Rameau - Platée (in concert)

Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, Monday December 2 2019.

Conductor: Alexis Kossenko. Platée: Anders J. Dahlin. Amour, La Folie: Chantal Santon-Jeffery. Jupiter: Thomas Dolié. Thalie, Clarine, Junon: Hasnaa Bennani. Un satyre, Cithéron: Arnaud Richard. Thespis, Mercure: Nicholas Scott. Momus: Victor Sicard. Les Ambassadeurs orchestra and chorus.

With its lively and rather cruel comedy, Platée seems a daring, even rash sort of choice for a concert performance, even with some comical stage business. Monday night's performance wasn't wholly successful, for various reasons, though the absence of sets and costumes did make it possible to focus on the many marvels and musical jokes of Rameau's astonishing score - one of his very best.

Rameau calls for a special and often elusive kind of declamatory oomph and éclat that only some of the cast could deliver in full. Best-cast, to me, was Thomas Dolié, a perfect Rameau baritone, mordant, supple and eloquent. Chantal Santon-Jeffery m…

Verdi - Don Carlo

ONP Bastille, Thursday November 14 2019

Conductor: Fabio Luisi. Production: Krzysztof Warlikowski. Sets and costumes: Małgorzata Szczęśniak. Lighting: Felice Ross. Video: Denis Guéguin. Choreography: Claude Bardouil. Filippo II: René Pape. Don Carlo: Michael Fabiano. Rodrigo: Étienne Dupuis. Il Grande Inquisitore: Vitalij Kowaljow. Un frate: Sava Vemić. Elisabetta di Valois: Nicole Car. La Principessa Eboli: Anita Rachvelishvili. Tebaldo: Eve-Maud Hubeaux. Una Voce dal cielo: Tamara Banjesevic. Il Conte di Lerma: Julien Dran. Deputati fiamminghi: Pietro Di Bianco, Daniel Giulianini, Mateusz Hoedt, Tomasz Kumiega, Tiago Matos, Alexander York. Un Araldo: Vincent Morell. Inquisitori: Vadim Artamonov, Fabio Bellenghi, Marc Chapron, Enzo Coro, Julien Joguet, Kim Ta. Corifeo: Bernard Arrieta. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

Having premiered this production two years ago in French, the Paris Opera is now giving it again in Italian, with a different conductor and mostly di…

Weber - Der Freischütz

Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, Monday October 21 2019

Conductor: Laurence Equilbey. Production: Clément Debailleul, Raphaël Navarro and Valentine Losseau (from Cie 14:20). Artistic coordination, sets and videos: Clément Debailleul. Choreography: Aragorn Boulanger. Costumes: Siegrid Petit-Imbert. Lighting: Elsa Revol. Max: Stanislas de Barbeyrac. Agathe: Johanni Van Oostrum. Ännchen: Chiara Skerath. Kaspar: Vladimir Baykov. Hermit: Christian Immler. Kuno: Thorsten Grümbel. Ottokar: Daniel Schmutzhard. Kilian: Anas Séguin. Samiel: Clément Dazin. Insula Orchestra. Accentus Chorus.

It isn't often you get a chance, in Paris, to see Der Freischütz, so it's a real shame, when it comes round again at last, if it fails to live up to your hopes.

In this case, the cast was excellent and the creative team's ideas had definite potential, but these weren't enough. I left the theatre thinking that with proper directing, a better orchestra and a different conductor it might have be…

Rameau - Les Indes Galantes

ONP Bastille, Monday September 30 2019

Conductor: Leonardo García Alarcón. Production: Clément Cogitore. Choreography: Bintou Dembélé. Sets: Alban Ho Van, Ariane Bromberger. Costumes: Wojciech Dziedzi. Lighting: Sylvain Verdet.
Hébé: Sabine Devieilhe. Bellone: Florian Sempey. L'amour: Jodie Devos.
ENTREE I – Le turc généreux (The Generous Turk)
Osman: Edwin Crossley-Mercer. Émilie: Julie Fuchs. Valère: Mathias Vidal.
ENTREE II – Les incas du Pérou (The Incas of Peru)
Huascar: Alexandre Duhamel. Phani: Sabine Devieilhe. Don Carlos: Stanislas de Barbeyrac.
ENTREE III – Les fleurs (The Flowers)
Tacmas: Mathias Vidal. Ali: Edwin Crossley-Mercer. Zaïre: Jodie Devos. Fatime: Julie Fuchs.
ENTREE IV – Les sauvages (The Indians)
Adario: Florian Sempey. Damon: Stanislas de Barbeyrac. Don Alvar: Alexandre Duhamel. Zima: Sabine Devieilhe.
Cappella Mediterranea. Namur Chamber Choir. Maîtrise des Hauts-de-Seine/Paris Opera Children’s Choir. Compagnie Rualité dancers.

This one is going to be long,…

Dusapin - Macbeth Underworld

La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday September 29 2019

Conductor: Alain Altinoglu. Production: Thomas Jolly. Production assistant: Alexandre Dain. Sets: Bruno de Lavenère. Lighting: Antoine Travert. Costumes: Sylvette Dequest. Lady Macbeth: Magdalena Kožená. Macbeth: Georg Nigl. Three Weird Sisters: Ekaterina Lekhina, Lilly Jørstad, Christel Loetzsch. Ghost: Kristinn Sigmundsson. Porter: Graham Clark. Archlute: Christian Rivet. Child: Elyne Maillard, Naomi Tapiola. Orchestra and Women’s Chorus of La Monnaie.

In 2015, I recorded that Penthesilea, Pascal Dusapin's previous opera, was hailed as a 'triumphant masterpiece'. His latest, Macbeth Underworld, is just as satisfying and includes some memorable innovations. It's obviously hard to describe in writing what a composer's work sounds like, but for a start, what I wrote four years ago remains true: 'Dusapin’s score is of course, in the circumstances' (I meant with regard to the intensity of the subject-matter) '…