|Index||4 reviews in total|
What a feast this production is ! Completely in touch with the Barock
era it searches for the excessive and the grandeur, and boy, did they
find it here !
Wat a treat for the eyes, what an explosion of colour and movement !!
Again an opera coming from the Chatelet theatre, which gave us already the fabulous Rameau 'Les Indes Galantes', the wonderful Janacek 'The Cunning Little Vixen' and many others; it is almost as if Chatelet stands for a few hours of 'FEEL GOOD ENTERTAINMENT'.
Because FUN it is. As star Laurent Naouri points out: 'Le Plaisir' / FUN is the keyword in Rameau's oeuvre.
This spectacle will have you sitting up in front of your screen with a smile on your face all the time. The only regret you might have is that you only have one pair of eyes; The exuberance and pleasure occurs in three layers simultaneously.
The interaction between live action and video-performance, between singers and dancers (again from very many different backgrounds) AND from single persons with themselves (thanks to those video-performances) is quite simply breathtakingly beautiful.
What a great day we had watching this Jose Montalvo-production; and the 1-hour long 'making of' called 'Barock That Rocks', which is to be found on the Art House DVD, did indeed live up to the expectations which the treat for eyes & ears had set.
I do understand why people may be irritated by this production. However, I loved it and thought it was great fun. The story of Rameau's opera is rather static and thin, however the beautiful and stately music is some of Rameau's best. The costume and set design look beautiful and do work in a contemporary setting, I particularly enjoyed Stephanie D'Oustrac's, while there are some very clever back-projections and close ups. The orchestra are stylish and William Christie conducts more than ably. The performances are also great, Sandriane Piau and Stephanie D'Oustrac are warm and appealing, and Topi Lehtipuu is excellent in a difficult role. The dancing is what makes this production other than the music and singing, it is all very energetic and unique with interesting use of styles. All in all, it is all an acquired taste but I thought it was fun. 9/10 Bethany Cox
Why on earth go to extreme lengths to secure an "authentic" musical
performance, with period instruments and a fully developed grammar of
vocal ornamentation recreating 18th century practices and then saddle
it with a perverse, vandalic and utterly irrelevant "conceptual"
production full of enervating nonsense?
Hervieu's mise-en-scène bears no relation whatever to Rameau's creation and can only be considered an alien accretion visited upon a work with no one to defend it. Why would musicians who have dedicated their performing lives to understanding the creative mentality and style that gave life to a theatre piece participate in such a desecration? It seems to involve a complete negation of the logic of their own lives.
The Conductor William Christie has done a lot to promote the operas of
Rameau and to make them relevant to a modern audience but this
production from Paris Chatelet, produced by José Montalvo may be a step
too far. We see a three-tiered stage: the bottom tier contains mostly
human beings while the upper two levels contain mainly videos and
animations, although there is some interaction on these levels between
the animations and the live performers. This may have looked impressive
on stage but it is totally pointless on film because all the viewer
sees is people on film interacting with people on film. Nearly
everything is in long shot because that is the only way that the viewer
can see all three levels simultaneously. You may want to concentrate on
the live action at the bottom of the screen but you are continually
distracted by rampaging rabbits, lions, tigers, horses, hominoids and a
railway train flashing across the upper two-thirds of the picture, all
interacting with a live troupe of breakdancers. Don't ask me about the
plot. I don't think there is one.
If my description seems confused it is because I was confused and extremely irritated by this silly production. There is much good vocal music in this opera and it is admirably performed, particularly by the mezzo Stéphanie d'Oustrac as Argie and tenor Topi Lehtipuu as Atis. Even during the vocal numbers we have to put up with the distraction of a breakdancer spinning on his head or a dancer waving his arms about as though he is giving a sign-language interpretation what is being sung.
The only part of the production that I found visually attractive was Stéphanie D'Oustrac in pink thigh-length boots and hot pants. The version I saw was sub-titled across the bottom third of the screen, effectively blotting out the only part of the action that I was interested in. I wish the person who did the subtitling the best of luck when they next resit their GCSE French.
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