With Samuel Ramey in the title role this Don Quichotte promises much but delivers little
Don Quichotte is not an amazing work, Manon and Werther are Massenet's best operas, but any Massenet is worth viewing or hearing and Don Quichotte is no exception. Sadly, this Paris production doesn't deliver despite its promise. The music itself is wonderful, but that doesn't alone carry this production. It is not without redeeming qualities, the final scene is moving, Jean-Phillippe Lafont brings a vitality to Sancho Panca and really does justice to his aria and Samuel Ramey sings with his usual richness and brims with authority in the title role. It is such a shame though that Carmen Oprisano is not on the same level, she is too grand and sophisticated for a character that is anything but, while her voice is uneven, the top is strong but unusually for a mezzo her lower notes fade away too much. But Oprisanu is not the only disappointment with this Don Quichotte. The production values are garish and cheap-looking, I still have no idea what setting the production was meant to be set in, and the staging is constantly jarring with the libretto and rarely does it move or excite. Only the final scene has anything of note. The orchestral playing is polished, but uninspired and without feeling, while the conducting does the job but is entirely too workmanlike on the whole. Overall, disappointing, the most promising asset of the production- Ramey- did work, but other than Lafont and the final scene little else did. 3/10 Bethany Cox
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