José María Usandizaga’s operatic gem as seen by Calixto Bieito

20 to 22 june 2019

As he did with Obabakoak and Bernardo Atxaga last season, Calixto Bieito is facing again the challenge of staging a gem by a popular Basque artist. This time, it will be Mendi-Mendiyan’s turn – an operatic gem and José María Usandizaga’s masterpiece. It will be one of the season’s grand productions at the Arriaga Theatre.

Mendi-Mendiyan is Usandizaga’s first opera, commissioned by the Bilbao Choral Society in 1909 and premiered on 21 May 1910 at the Campos Elíseos Theatre to great success. The first recorded staging at the Arriaga Theatre dates from late May 1911, while the latest one took place in 1987. (In 2001, there was a concert version.) Staged by Calixto Bieito, the opera will bring the 2018/2019 season at the Arriaga to a close.



Arriaga Theater’s new production

Show in collaboration with




A closer look at Mendi-Mendiyan

Accompanying the staging of this opera on 20 and 22 June, 30 minutes before the show (that is, at 7pm) there will be a talk on Mendi-Mendiyan and its composer, José María Usandizaga. The 20-minute talk, to be held at the foyer of the Arriaga Theatre, will be delivered by Xabier Monasterio of Zenbat Gara elkartea. It will give opera-goers a bird’s eye view of the show they will enjoy later in the evening. For two years now, the Arriaga Theatre and the Basque Language Area of the City of Bilbao have been offering talks preceding shows in Basque produced by the Theatre itself.

The team

Music by José María Usandizaga

A lyrical pastoral in three acts and an epilogue

Libretto by José Power

Stage director: Calixto Bieito

Musical director: Erik Nielsen

Stage design: Susanne Gschwender

Costume design: Ingo Krügler

Lighting design: Michael Bauer

Assistant directors: Lucía Astigarraga, Barbora Horáková Joly

Costume assistant: Annemarie Bulla

Choir: Bilbao Choral Society

Orchestra: Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa (BOS)

A new production by Arriaga Theatre


Andrea: Ausrine Stundyte

Txiki: Olatz Saitua

Joshe Mari: Mikeldi Atxalandabaso

Juan Cruz: Christopher Robertson

Kaiku: José Manuel Díaz

Gaizto: Gexan Etxabe

Dantzari – Gaizka Urkiola

Aizkolari – Beñat Amade





from €15 to €52 /discounts

Friends of the Arriaga: From 25 to 35%
Groups, young people, over 65s, the unemployed, large families and people with disabilities in excess of 33%: 25%
Last minute discount (for the previous groups, except Friends of the Arriaga): 50%
Last minute discount for Young Friend of the Arriaga: 70%
Disabled persons in a wheelchair: 50% (in the proscenium, balcony and a companion)


1 hour 35 minutes