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Showing posts from May, 2009

Janacek - Vec Makropoulos

ONP Bastille, Thursday May 7 2009

Conductor: Tomas Hanus. Production: Krzysztof Warlikowski. Sets and costumes Malgorzata Szczesniak. Emilia Marty: Angela Denoke. Albert Gregor: Charles Workman. Jaroslav Prus: Vincent Le Texier. Vítek: David Kuebler. Krista: Karine Deshayes. Janek : Ales Briscein. Kolenaty: Wayne Tigges. Hauk-Sendorf: Ryland Davies. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

Same excellent, powerful production as in 2007, same cast except Wayne Tigges as Kolenaty (and very good he was), and Angela Denoke the best I've ever seen and heard her. She really lives the part. The orchestra remains unruly in Janacek, David Kuebler's voice is now pretty much shot and Charles Workman can't hit the killer top notes at all any more, but Vincent Le Texier and, especially, Karine Deshayes were better than ever. Bastille about one quarter full: madness, but perhaps those who were there really wanted to be: nobody coughed. Will this, one of my favourite production…

Chabrier - Le Roi Mal...

Opéra Comique, Paris, Wednesday April 29 2009

Conductor: William Lacey. Production & costumes: Laurent Pelly. Henri de Valois, roi de Pologne : Jean-Sébastien Bou. Minka : Magali Léger. Le duc de Fritelli Franck Leguérinel. Alexina, duchesse de Fritelli : Sophie Marin-Degor. Le comte de Nangis : Gordon Gietz. Laski, grand palatin : Nabil Suliman. Chorus of the Opéra national de Lyon. Orchestre de Paris.

I was really enjoying Laurent Pelly’s production of Le Roi Malgré Lui the other night. Pelly’s a favourite of mine – for his Offenbachs, for his Platée… - and here he was at his best: fast, funny and finely-tuned, every step and gesture, every smile and frown and grimace in place. The basic idea wasn’t a new one: the curtain rose to reveal the brickwork and steel doors of the Opéra Comique’s bare stage, familiar already from the recent Zoroastre; and cast, stagehands and chorus arrived for a rehearsal to find, to their amazement, a full house waiting to watch. The period was that of …

Donizetti - Lucia di Lammermoor

La Monnaie (Cirque Royal), Sunday April 26 2009

Conductor: Julian Reynolds. Production: Guy Joosten. Lucia: Elena Mosuc. Edgardo di Ravenswood: John Osborn. Lord Enrico Ashton: Angelo Veccia. Lord Arturo Bucklaw: Jean-François Borras. Raimondo Bidebent: Giorgio Giuseppini. Alisa: Catherine Keen. Normanno: Carlo Bosi. La Monnaie orchestra and chorus. Glass harmonica: Sascha Reckert.

One of the striking things about Brussels is that, unlike in Paris, say, or New York, you see old people everywhere. The Taverne du Passage opened over 80 years ago, since when nothing has changed (“immuable” is the word used on the website), and that seems to include the customers: the regulars look like they’ve been eating a weekly Waterzoï in that art-deco setting since the 1920s. The couple next to us on Sunday were so ancient that all they could manage for lunch was a glass of beer; soup and bread; a heaped chafing-dish of lamb chops, with potato croquettes, asparagus and a jug of red wine on the side; …