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Showing posts from October, 2009

Gounod - Mireille

ONP Garnier, Wednesday October 7 2009

Conductor: Marc Minkowski. Production: Nicolas Joel. Sets: Ezio Frigerio. Costumes: Franca Squarciapino. Mireille: Inva Mula. Vincent: Charles Castronovo. Ourrias: Franck Ferrari. Ramon: Alain Vernhes. Taven: Sylvie Brunet. Vincenette: Anne-Catherine Gillet. Orchestra and chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

Nicolas Joel's production of Mireille left me with no wish ever to see or hear the work again, so what a thankless task it must be for a perfectly decent cast to slog through it ten times without any help from the producer, and with only resounding boos on the opening night and tepid applause since as their reward. By mid-series, the orchestra played and the singers sang as if they'd long since wished they'd never got involved. The work itself needed help too if it were to succeed (Mireille ends in a mawkish orgy of Catholic Kitsch; the score, meanwhile, had me wondering if I hadn't always underrated Arthur Sullivan), and didn…

Korngold - Die tote Stadt

ONP Paris - Thursday October 22 2009

Conductor: Pinchas Steinberg. Production: Willy Decker. Sets and costumes: Wolfgang Gussmann. Lighting: Wolfgang Goebbel. Paul: Robert Dean Smith. Marietta: Ricarda Merbeth. Frank/Fritz: Stéphane Degout. Brigitta: Doris Lamprecht. Juliette: Elisa Cenni. Lucienne: Letitia Singleton. Victorin: Alain Gabriel. Graf Albert: Alexander Kravets. Orchestra and chorus of the Opéra National de Paris. Maîtrise des Hauts-de-Seine⁄children’s chorus of the Opéra National de Paris. Coproduction with the Vienna Staatsoper and the Salzburg Festival.

It’s a rare enough treat for those who like Die tote Stadt to have it staged at all. And it’s a wonder any leading couple can be found to sing it, let alone give us a stunning third act performance like Thursday night’s. These facts, plus near-universal praise in the press (apart from one French sourpuss dubbing it a mere “curiosity for the curious”) have made me dither over writing it up, not wanting to seem ungrateful or…