Kaija Saariaho

L’Amour de Loin

Dec 1 - Dec 29

Libretto by Amin Maalouf

Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s breakthrough opera was described by the New York Times as “transfixing…a lushly beautiful score.” Commissioned by the Salzburg Festival, where it was first seen in 2000, it will now finally have its Metropolitan Opera premiere in a dazzling new production by Robert Lepage, featuring glimmering ribbons of LED lights that extend across the length of the stage and over the orchestra pit. Eric Owens is the knight on a quest of love, Susanna Phillips is his lover on the other side of the sea, and Tamara Mumford is the pilgrim who brings messages back and forth. Conductor Susanna Mälkki makes her Met debut.

Production a gift of the Francis Goelet Trusts

Additional funding from The H.M. Agnes Hsu-Tang, PhD.
and Oscar Tang Endowment Fund

Co-production of the Metropolitan Opera and L’Opéra de Québec;
In collaboration with Ex Machina

Read Synopsis Read Program
  • Sung In
  • French
  • Met Titles In
  • English
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Estimated Run Time
  • 2 hrs 33 mins
  • House Opens
  • Act I 20 mins
  • Act II 24 mins
  • Act III 22 mins
  • Intermission 30 mins
  • Act IV 23 mins
  • Act V 34 mins
  • Opera Ends
New Production Dec 1 - Dec 29

This production has completed for the season.

Be sure to check out our remaining productions on the season list.

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World Premiere: Salzburg Festival, 2000. One of the most discussed, praised, and successful of recent operas, L’Amour de Loin is a seductively beautiful tale of love’s unfathomable nature. The idea of impossible love was central to the explosion of poetry in Europe in the 12th century, and it has remained prominent in all the arts ever since. Similarly, death, for the poetic soul, is both an end and a culmination, an idea that the medium of opera has explored with unique insight throughout its history. L’Amour de Loin explores this same artistic territory in a way that is sensitive to both the sources of the medieval legend on which it is based and to the contemporary ear.


Production Robert Lepage

Associate Director Sybille Wilson

Set and Costume Designers Michael Curry

Lighting Designer Kevin Adams

Lightscape Image Designer Lionel Arnould

Sound Designer Mark Grey

Kaija Saariaho


Kaija Saariaho


Amin Maalouf


The opera takes place during the mid–12th century, the time of the historical Jaufré Rudel, a poet and troubadour. It is set in the Aquitaine region of France, on the Mediterranean Sea, and in the Crusader state of Tripoli in what is now Lebanon. The personal journey that Rudel takes across the sea recalls the cultural journey of Western Europeans to the East in the time of the Crusades: it held a destructive aspect (war) but also a creative aspect (the fluorescence of the arts and learning itself in 12th-century Europe, which owed much to contact with the refined cultures of the eastern Mediterranean).