for films, television, and the stage.
<p>The cast includes baritone Simon Keenlyside as Winston, soprano Nancy Gustafson as Julia, and tenor Richard Margison as O'Brien. Maazel conducts.
<p>The staging is by the Canadian actor, playwright, and director Robert Lepage. Carl Fillion is the set designer; costumes are by Yasmina Gigure, lighting by Michel Beaulieu, and choreography by Sylvain ê_mard.
<p>A onetime child prodigy, Maazel has been conducting major orchestras for more than 60 years; he is also a violinist. He is currently music director of the New York Philharmonic, and has previously led the Pittsburgh Symphony, Vienna State Opera, Cleveland Orchestra, and Deutsche Oper Berlin. His previous compositions include <i>Farewells</i>, which was commissioned and performed by the Vienna Philharmonic, and <i>Irish Vapours and Capers</i>, premiered by the Pittsburgh Symphony.