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Meyerbeer - Les Huguenots

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La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday June 26 2022 Conductor: Evelino Pidò. Production: Olivier Py. Reprise and choreography: Daniel Izzo. Sets and Costumes: Pierre-André Weitz. Lighting: Bertrand Killy. Marguerite de Valois: Lenneke Ruiten. Valentine: Karine Deshayes. Urbain: Ambroisine Bré. Raoul de Nangis: Enea Scala. Comte de Saint-Bris: Nicolas Cavallier. Comte de Nevers: Vittorio Prato. De Retz: Yoann Dubruque. Marcel: Alexander Vinogradov. Cossé: Pierre Derhet. Tavannes: Valentin Till. Thoré: Patrick Bolleire. Méru: Jean-Luc Ballestra. Chorus and Orchestra of La Monnaie. Photos: Baus/De Munt There's a passage in Evelyn Waugh's 1942 novel  Put Out More Flags that mentions the 'purely professional triumphs of the French.'* Over the ten or eleven years that have passed since I first saw this production of Les Huguenots I've tried, largely to feed my interest in 19th-century Paris and, with the help of the Palazzetto Bru Zane's revival, in the best possible conditio

Rameau - Platée

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ONP Garnier, Tuesday June 21 2022 Conductor: Mark Minkowski. Production and Costumes: Laurent Pelly. Sets: Chantal Thomas. Lighting: Joël Adam. Choreography: Laura Scozzi. Thespis: Mathias Vidal. Un satyre, Cithéron: Nahuel di Pierro. Momus: Marc Mauillon. Thalie, la folie: Julie Fuchs. L'amour, Clarine: Tamara Bounazou. Platée: Lawrence Brownlee. Jupiter: Jean Teitgen. Mercure: Reinoud Van Mechelen. Junon: Adriana Bignagni Lesca. Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris. Les Musiciens du Louvre. Photos: Guergana Damianova/ONP Preparing to write this post about the Paris Opera's current revival of Laurent Pelly's near-legendary production of  Platée , I was surprised not to find it already described somewhere on my blog. I know I did write it up: I still remember struggling to explain how the set, rows of theatre seats one above the other, breaks up and moulders away into the marshes as the evening progresses. But it must have been back in the days when websites sometimes ine

Offenbach - La Périchole

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Opéra Comique, Paris, Wednesday May 25 2022 Conductor: Julien Leroy. Production: Valérie Lesort. Sets: Audrey Vuong. Costumes: Vanessa Sannino. Lighting: Christian Pinaud. Choreography: Yohann Têté. Puppets: Carole Allemand. La Périchole: Stéphanie d'Oustrac. Piquillo: Philippe Talbot. Don Andrès de Ribeira: Tassis Christoyannis. Don Miguel de Panatellas: Eric Huchet. Don Pedro de Hinoyosa: Lionel Peintre. First notary/Tarapote/old prisoner: Thomas Morris. Second notary: Quentin Desgeorges. Berginella, Frasquinella: Marie Lenormand. Mastrilla, Brambilla: Lucie Peyramaure. Guadalena, Manuelita: Julie Goussot. Ninetta: Julia Wischniewski. Orchestre de chambre de Paris. Les Eléments chorus. Photos: Stéfan Brion Perhaps I'm an irredeemable misery-guts. But if so, I'm not alone. Halfway through La Périchole , my neighbour turned to me: He : Je peux dire quelque chose ? (Can I say something?) Me : Ça ne décolle pas ? (It isn't taking off?) He : Je m'emmerde. (I'm b

