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Rameau - Les Indes Galantes

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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.
PROLOGUE
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

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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) '…

Jessye Norman - 1945-2019

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Lecocq - Le Docteur Miracle

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Studio Marigny, Paris, Friday September 27 2109

Production, sets and costumes: Pierre Lebon. Lighting: Bertrand Killy. Le Podestat: Laurent Deleuil. Le Capitaine Silvio: David Ghilardi. Véronique, the Podestat’s wife: Laura Neumann. Laurette, the Podestat’s daughter: Makeda Monnet. Docteur Miracle’s assistant: Pierre Lebon. Piano: Martin Surot.

I was supposed to kick my new season off last Tuesday with a concert version of Giulio Cesare at the TCE in Paris, but had instead, maddeningly, to be on stage myself at work, MC-ing a management conference. At 23.30 I got a text message from my opera-going companions saying 'Désolé... superbe soirée' - 'Sorry... superb evening.'

So instead, after ending the old season with Hervé's frantic Mam'zelle Nitouche, I kicked off the new at the Studio Marigny with another hour of madcap fun from the Palazzetto Bru Zane, who are now reviving, with their usual care and attention, France's opéra bouffe: Lecoq's Le Docteur …

Hervé (Louis-Auguste-Florimond Ronger) - Mam’zelle Nitouche

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Théâtre Marigny, Paris, Wednesday June 12 2019

Conductor: Christophe Grapperon. Production, sets, costumes: Pierre-André Weitz. Denise de Flavigny, Mam’zelle Nitouche: Lara Neumann. Célestin, Floridor: Damien Bigourdan. La Supérieure, Corinne: Miss Knife. Le Vicomte Fernand de Champlâtreux: Samy Camps. Le Major, comte de Château-Gibus: Eddie Chignara. Loriot: Olivier Py. La Tourière, Sylvia: Sandrine Sutter. Le Directeur de théâtre: Antoine Philippot. Lydie: Clémentine Bourgoin. Gimblette: Ivanka Moizan. Gustave, officier: Pierre Lebon. Robert, officier: David Ghilardi. Les Frivolités Parisiennes.

The vocation of the Palazzetto Bru Zane – Centre de Musique Romantique Française is the rediscovery and international promotion of the French musical heritage of the long nineteenth century (1780-1920). Its interests range from chamber music to the orchestral, sacred and operatic repertories, not forgetting the lighter genres characteristic of the ‘esprit français’ of the nineteenth century (c…

Monteverdi - L'Orfeo

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Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, Tuesday May 28 2019

Direction: Emiliano Gonzalez-Toro, assisted by continuo leader Thomas Dunford. Semi-staging: Mathilde Etienne. Costumes: Karine Godier, Sébastien Blondin. Orfeo: Emiliano Gonzalez-Toro. Euridice, Musica: Giulia Semenzato. Pastore: Mathias Vidal. Pastore: David Szigetvari. Apollo: Fulvio Bettini. Pastore, La Speranza: Eva Zaïcik. Proserpina: Mathilde Etienne. Plutone, Pastore: Frédéric Caton. La Messagiera: Lea Desandre. Pastore, Caronte: Jérôme Varnier. Ninfa: Maud Gnidzaz. I Gemelli.

My love affair with Monteverdi's Orfeo goes back a long way. I was acquainted with it from the radio before I went up to university. As an undergraduate, I was excited to be invited to play in a performance at the university's Senate House, and disappointed when I turned up with my instrument for the first rehearsal to be told by the surprised conductor - Stephen Barlow IIRC - that he hadn't expected and didn't need a double bass.

Whe…

Rameau - Hippolyte et Aricie

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Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, Sunday May 26 2019.

Conductor: Emmanuelle Haïm. Aricie: Mélissa Petit. Hippolyte: Cyrille Dubois. Phèdre: Stéphanie D’Oustrac. Thésée: Edwin Crossley-Mercer. Pluton / Neptune: Wenwei Zhang. Diane: Hamida Kristoffersen. Œnone: Aurélia Legay. Première Parque: Nicholas Scott. Seconde Parque, Tisiphone: Spencer Lang. Troisième Parque: Alexander Kiechle. Une Prêtresse de Diane, Une Matelote, Une Chasseresse: Gemma Ní Bhriain. Orchestra La Scintilla Zurich. Chorus of the Zurich Opera.

The cast for this concert performance of Hippolyte comes fresh from staged performances in Zurich in a production that, from what I’ve seen online, looks very striking. Perhaps rehearsal time in Paris was too short for the singers to take possession of the narrow strip of stage left to them and fully adjust to the restricted theatrical potential of the concert: I expected more sustained dramatic thrust and tension. In the event, it was somehow intermittent, with moments that h…