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Showing posts from June, 2009

Szymanowski - King Roger

ONP Paris Bastille - Thursday June 25 2009

Conductor : Kazushi Ono. Production : Krzysztof Warlikowski. Sets and costumes : Malgorzata Szczesniak. Video design : Denis Guéguin. Lighting : Felice Ross. King Roger II : Scott Hendricks. Roxana : Margarita de Arellano. Edrisi : Stefan Margita. Shepherd : Eric Cutler. Archbishop : Wojtek Smilek. Abbess : Jadwiga Rappe. Orchestra and chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

Some people may find Bruckner’s symphonies or Ivy Compton-Burnett’s novels all much of a muchness, but if you’re hooked, you’re hooked and can never get too much of the same. A friend of mine described Warlikowski’s latest Bastille production as “very lazy recycling” and for all I know what seems clever about it may only be pseudo-intellectual. Maybe the king is in the altogether, in both senses; maybe I’m just a sucker for superficial gloss. But to me this was another momentous evening’s theatre.

It isn’t even as if I “got” everything. I still haven’t worked out why a stri…

Bizet - Carmen

Opéra Comique, Paris, Saturday June 20 2009

Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Production: Adrian Noble. Sets & Costumes: Mark Thompson. Lighting: Jean Kalman. Carmen: Anna Caterina Antonacci. Don José: ???????*. Micaëla: Anne-Catherine Gillet. Escamillo: Nicolas Cavallier. Le Dancaïre: Françis Dudziak. Le Remendado: Vincent Ordonneau. Zuniga: Matthew Brook. Moralès: Riccardo Novaro. Frasquita: Virginie Pochon. Mercédès: Annie Gill / Louise Innes. Lillas Pastia: Simon Davies. Un guide: Lawrence Wallington. The Monteverdi Choir. Hauts-de-Seine children's choir. Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique.

For Le Monde, “Obviously Anna Caterina Antonacci steals the show, embodying a Carmen of icy fire, with impeccable diction and sovereign musicality, ardent but never carried away by her passions. Her vocal projection enables her to murmur what so many of her fellow-singers hammer out.” According to Webthea, “She combines her beauty, sensuality and acting strengths with impeccable …

Mozart - Le Nozze di Figaro

La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday June 14 2009

Conductor: Jérémie Rhorer. Production: Christof Loy (reprise by Dagmar Pischel). Sets and costumes: Herbert Murauer. Conte Almaviva: Stéphane Degout. Contessa: Andrea Rost. Susanna: Ingela Bohlin. Figaro: Alex Esposito. Cherubino: Sophie Marilley. Marcellina: Helen Field. Bartolo: Jan-Hendrik Rootering. Don Basilio: John Graham-Hall. Don Curzio: Enrico Casari. Antonio: Frédéric Caton. Barbarina: Fflur Wyn. La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

Too often I forget the advice of an old friend in the UK: expect nothing and you’ll never be disappointed.

I’d been looking forward to this Sunday. One of our regular co-subscribers was off at a christening or some such nonsense, so it was a chance to show Brussels and La Monnaie to someone else, on what was supposed to be a warm, sunny day. On paper the cast of Le Nozze looked alright. Christoph Loy can be an interesting director. In the end, however, it was mostly what the French call “un jour sans” –…