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Showing posts from September, 2010

Sullivan – The Pirates of Penzance

Sydney Opera House, Friday September 24 2010

Conductor: Andrew Greene. Production: Stuart Maunder. Sets: Richard Roberts. Costumes: Roger Kirk. Major-General Stanley: Peter Carroll. Pirate King: Anthony Warlow. Frederic: Matthew Robinson. Mabel: Rosemarie Harris. Ruth: Suzanne Johnston. Sergeant of Police: Richard Alexander. Samuel: Andrew Brunsdon. Edith: Amy Wilkinson. Kate: Tania Ferris. Isabel: Angela Brun. Opera Australia Chorus. Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra.

I didn’t fancy Rosenkavalier in what I believe to be a traditional production, and couldn’t get tickets on the web for Rigoletto, so I decided I’d give The Pirates of Penzance a go. The photos looked like it might be fun, and you expect a national opera house to do it proud. However, I left asking myself “what’s the point?”

This was a pretty enough production, with a stage within the stage and sky-blue proscenium lit up in lights. Red-wheeled, cardboard cut-out, “coloured engraving” sets were pushed or pulled on and o…

Tchaikovsky - Eugene Onegin

ONP Bastille, Monday September 20 2010

Conductor: Vasily Petrenko. Production: Willy Decker. Sets & costumes: Wolfgang Gussmann. Lighting: Hans Toelstede. Madame Larina: Nadine Denize. Tatiana: Olga Guryakova. Olga: Alisa Kolosova. Filipievna: Nona Javakhidze . Eugene: Ludovic Tézier. Lenski: Joseph Kaiser. Prince Gremin: Gleb Nikolski. Monsieur Triquet: Jean-Paul Fouchécourt. Ugo: Rabec Zaretski. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

There are evenings at the opera when everything is so sound that you can’t easily put your finger on what it was that left you not-quite-satisfied (“sur votre faim”). So it was this Monday at Eugene Onegin.

The singers? Surely not. Nadine Denize may now make a rather underpowered Madame Larin, but hers isn’t a pivotal role. Olga Guryakova’s voice may be a little harder and stiffer than it was back in War and Peace, but, as my neighbour said, what magnificent sounds she makes. And (a) whatever she may have lost (and that’s not much), she h…

Boesmans - Yvonne, Princesse de Bourgogne

La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday September 19 2010

Conductor: Patrick Davin. Production: Luc Bondy. Sets: Richard Peduzzi. Costumes, hair and make-up: Milena Canonero. Lighting: Dominique Bruguière. Yvonne: Dörte Lyssewski. Le Roi Ignace: Paul Gay. La Reine Marguerite: Mireille Delunsch. Le Prince Philippe: Marcel Reijans. Le Chambellan: Werner Van Mechelen. Isabelle: Hannah Esther Minutillo. Cyrille: Jason Bridges. Cyprien: Jean-Luc Ballestra. Innocent: Guillaume Antoine. Le Mendiant: Marc Coulon. Les Tantes: Beata Morawska, Alain-Pierre Wingelinckx. Orchestra and Chorus of La Monnaie.

I’d heard of psychodrama but Yvonne, Princesse de Bourgogne was my chance to meet psychocomedy. I suspect that to be fascinated by either you need to be intellectually inclined, and I’m not, so I wasn’t. Yvonne is based on a play by a Pole called Gombrowicz, in which a prince decides that, as convention would have him marry a beautiful, charming princess, he will marry the graceless Yvonne instead. Soon, som…