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Showing posts from May, 2014

Charles Lecocq - Ali Baba

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Opéra Comique, Paris, Tuesday May 20 2014

Conductor: Jean-Pierre Haeck. Production: Arnaud Meunier. Sets: Damien Caille-Perret. Costumes: Anne Autran Dumour. Lighting: Nicolas Marie. Morgiane: Sophie Marin-Degor. Zobéïde: Christianne Bélanger. Ali-Baba: Tassis Christoyannis. Zizi: Philippe Talbot. Cassim, François Rougier. Saladin: Mark van Arsdale. Kandgiar: Vianney Guyonnet. Maboul, le Cadi: Thierry Vu Huu. Chorus: Accentus/Opéra de Rouen Haute-Normandie. Orchestra of the Opéra de Rouen Haute-Normandie.

Rigoletto was set in a circus, but Ali Baba was more fun. Some critics have grumbled about the production, but I've seen tackier, cornier ones in the same house, among them last year's "oriental" offering, Mârouf, savetier du Caire. One of the grumbles was about the transposition, in which the bazar became a shopping centre and the costumes were vaguely 70s or 80s, so it's true that the slave auction was slightly out of place; but at least we were spared the pa…

If you are in or near Monaco...

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Verdi - Rigoletto

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La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday May 18 2014

Conductor: Carlo Rizzi. Production: Robert Carsen, reprised by Gayral Christophe. Sets: Radu Boruzescu. Costumes: Miruna Boruzescu. Lighting: Robert Carsen, Peter Van Praet. Il Duca di Mantova: Arturo Chacón-Cruz. Rigoletto: Dimitri Platanias. Gilda: Simona Šaturová. Sparafucile: Ain Anger. Maddalena: Sara Fulgoni. Giovanna: Carole Wilson. Il Conte di Monterone: Carlo Cigni. Marullo: Jean-Luc Ballestra. Matteo Borsa: Roberto Covatta. Il Conte di Ceprano: Laurent Kubla. La Contessa di Ceprano: Yvette Bonner. Usciere di Corte: Gerard Lavalle. Orchestra and men's chorus of La Monnaie. 

Robert Carsen’s production of Rigoletto has been around before arriving in Brussels, so it will be familiar to many. I’d seen parts of it on TV myself. It sets the work in a wine-dark circus ring, and once you’ve said that the concept is fairly easy to imagine.

In the Brussels context, the start seemed unpromisingly déjà vu. Not Carsen’s fault, but last season’s

Ann Hallenberg - Der Abschied

Remarkable performance in Berlin in early April 2014.

Bruckner's 2nd, Schubert's 7th, 8th or 9th

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Orchestre de l'Opéra national de Paris. Philippe Jordan, conductor.
Anton Bruckner: Symphony n°2 in C minorFranz Schubert: Symphony n°8 in C major ("Great"), D 944.
From Wikipedia, re the Scuthbert: "There continues to be some controversy over the numbering of this symphony, with German-speaking scholars sometimes numbering it as symphony No. 7, the most recent version of the Deutsch catalog (the standard catalogue of Schubert's works, compiled by Otto Erich Deutsch) listing it as No. 8, and English-speaking scholars often listing it as No. 9".

I had no idea. I thought the "8" on the Paris Opera's website was a mistake, and I wasn't the only ignoramus in town...

Over the past few years I've got out of the habit of booking orchestral concerts (that will change next season). But when I did, living in France my policy was to book for big-name visiting orchestras, preferably with a relatively modern programme. Why? Because France has no orc…