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Showing posts from October, 2016

Saint-Saëns - Samson et Dalila

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ONP Bastille, Monday October 24 2016

Conductor: Philippe Jordan. Production: Damiano Michieletto. Sets: Paolo Fantin. Costumes: Carla Teti. Lighting: Alessandro Carletti. Dalila: Anita Rachvelishvili. Samson: Aleksandrs Antonenko. Le Grand Prêtre de Dagon: Egils Silins. Abimélech: Nicolas Testé. Un vieillard hébreu: Nicolas Cavallier. Un Messager philistin: John Bernard. Premier Philistin: Luca Sannai. Deuxième Philistin: Jian-Hong Zhao. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

Just as I was happy to hear Verdi’s Requiem again last week, I was happy to hear Samson et Dalila again this Monday. Saint-Saëns is unfashionable and underrated, but I like him a lot, and wonder not just why I’ve never seen Samson staged before, but why we don’t get at least some of his other operas.

Musically, it was a rare treat. After what I briefly thought was a rather ponderous, Brahmsian start, bringing to mind the Requiem (Brahms’s, not Verdi’s) and raising initial fears, Philippe Jordan craft…

Cavalli - Eliogabalo

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ONP Garnier, Paris, Thursday September 29 2016

Conductor: Leonardo García Alarcón. Production: Thomas Jolly. Choreography: Maud Le Pladec. Eliogabalo: Franco Fagioli. Alessandro Cesare: Paul Groves. Flavia Gemmira: Nadine Sierra. Giuliano Gordio: Valer Sabadus. Anicia Eritea: Elin Rombo. Atilia Macrina: Mariana Flores. Zotico: Matthew Newlin. Lenia: Emiliano Gonzalez Toro. Nerbulone, Tiferne: Scott Conner. Sets: Thibaut Fack. Costumes: Gareth Pugh. Lighting: Antoine Travert. Cappella Mediterranea. Namur Chamber Choir.

This Eliogabalo at Garnier offers a prime example of how different people's perceptions may be of the same production, as a quick read through the published reviews demonstrates.

It was Thomas Jolly's first opera. Perhaps those most impressed are too young to find it an unexpected throwback to the 80s, not having lived through the decade. I found (most of) it gloomy, cold and corny. The stage was cavernous black and dominated most of the time by plain black constr…