Showing posts from September, 2009

Händel - Semele

La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday September 27 2009

Conductor: Christophe Rousset. Production and sets: Zhang Huan. Costumes: Han Feng. Lighting: Wolfgang Göbbel. Jupiter: Jeremy Ovenden. Cadmus, King of Thebes/Priest: Nathan Berg. Semele, Daughter of Cadmus: Ying Huang. Juno/Ino, Sister of Semele: Ning Liang. Athamas, a Prince of Boeotia: David Hansen. Somnus: Kurt Gysen. Iris: Sarah Tynan. Les Talens Lyriques. Chorus of La Monnaie.

Familiarity is supposed to breed contempt, but I wonder if, conversely, unfamiliarity breeds awe. Quite often when "controversial" artists from other media are brought in to direct opera while knowing nothing about it, the result is surprisingly tame. Such was the case with this Brussels production of Semele by Zhang Huan: though he’s known for nudity and bestiality and dressing up in raw meat, once you accepted that it was set in China his staging was remarkably conventional.

As usual these days, it required some reading up beforehand. Zhang bought a M…