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Showing posts from December, 2012

Happy New Year 2013

Something outstanding from 2012 to see in 2013.

(The words "Something outstanding" are actually a link, in case you didn't notice!). From Arias for Marietta Marcolini on Naïve.

Ballets de Noverre: Renaud et Armide / Médée et Jason

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Opéra Comique, Paris, Saturday December 22 2012
"Ballets d'action" by Jean-Georges Noverre, music by Jean-Joseph Rodolphe. Created in Versailles and Milan in 1775.

Conductor: Hervé Niquet. Choreography: Marie-Geneviève Massé. Production: Vincent Tavernier. Sets: Antoine Fontaine. Costumes: Olivier Bériot. Lighting: Hervé Gary. Armide: Sabine Novel. Renaud: Noah Hellwig. La Chevalier danois: Olivier Collin. Ubalde: Bruno Benne. Médée: Sarah Berreby. Jason: Adrian Navarro. Céüse: Émilie Brégougnon. Créon: Daniel Housset. L'Éventail baroque dance company. Le Concert Spirituel.

Jean-Georges Noverre was a choreographer whose work, according to the Opéra Comique’s website, “by emancipating dance from opera, at last enabled the art of movement to tell its own stories […] With these action ballets, the ‘Shakespeare of the dance’ as the actor Garrick called him" (his success was international) "set the seeds for the full flowering of romantic ballet”. In other words,…

Blow - Venus & Adonis (preceded by Begin the Song)

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Opéra Comique, Paris, Thursday December 13 2012

Conductor: Bertrand Cuiller. Production: Louise Moaty. Choreography: Françoise Denieau. Sets: Adeline Caron. Costumes: Alain Blanchot. Lighting: Christophe Naillet. Adonis: Marc Mauillon. Venus: Céline Scheen. Cupid: Romain Delalande. Chorus & Orchestra of Les Musiciens du Paradis. Caen Children’s Chorus.

I had never listened to Venus and Adonis. In my usual blind prejudice, I supposed it was pale Purcell. Turns out it's a very fine, varied score and a work which combines, in that typical English way, delicately underplayed tragedy and gentle humour. Here it was above all beautifully played by Les Musiciens du Paradis, who are new to me, presumably at a fairly low pitch as the overall sound was mellow and the singers I read were countertenors (supposing the source was correct) sounded, here, like plain tenors - at least two of them very good, by the way. Céline Scheen stood out for her creamy soprano voice (and, my neighbour insis…

Cherubini - Médée

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Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, Wednesday 12 December 2012

Conductor: Christophe Rousset. Production: Krzysztof Warlikowski. Sets & Costumes: Malgorzata Szczesniak. Lighting: Felice Ross. Video design: Denis Guéguin. Médée: Nadja Michael. Jason: John Tessier. Dircé: Elodie Kimmel. Créon: Vincent Le Texier. Néris: Varduhi Abrahamyan. Servante 1: Ekaterina Isachenko. Servante 2: Anne-Fleur Inizan. Les Talens Lyriques. Chorus of Radio France.

Pourquoi tant de haine ? (part 2)

This is a production I already wrote about when I saw it in 2011 in Brussels, so I don't need to go into much extra detail here. In Brussels it was not booed; at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, it was both booed and heckled (to be specific, the booing started during "Oh Carol" at the end of act two), perhaps because the Champs Elysées audience often contains a fair contingent of conservative bourgeois from the leafy western suburbs, more used to more conventional productions of Mozart.

They have …

Bizet - Carmen

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ONP Bastille, Monday December 10 2012
Conductor: Philippe Jordan. Production: Yves Beaunesne. Sets: Damien Caille-Perret. Costumes: Jean-Daniel Vuillermoz. Lighting: Joël Hourbeigt. Don José: Khachatur Badalyan. Escamillo: Ludovic Tézier. Le Dancaïre: Edwin Crossley-Mercer. Le Remendado: François Piolino. Zuniga: François Lis. Morales: Alexandre Duhamel. Carmen: Anna Caterina Antonacci. Micaela: Genia Kühmeier. Frasquita: Olivia Doray. Mercedes: Louise Callinan. Lillas Pastia: Philippe Faure. Un Guide: Frédéric Cuif. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris. Hauts de Seine and Paris Opera Children’s Choruses.

Pourquoi tant de haine ?

It’s easy to see why La Monnaie’s new Traviata got booed. It’s harder to see what it is about Paris’s new (blow-job-free) Carmen that raises people’s hackles. It certainly doesn’t raise many questions, bombard you with ideas or wow you with in-depth characterisations, but it turns out to be a fairly well-managed, conventional show. We’ve had wo…

Verdi - La Traviata

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La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday December 9 2012
Conductor: Ádám Fischer. Production: Andrea Breth. Sets: Décors: Martin Zehetgruber. Costumes: Moidele Bickel. Lighting: Alexander Koppelmann. Violetta Valéry: Simona Šaturová. Flora Bervoix: Salomé Haller. Annina: Carole Wilson. Alfredo Germont: Sébastien Guèze. Giorgio Germont: Scott Hendricks. Gastone: Dietmar Kerschbaum. Barone Douphol: Till Fechner. Marchese d’Obigny: Jean-Luc Ballestra. Dottor Grenvil: Guillaume Antoine. Giuseppe: Gijs Van der Linden. Commissionario: Matthew Zadow. Domestico: Kris Belligh. Orchestra and Chorus of La Monnaie.

Act one prelude. A wet night in a gloomy container park. A fresh consignment of prostitutes, in macs and stilettos, disembark from the stacked containers. The girls struggle against the traffickers, with one exception who, on the contrary, aims to seduce them: Violetta we presume.

Act one. Violetta’s white-floored saloon, with half a dozen matt-black chesterfield armchairs and the odd chrome table o…