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Showing posts from December, 2009

Rodgers & Hammerstein - The Sound of Music

Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, Wednesday December 30 2009.

Conductor: Kevin Farrell. Production: Emilio Sagi. Sets: Daniel Bianco. Choreography: Sarah Miles. Costumes: Jesús Ruiz. Lighting: Caetano Vilela. Maria Rainer: Sylvia Schwartz. Captain Georg von Trapp: Rod Gilfry. Mother Abbess: Kim Criswell. The Baroness Elsa Schraeder: Christine Arand. Max Detweiler: Laurent Alvaro. Rolf Gruber: James McOran-Campbell. Liesl Von Trapp: Carin Gilfry. Orchestre Pasdeloup. Châtelet Chorus.

There isn't a strong tradition of musicals in Paris (apart from awful "Pop Idol" type ones) so this was the first stage production of The Sound of Music in France and possibly the best performance, here, of any musical I've seen. I was told, last night, that some American visitors have claimed it would have been ten times better on Broadway. Maybe they didn't get the best cast; and maybe it wouldn't have been ten times better (it couldn't be) but just ten times different: this is a …

Messager - Fortunio

Opéra Comique, Paris, Wednesday December 16 2009

Conductor: Louis Langrée. Production: Denis Podalydès. Sets: Eric Ruf. Costumes: Christian Lacroix. Lighting: Stéphanie Daniel. Fortunio : Joseph Kaiser. Jacqueline : Virginie Pochon. Maître André: Jean-Marie Frémeau. Clavaroche: Jean-Sébastien Bou. Landry: Jean-François Lapointe. Lieutenant d’Azincourt: Philippe Talbot. Lieutenant de Verbois: Jean Teitgen. Madelon: Sarah Jouffroy. Maître Subtil: Jérôme Varnier. Guillaume: Eric Martin-Bonnet. Gertrude: Clémentine Margaine. Les Eléments chorus. Orchestre de Paris.

Whatever it takes to grasp Messager, I haven’t got it. “C’est une musique facile” - easy music – said a man in the row in front as we gathered our coats to leave. Well it might have been easy for him but, on the contrary, I find it very hard indeed to bring into focus and impossible to recall. The first two acts seemed to witter on aimlessly, with distinct Debussy undertones; in acts three and four the music had more definite sha…

Gluck - Iphigénie en Aulide and Iphigénie en Tauride

La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday December 6 2009.
Conductor: Christophe Rousset. Production: Pierre Audi. Dramaturge: Klaus Bertisch. Sets: Michael Simon. Costumes: Anna Eiermann. Lighting: Jean Kalman.

En Aulide: Agamemnon: Andrew Schroeder. Clytemnestre: Charlotte Hellekant. Iphigénie: Véronique Gens. Achille: Avi Klemberg. Patrocle: Henk Neven. Calchas: Gilles Cachemaille. Arcas: Werner Van Mechelen. Diane: Violet Serena Noorduyn.

En Tauride: Iphigénie: Nadja Michael. Oreste: Stéphane Degout. Pylade: Topi Lehtipuu. Thoas: Werner Van Mechelen. Diane: Violet Serena Noorduyn.

Orchestra and chorus of La Monnaie.

Bad Gluck can be very tedious. Two in a row would be a serious trial, so I had misgivings at finding both Iphigénies scheduled together this season. But when the singing and acting are first rate we are reminded what a great composer of musical tragedy Gluck is. Topi Lehtipuu and Stéphane Degout must be today’s ideal pairing as Pylade and Oreste. Lehtipuu is, as anyone familiar with t…