Showing posts from February, 2009

Britten - Albert Herring

Opéra Comique, Paris, Saturday February 28 2009

Conductor: Laurence Equilbey. Production: Richard Brunel. Sets: Marc Lainé. Costumes: Claire Risterucci. Lighting: Mathias Roche. Albert Herring: Allan Clayton. Lady Billows: Nancy Gustafson. Florence Pike: Felicity Palmer. Miss Wordsworth: Ailish Tynan. Mr. Gedge: Christopher Purves. Mr. Upfold: Simeon Esper. Superintendant Budd: Andrew Greenan. Sid: Leigh Melrose. Nancy: Julia Riley. Mrs Herring: Hanna Schaer. Musicians of the Orchestra of the Opéra de Rouen. Members of the Maîtrise des Hauts-de-Seine. Coproduction between the Opéra Comique and the Opéra de Rouen Haute-Normandie.

I wasn’t brought up on opera, or brought to it in any structured way. So as it happens, the first two operas I got to know well were Les mamelles de Tirésias, a favourite of a family of Swiss intellectuals I met in Lausanne, and Albert Herring. I was called in, as an undergraduate, to play in the pit for Albert when the bass player sprained her thumb, and thus f…

Eötvös - Lady Sarashina

Opéra Comique, Paris, Tuesday 17 February 2009

Conductor: Alejo Perez. Production and choreography: Ushio Amagatsu. Sets: Natsuyuki Nakanishi. Costumes: Masatomo Ota. Lady Sarashina: Mary Plazas. Trio of singers: Peter Bording, Ilse Eerens, Salomé Kammer. Orchestre de l’Opéra national de Lyon.

A cliché it most certainly is, but it is awful how time flies. My blog starts in March 2003, but Eötvös’s Tri Sestry isn’t on it, which means it’s already over 6 years since I saw it. It was because I still had such good, clear memories of it that I was happy this season (as part of my policy always to take at least some of the contemporary stuff on offer, except the dreaded Saariaho) to book tickets to Lady Sarashina at the Opéra Comique.

Eötvös’s fourth opera, like Tri Sestry commissioned by Lyon and directed by Ushio Amagatsu, is in nine tableaux, based on as many fragments of an 11th-century Japanese biography-cum-travelogue called As I Crossed The Bridge Of Dreams or, more or less, Mrs Sarashi…