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Showing posts from April, 2010

Thomas - Mignon

Opéra Comique, Paris, Wednesday April 14 2010.

Conductor: François-Xavier Roth. Production: Jean-Louis Benoit. Sets: Laurent Peduzzi. Costumes: Thibaut Welchlin. Lighting: Dominique Bruguière. Choreography: Lionel Hoche. Mignon: Marie Lenormand. Wilhelm Meister: Ismael Jordi. Philine: Malia Bendi-Merad. Lothario, Nicolas Cavallier. Frédéric: Blandine Staskiewicz. Laërte: Christophe Mortagne. Jarno: Frédéric Goncalves. Un serveur: Laurent Delvert. Danseuses, Marie-Laure Caradec, Vinciane Gombrowicz, Aurélie Genoud, Caroline Savi. Accentus. Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

Since the Théâtre du Châtelet switched from a full season of opera, rivalling the Opéra National (in the 90s especially), to more eclectic programming, we’ve fortunately been able to turn to the Opéra Comique instead. Change of management (and status: it is now a Théâtre National) there has brought a policy of scheduling new or recent works while reviving French pieces that have become rare. And so we’ve had t…

Joplin - Treemonisha

Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, Tuesday April 6 2010.

Conductor: Kazem Abdullah. Production & choreography: Blanca Li. Sets & costumes: Roland Roure. Lighting: Jacques Rouveyrollis. Treemonisha: Adina Aaron. Monisha: Grace Bumbry. Lucy: Janinah Burnett. Remus: Stanley Jackson. Andy: Mlamli Lalapantsi. Cephus: Loïc Felix. Zodzetrick: Stephen Salters. Ned: Willard White. Simon: Jacques-Greg Belobo. Parson Alltalk: Krister St. Hill. Luddud: Jean-Pierre Cadignan. A foreman: Joël Ocangha. Ensemble orchestral de Paris.

I was as glad to see Treemonisha on the Châtelet’s schedule this year as I am to see Les Mamelles de Tirésias on the Opéra Comique’s for 2010-2011. Not that they have much in common, but they’re both rare treats. And I was glad to get the impression that, musically speaking, the show must have improved since the opening night, as what I heard wasn’t as weak as some of the professional reviews implied.

In fact, the cast was strong throughout: Adina Aaron as Treemonisha didn’t…

Strauss - Der Rosenkavalier

Hungarian State Opera, Budapest, Sunday April 4 2010.

Conductor: Dénes István. Production: Andrejs Zagars. Sets: Julia Müer. Costumes: Kristine Pasternaka. Lighting: Kevin Wyn-Jones. Feldmarschallin: Eszter Sümegi. Baron Ochs: Lars Woldt. Octavian: Andrea Meláth. Faninal: Péter Kálmán. Sophie: Rita Rácz. Leitmetzerin: Mária Temesi. Valzacchi: Zsolt Derecskei. Annina: Jolán Sánta. Polizeikommissar: Sándor Egri. Haushofmeister bei der Feldmarschallin: László Beöthy-Kiss. Haushofmeister bei Faninal Sándor Kecskés. Notar: Kázmér Sárkány. Wirt: Péter Kiss. Sänger: Attila Fekete.

One of the nice things about Budapest last weekend was the kind of restaurant that’s a rarity now in Paris: well-run, professional establishments upholding a long tradition of dishing up generous, well-prepared fare at reasonable prices purely for their patrons’ pleasure, seemingly glad to have your custom and praise; rather than slaves to fashion, the dreaded "creativity" and "innovation" coveri…

Philippe Fénelon - Faust

ONP Garnier, Wednesday March 31 2010

Conductor: Bernhard Kontarsky. Production: Pet Halmen. L’Homme, Görg: Gilles Ragon. Faust: Arnold Bezuyen. Méphistophélès: Robert Bork. Wagner, Le Moine: Gregory Reinhart. Le Forgeron: Bartlomiej Misiuda. Le Duc, Le Capitaine: Eric Huchet. La Femme du forgeron, La Princesse: Marie-Adeline Henry. Annette: Karolina Andersson. Kurt: Johan Christensson. Hans: Stanislas de Barbeyrac. Guillaume: Antoine Michel. Kathe: Zoé Nicolaidou. Suschen: Ilona Krzywicka. Lieschen: Aude Extrémo. Quatre Matelots: Hyun-Jung Roh, David Fernandez-Gainza, Chae Wook Lim, Shin Jae Kim. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

Seeing a new opera, Charles Jennens might, if he were around today, be tempted to turn around his famous remark about Semele: "no oratorio, but a bawdy opera." Many of today's works are, in my experience, "no opera, but a dreary oratorio." I usually take one or two contemporary pieces each season, but make my way to th…