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Showing posts from February, 2019

Berlioz - Les Troyens

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ONP Bastille, Tuesday February 12 2019

Conductor: Philippe Jordan. Production and sets: Dmitri Tcherniakov. Costumes: Elena Zaytseva. Lighting: Gleb Filshtinsky. Cassandre: Stéphanie d'Oustrac. Ascagne: Michèle Losier. Hécube: Véronique Gens. Énée: Brandon Jovanovich. Chorèbe: Stéphane Degout. Panthée: Christian Helmer. Le Fantôme d'Hector: Thomas Dear. Priam: Paata Burchuladze. Un Capitaine Grec: Jean-Luc Ballestra. Helenus: Jean-François Marras. Polyxène: Sophie Claisse. Didon: Ekaterina Semenchuk. Anna: Aude Extrémo. Iopas: Cyrille Dubois. Hylas: Bror Magnus Tødenes. Narbal: Christian Van Horn. Deux Capitaines troyens: Jean-Luc Ballestra, Tomislav Lavoie. Mercure: Bernard Arrieta. Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris.

Talking about Les Troyens the other day, a colleague remarked that none of the Paris Opera’s new productions under Stéphane Lissner’s management have been outstandingly successful. As usual (though the phenomenon continues to puzzle me) the hoo-h…

Ponchielli - La Gioconda

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La Monnaie, Brussels, Sunday February 10 2019

Conductor: Paolo Carignani. Production: Olivier Py. Sets & Costumes: Pierre-André Weitz. Lighting: Bertrand Killy. La Gioconda: Hui He. Laura Adorno: Szilvia Vörös. Enzo Grimaldo: Stefano La Colla. Barnaba: Scott Hendricks. La Cieca: Ning Liang. Alvise Badoero: Jean Teitgen. Isèpo: Roberto Covatta. Zuàne /Un pilota: Bertrand Dunby. Un Barnabotto/Una voce: Bernard Giovani. Un cantore: René Laryea. Una voce: Alejandro Fonté. La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. MM Academy & La Monnaie's Children's and Youth Chorus.

As the suave ‘cello solo turns into a quartet and the oboe then joins in, you think to yourself “Wow, I don't recall La Gioconda being so good.” Shortly afterwards, and for the next three hours or so, you realise why you’d forgotten. People sometimes say it’s a singers’ opera and that you need an outstanding cast to make it worthwhile. But I’m pretty certain that if you did have an outstanding cast in it, y…

Alessandro Scarlatti - Il Primo Omicidio ovvero Caino

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Alessandro Scarlatti - Il Primo Omicidio ovvero Caino 

ONP Garnier, Tuesday January 29 2018 Conductor: René Jacobs. Production, sets, costumes and lighting: Romeo Castellucci. Caino: Kristina Hammarström. Abele: Olivia Vermeulen. Eva: Birgitte Christensen. Adamo: Thomas Walker. Voce di Dio: Benno Schachtner. Voce di Lucifero: Robert Gleadow. B’Rock Orchestra. Maîtrise des Hauts-de-Seine, ONP Children’s Choir.

Wikipedia lists over 60 operas by Alessandro Scarlatti, none of which I've ever come across in a theatre over the past 40 years. Nevertheless, in co-production with Palermo, the Paris Opera decided to stage one of his oratorios: Il Primo Omicidio. The result didn’t confirm the wisdom of the choice. While Händel’s oratorios might make some dramatic sense (though he, too, wrote plenty of operas), Scarlatti's score is more contemplative - I might even say more religious. Jacobs is sometimes criticised for taking liberties for the sake of theatricality but did little to bring…