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Showing posts from February, 2007

Halévy – La Juive

ONP - Bastille, Tuesday February 20 2007

Conductor: Daniel Oren. Production: Pierre Audi. Sets: George Tsypin. Costumes: Dagmar Niefind. Lighting: Jean Kalman. La princesse Eudoxie: Annick Massis. Rachel: Anna Caterina Antonacci. Éléazar: Chris Merritt. Le cardinal de Brogni: Robert Lloyd. Léopold: John Osborn. Ruggiero: André Heyboer. Albert: Vincent Pavesi. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

I always thought the secret of that rare event, an exciting evening at the opera, lay in everything, for once, being right: a great work, a great production, great acting, singing and playing... With La Juive at the Bastille we had an obscure work - not played here since 1934 - by an obscure composer, with a dreadful libretto; a dubious production; the scheduled tenor falling sick at the eleventh hour and some very dodgy singing by his replacement… Yet, opera being the exotic and irrational entertainment it is, the evening ended in triumph, even, more or less, for the stand-in.

Th…

Brewaeys and Offenbach in Brussels

La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday February 11 2007

Luc Brewaeys - L'uomo dal fiore in bocca

Offenbach - Monsieur Choufleuri restera chez lui le...

Conductor: Patrick Davin. Production: Frédéric Dussenne. L'uomo dal fiore in bocca: Davide Damiani. Un pacifico avventore: Yves Saelens. Tre voci femminili: Hendrieckje Van Kerckhove, Pati Helen-Kent, Isabelle Everarts de Velp. Monsieur Choufleuri: Michel Trempont. Chrysodule Babylas: Yves Saelens. Petermann: Lionel Lhote. Monsieur Balandard: Pierre Doyen. Ernestine: Hendrickje Van Kerckhove. Madame Balandard: Pati Helen-Kent. Orchestra and Chorus of La Monnaie.

I was just about able to find a link between the works in last week’s double-bill in Paris, but this Sunday in Brussels I was hard put to dream one up. Was it meant to be a stark lesson on our persistent frivolity when we ought instead to be preparing for certain death? Apparently not: the director, Frédéric Dussenne, asked Bernard Foccroulle, director of La Monnaie, who told him sim…

Bartok/Janacek double bill

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ONP Palais Garnier, Tuesday February 6 2007

Janacek – Diary of one who disappeared

Orchestrated by Gustav Kuhn

Bartok – Bluebeard’s Castle

Conductor: Gustav Kuhn. Production: Alex Ollé and Carlos Padrissa, La Fura dels Baus. Man: Michael König. Woman: Hannah Esther Minutillo. Duke Bluebeard: Willard White. Judith: Béatrice Uria-Monzon. Orchestra of the Opéra national de Paris.

[Photo: Shafahi]

Seven doors or seven veils?

There’s a great deal to be said for sitting on the front row at Garnier. There’s nobody (apart from the orchestra) fidgeting in front of you. The orchestral sound envelops you without drowning the voices. You’re close enough to appreciate the acting, which in a production like this is worth seeing. And should any of the singers happen to be underpowered for the house, you’re in no position to tell. But with video projections taking up the full extent of the proscenium, I suspect we were unable to “read” the effects as well as people a dozen rows further back. And of course, …