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La belle Hélène (1996)

| Comedy, Music | TV Movie
It is love at first sight when Paris of Troy meets Helene of Sparta.



(libretto), (libretto)

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Cast overview:
Vesselina Kasarova ...
Hélène, Queen of Sparta
Deon van der Walt ...
Carlos Chausson ...
Volker Vogel ...
Oliver Widmer ...
Liliana Nikiteanu ...
Orestes, Son of Agamemnon (as Liliana Nichiteanu)
Ruben Amoretti ...
Ajax I., King of Salamis
Cheyne Davidson ...
Ajax II., King of Locris
Steve Davislim ...
Ruth Rohner ...
Bacchis, Helen's Attendant
Ulrika Precht ...
Leona, a Courtesan
Lisa Larsson ...
Parthenis, a Courtesan
Karl Adam ...
Philicome, Calchas' Attendant
Jean-Paul Beglin ...
Jakob Baumann ...


It is love at first sight when Paris of Troy meets Helene of Sparta.

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Comedy | Music





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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Version of Die schöne Helena (1975) See more »


La belle Hélène
Music by Jacques Offenbach
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User Reviews

A treat!
10 May 2006 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

This is an even better version of Offenbach's opéra-bouffe than the fine 2000 version which I reviewed earlier. Also with an international cast, it stars Vesselina Kasarova, the Bulgarian soprano as Helen of Sparta (later Troy), Deon van der Walt a South African tenor as Paris, Carlos Chausson, a Spanish bass-baritone as Calchas and Volker Vogel the German tenor as Menelaus.

All of these singers are excellent both vocally and as farceurs and I was saddened to read that Deon van der Walt was murdered in 2005, apparently by his own father in a dispute over the running of his wine farm.

The ubiquitous Nikolaus Harnoncourt is the conductor who also takes part in the action on occasion, even kicking up his heels during the final curtain calls. As one of the leaders of the modern (1950s) original instruments revival, this is rather startling behavior to say the least! Missing from this version is the "frame" of the Lott version where Helen and Menelaus are an ordinary bored couple with Felicity dreaming her way into the part of Helen. Here the costumes are much more sedate and in the style of the original Greek legend; in short, no bathing suits.

If you want to see the 2000 version, it might be a good idea to start with this one if you have sufficient fondness for Offenbach to see both versions.

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