The most fun I've had for any opera production for a long time
As a life-long opera fan, I simply adored this production. Orphee Aux Enfers has lovely music(the Can-Can is instantly recognisable) and I like the story. It's not one of Offenbach's best compositions in the way Tales of Hoffmann and La Belle Helene are, but it is hardly one to scorn at either. As said, I can find very little to criticise about the production. It is a more modern staging, but it actually looks appealing and the staging maintains the spirit, charm and fun of the work itself. The commentary is also as scathing as ever. The orchestra perform the music with stylish panache, the chorus balance themselves vocally splendidly and really seem to be enjoying themselves and the conductor Minkowski keeps everything going at a cracking pace. The choreography is infectiously witty and danced with such gusto. The performances are superb. Natalie Dessay was the cast member who I saw the production for, and she gives one of her best performances to me on DVD. As well as having a brilliant colouratura voice and technique- fans of her trademark high Gs will be thrilled- she is a deft comedienne as well. Yann Beuron is the best I've seen him so far, he sings beautifully and actually does the seemingly impossible in making a vain and unlikeably jealous person like Orpheus sympathetic. Laurent Naouri's singing is typically sonorous, and he is deliciously comic. The fly duet is superbly done. Jean-Paul Fouchecourt gives him terrific support in carrying the action. Cassandre Berthon's Cupid is an irresistible charmer also, Mercury and the Public Opinion roles are also well-taken. In conclusion, so much fun and very easy to like. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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