Wagner - Parsifal

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La Monnaie at BOZAR, Brussels, Saturday May 21 2022 Conductor: Alain Altinoglu. Amfortas: Werner Van Mechelen. Titurel: Konstantin Gorny. Gurnemanz: Franz-Josef Selig. Parsifal: Julian Hubbard. Klingsor: Shenyang. Kundry: Elena Pankratova. Stimme aus der Höhe: Iris Van Wijnen. Gralsritter: Willem Van Der Heyden, Justin Hopkins. Knappen: Sheva Tehoval, Raphaële Green, Paul Curievici, Alexander Marev. Klingsors Zaubermädchen: Hendrickje Van Kerckhove, Lisa Willems, Raphaële Green, Sheva Tehoval, Lies Vandewege, Iris Van Wijnen. La Monnaie Orchestra and Chorus, La Monnaie Children's and Youth Choir. I have a difficult relationship with Parsifal , the text especially (cf my report the last time I saw it ), though I don't mind the 'Salvation Army band' music so much. I don't feel the same reverence for the work its fans do, so I was tempted to wriggle out of writing about this concert performance in Brussels, and just say 'If you love the work, I think you'd bett

Strauss - Elektra

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ONP Bastille, Monday May 16 2022. Conductor: Semyon Bychkof. Production: Robert Carsen. Choreography: Philippe Giraudeau. Sets: Michael Levine. Costumes: Vazul Matusz. Lighting: Robert Carsen, Peter Van Praet. Elektra: Christine Goerke. Chrysothemis: Elza van den Heever. Klytämnestra: Angela Denoke. Aegisth: Gerhard Siegel. Orest: Tómas Tomasson. Der Pfleger des Orests: Philippe Rouillon. Die Vertraute der Klytämnestra: Stéphanie Loris. Die Schlepptragerin: Marianne Croux. Ein junger Diener: Lucian Krasznec. Ein alter Diener: Christian Tréguier. Die Aufseherin: Madeleine Shaw. Erste Magd: Katharina Magiera. Zweite Magd: Florence Losseau. Dritte Magd: Marie‑Luise Dressen. Vierte Magd: Sonja Šarić. Fünfte Magd: Laura Wilde. Dienerinnen: Sophie Claisse, Rocio Ruiz Cobarro, Caroline Bibas, Yasuko Arita, Daniela Entcheva, Caroline Petit. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris. Photos: Emilie Brouchon/ONP Whenever, these days, I hear Strauss played competently by the Paris Oper

Händel - Giulio Cesare

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Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, Wednesday May 11 2022. Conductor: Philippe Jaroussky. Production: Damiano Michieletto. Choreography: Thomas Wilhelm. Sets: Paolo Fantin. Costumes: Agostino Cavalca. Lighting: Alessandro Carletti. Giulio Cesare: Gaëlle Arquez. Cleopatra: Sabine Devieilhe. Sesto: Franco Fagioli. Cornelia: Lucile Richardot. Tolomeo: Carlo Vistoli. Achilla: Francesco Salvadori. Nireno: Paul-Antoine Bénos-Djian. Curio: Adrien Fournaison. Ensemble Artaserse. Photos: Vincent Pontet I no longer have a subscription at the TCE, having decided, after several years there, it hadn't been good value for money. But an opera expert I know said he thought the cast of this Giulio Cesare was 'intriguing' and a friend who's a Händel fan wanted to see it, so along I went with him. I guess what was 'intriguing' about it was the mix of vocal stars with others already  marked out as promising, and Jaroussky conducting a staged opera for the first time from the pit. T

György Kurtág - Fin de Partie

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ONP Garnier, Thursday May 5 2022 Conductor: Markus Stenz. Production: Pierre Audi. Sets and costumes: Christof Hetzer. Hamm: Frode Olsen. Clov: Leigh Melrose. Nell: Hilary Summers. Nagg: Leonardo Cortellazzi. Orchestra of the Opéra National de Paris. Photos: Sébastien Mathé/ONP As I may well have said before on this blog, I try to have one or two new or newish works each season, and find them more often rewarding than not. Despite a well-meaning friend's injunction, 'Don't go!', Kurtág's Fin de partie was no exception: I felt privileged to have seen it in Paris, in Pierre Audi's handsome, dark production, the same as at the La Scala premiere, four years ago, then in Amsterdam. It’s perhaps surprising Kurtág was persuaded to make an opera of Beckett's play, knowing both the author’s opposition to adding music to his works and the esteem the composer holds him in. But the composer's respect for and attention to the text is obvious: a chef d'oeuvre of