Showing posts from May, 2013

Henri Rabaud - Mârouf, savetier du Caire

Opéra Comique, Paris, Monday May 27 2013
Conductor: Alain Altinoglu. Production: Jérôme Deschamps. Choreography: Peeping Tom (Franck Chartier). Sets: Olivia Fercioni. Costumes: Vanessa Sannino. Lighting: Marie-Christine Soma. Mârouf: Jean-Sébastien Bou. Princesse Saamcheddine: Nathalie Manfrino. Le Sultan: Nicolas Courjal. Le Vizir: Franck Leguérinel. Ali: Frédéric Goncalvès. Fattoumah: Doris Lamprecht. Le Fellah ; premier marchand: Christophe Mortagne. Ahmad: Luc Berthin-Hugault. Second marchand ; premier mamelouk: Geoffroy Buffière. Le Kâdi: Olivier Déjean. Chef des marins ; ânier ; premier muezzin ; premier homme de police: Patrick Kabongo Mubenga. Second homme de police: Ronan Debois. Second muezzin: Safir Behloul. Accentus choir. Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

Is there some unbridgeable kind of divide between French and “Anglo-Saxon” theatrical tastes? I really don’t enjoy Jérôme Deschamps “amateur theatricals” approach to stage directing, but my French friends do. I s…

Recital: Diana Damrau, Xavier de Maistre

ONP Garnier, Paris, Wednesday May 22 2013
Songs by Franz Schubert, Richard Strauss, Reynaldo Hahn, Ernest Chausson, Gabriel Fauré, Henri Duparc, Eva Dell’Acqua.

Diana Damrau, Soprano. Xavier De Maistre, Harp.

"You'll be hugging trees next" was a recent comment from a friend on Facebook (one I actually know, indeed have known for 45 years; he's now in his twilight years, poor old sod, and dating slender young things in Eastern Europe), when he saw I'd bought organic fruit and vegetables for dinner (by mistake). Only a couple of months back I found myself in a spa, having a Japanese bath, complete with rose petals and green tea (I didn't drink it, of course) and an "ayurvedic" massage, with bells on. Now I find myself at a soprano recital with harp, including droopy French songs. Perhaps I should call a shaman?

I can in fact explain the recital - just as I can also explain the spa: I promised another friend I've actually met (more than once, even) …

Ponchielli - La Gioconda

ONP Bastille, Monday May 20 2013
Conductor: Daniel Oren. Production, sets and costumes: Pier Luigi Pizzi. Lighting: Sergio Rossi. La Gioconda: Violeta Urmana. Laura Adorno: Elena Bocharova. Alvise Badoero: Orlin Anastassov. La Cieca: María José Montiel. Enzo Grimaldo: Marcelo Alvarez. Barnaba: Claudio Sgura. Paris Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Hauts-de-Seine and Paris Opera Children's Choruses.

Lesser works benefit from greater effort. I think the Paris opera was right, once it had decided to schedule La Gioconda, to “throw voices” at it. Fortunately it found some up to the task – not a foregone conclusion. Right, also, to seek a conductor capable of persuading the orchestra to take the work seriously – not a foregone conclusion, either. And probably right, as well, to go for a fairly traditional production, rather than a rethink, without opting for a Zeffirelli-style, everything-including-the-kitchen-sink orgy of neo-Venetian ghastliness.

The result was an evening of “grand opera” …

Händel - Agrippina

Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, Wednesday May 15 2013
In concert

Conductor: Eduardo López Banzo. Agrippina: Ann Hallenberg. Nerone: Vivica Genaux. Poppea: María Espada. Ottone: Carlos Mena. Claudio: Luigi De Donato. Pallante: Enrique Sánchez Ramos. Lesbo: Elías Benito. Narciso: José Hernández Pastor. Al Ayre Español.

It may sound unlikely, but the little corner of the baroque music world I have access to via Facebook has been hooked, over the past few days, on the Eurovision semi-finals. This includes at least one (who admitted to watching in pyjamas in bed – probably with a beer in one hand and a bag of crisps in the other), maybe more and possibly all of those singing in Agrippina at the Champs Elysées on Wednesday.


… here are We Left At The Interval's votes for the Agrippina Song Contest.

Twelve points go to Ann Hallenberg and Vivica Genaux - Anne Hallenberg et Vivica Genaux: douze points.

Just as, not so long ago, if you saw Béatrice Uria-Monzon it had to be Carmen and i…

Dame Margaret Price in Mahler

Dame Margaret Price sings "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen".