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Showing posts from February, 2011

Zandonai - Francesca da Rimini

ONP Bastille, Wednesday February 9 2011.

Conductor: Daniel Oren. Production: Giancarlo Del Monaco. Sets: Carlo Centolavigna. Costumes: Maria Filippi. Francesca: Svetla Vassileva. Samaritana: Louise Callinan. Ostasio: Wojtek Smilek. Giovanni Lo Sciancato: George Gagnidze. Paolo Il Bello: Roberto Alagna. Malatestino dall’Occhio: William Joyner. Biancofiore: Grazia Lee. Garsenda: Manuela Bisceglie. Altichiara: Andrea Hill. Adonella: Carol Garcia. La Schiava: Cornelia Oncioiu. Ser Toldo Berardengo: Alexandre Kravets. Il Giullare: Yuri Kissin. Il Torrigiano: Alexandre Duhamel. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

Perhaps there are people who are fond of the corny conventions of what the French call “papa’s opera” in the same way dance fans are fond of the conventions of romantic ballet. The Met has regulars after all. Nicolas Joel, the boss of the Paris Opera, would seem to be one and Giancarlo del Monaco, described by a French critic as “not just conservative but reactionar…

Prokofiev - Betrothal in a Monastery

Opéra Comique, Paris, Thursday February 3, 2011

Conductor: Tugan Sokhiev. Production: Martin Duncan. Sets and costumes: Alison Chitty. Lighting: Paul Pyant. Choreography: Ben Wright. Don Jerome: Brian Galliford. Ferdinand: Garry Magee. Louisa: Anastasia Kalagina. The Duenna: Larissa Diadkova. Don Antonio: Daniil Shtoda. Clara d’Almanza: Anna Kiknadze. Mendoza: Mikhail Kolelishvili. Don Carlos: Yuri Vorobiev. Padre Augustin: Eduard Tsanga. Father Elustaf/ 1st Masker: Vasily Efimov. Father Chartreuse/ 2nd Masker: Marek Kalbus. Father Benedictine/ 3rd Masker: Mischa Schelomianski. Lauretta: Eleonora Vindau. Orchestra and chorus of the Capitole de Toulouse.

It’s been a long time since I trundled out my threadbare line that opera-going is a triumph of hope over experience. I just browsed back through my reports to see when I last had a really fantastic evening at the opera and lo and behold, it was almost exactly a year ago in the same house, the Salle Favart, for The Fairy Queen. But I also…

Händel - Giulio Cesare

ONP Palais Garnier, Tuesday February 1 2011

Conductor: Emmanuelle Haïm. Production and costumes: Laurent Pelly. Sets: Chantal Thomas. Lighting: Joël Adam. Giulio Cesare: Lawrence Zazzo. Cornelia :Varduhi Abrahamyan. Sesto: Isabel Leonard. Cleopatra: Natalie Dessay. Tolomeo: Christophe Dumaux. Achilla: Nathan Berg. Nireno: Dominique Visse. Curio: Aimery Lefèvre. Orchestra of the Concert d'Astrée, Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

I thought this midnight exchange of e-mails after Giulio Cesare might, as it sums up my first impressions, do as a start to my write-up:

Friend: So how was it? Dessay finally on form?

Me: My first thought: very good cast in theatre too big for them. I.e. not voiceless wonders à la Christie at all, but Garnier too big - and the production didn't help, with them often singing from the middle (i.e. not the front) of the stage with no sets behind.

Second thought: to me, Haim takes too many liberties with the score, yet at the same time, overall, achieves…