Tag: Dessay

Offenbach – Orphée aux Enfers / Opéra National de Lyon 1997 (2)

(Previous section here.)

All of the above makes for an entertaining two hours. The running gag is that music, especially “serious music” is a form of punishment or torture – not only does Euridice break out the earplugs when Orpheus threatens her with a concerto, but on Mt. Olympus, when the gods stage a miniature rebellion in Act II to show their dissatisfaction with Jupiter’s boring regime, they make him listen to their charges in the form of a song. Euridice also does a fair amount of eye-rolling as her appointed guardian and servant in Hades, John Styx, sings over and over of how he was once King of Boeotia. Harmony is boring. (Indeed, “boring” is probably the key word in the libretto. Everyone just wants to have a little fun, and is seemingly stymied at every turn.)

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Offenbach – Orphée aux Enfers / Opéra National de Lyon 1997 (1)

The most famous section of Offenbach’s Orphée aux Enfers is probably the “galop infernal.” But in addition of being a source of a famous musical quotation, it also makes use of one, the “che farò senza Euridice” theme from Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. But the quotation is mocking rather than reverent – this is a version of the story that takes a few liberties with the tale as conventionally told.

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Donizetti – La Fille du Régiment / ROH 2008

This is cute. vlcsnap-2014-04-04-23h59m33s21Donizetti’s opera about a little girl raised by a regiment (alternate title: Eight Hundred Men and a Baby) who discovers that she is the natural daughter of a noblewoman and ultimately marries the young Tyrolean lad that she had fallen in love with in Act I is not necessarily what you would call deep, but it’s entertaining enough.  Having Natalie Dessay in the title role doesn’t hurt either. I know she has recently said she is giving up opera, but I am not sure that I really believe this. I hope it’s not so. At the same time, watching her antics in this production led me to think about things French and antics in a general sort of way, and I had to wonder what would be like if you put in Patricia Petibon as Marie? I bet that would be entertaining too.

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Natalie Dessay – Carnegie Hall 3-12-14

This was Dessay’s New York recital debut, which I didn’t quite believe when I read it in the program. However, the program is probably to be trusted as far as that goes. Surprising, though, isn’t it? Especially given how much people here love her – I got into a very animated bathroom line conversation with one woman about her; this woman mentioned that Dessay had the option to become an actress and chose opera instead. I can believe it.


New horizons in – well, actually very familiar horizons in time-wasting

I was attempting to concentrate on a Scholarly Endeavor yesterday (it’s a manuscript, not a cocktail, although I’d much rather have the latter) and in a desperate bid to corral my attention I decided to try to write and listen to Le Nozze di Figaro at the same time. The plan was not what you would call a roaring success. It was the Harnoncourt version from Salzburg, and I had never heard it without the visuals before and man, that thing is weird. The overture has this odd, lurching, things leaping out when you least expect it sort of feel – you think you know where you are and which way is up and then you get ambushed by woodwinds. I got through most of Act I and had to turn it off because I wasn’t getting any work done.

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