Showing posts from March, 2010

Mozart - Idomeneo

La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday March 21 2010

Conductor: Jérémie Rhorer. Production: Ivo van Hove. Sets and lighting: Jan Versweyveld. Costumes: Lies Van Assche. Video: Tal Yarden. Idomeneo: Gregory Kunde. Idamante: Malena Ernman. Ilia: Sophie Karthäuser. Elettra: Alexandrina Pendatchanska. Arbace: Kenneth Tarver. Gran Sacerdote di Nettuno: Nigel Robson. Orchestra and Chorus of La Monnaie.

The quotation from The Economist was about poets and their poetry, not singers and their warbling, but reading it the morning after Idomeneo in Brussels I was struck by its relevance to what we’d heard: “… teasing, finicky word players who often write in disappointingly short lines and seem to lack the ambition, the emotional force, the rhetorical reach, and even the range of subject matter of great poets of the past. Where to go these days to find the real thing?” Just change a few words here and there…

Our complaint, or more particularly the frequent complaint of one of my French friends, is that too …

Grétry - L'amant jaloux

Opéra Comique, Paris, Wednesday March 17 2010

Conductor: Jérémie Rhorer. Production, Pierre-Emmanuel Rousseau. Sets: Thibaut Welchlin. Costumes: Pierre-Emmanuel Rousseau and Claudine Crauland. Léonore: Magali Léger. Isabelle: Daphné Touchais: Jacinte: Maryline Fallot. Florival: Frédéric Antoun. Don Alonze: Brad Cooper. Don Lopez: Vincent Billier. Le Cercle de l’Harmonie.

L'amant jaloux, ou Les fausses apparences, is a classic, inconsequential three-act comedy involving an ageing father, his eligible daughter and her best friend, a crafty servant, two penniless suitors, a serenade with mandolin accompaniment, people hiding behind doors by day or at night in gazebos, and mistaken identities (“les fausses apparences”).

According to Wikipedia: “The rich merchant Don Lopez does not want his young, widowed daughter Léonore to remarry. However, she is in love with [… note from Nigel: several lines cut …] Alonze finally recognises his sister. Alonze has just come into an inheritance which al…

Wagner - Das Rheingold

ONP Bastille, Wednesday March 10 2010

Conductor: Philippe Jordan. Production: Günter Krämer. Sets: Jürgen Bäckmann. Costumes: Falk Bauer. Lighting: Diego Leetz. Wotan: Falk Struckmann. Donner: Samuel Youn. Froh: Marcel Reijans: Froh. Loge: Kim Begley. Alberich: Peter Sidhom. Mime: Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke. Fasolt: Iain Paterson. Fafner: Günther Groissböck. Fricka: Sophie Koch. Freia: Ann Petersen. Erda: Qiu Lin Zhang. Woglinde: Caroline Stein. Wellgunde: Daniela Sindram. Flosshilde: Nicole Piccolomini. Orchestra of the Opéra National de Paris.

It doesn’t take long to sink in. You’re sitting there in the dark with the orchestra scraping away, singers tootling about on stage in a smudge of lights and colours and movements, your neighbours are coughing and sneezing and rooting around for tissues or sweets, and it dawns on you: I’m bored. So it was with Das Rheingold on Wednesday night. Now I know it’s a matter of taste and some people hated Bob Wilson’s Ring. But for me, at the Châtele…