One of the delights of attending a live performance of an opera, operetta, play, musical, etc is that you might see a production that is so much better than any productions of the work that you have seen before. Far Worse is when you see a production that is so good that you later wish it had been recorded for posterity; and it wasn't.
Anyone fortunate enough to see the English National Opera's London production of "Orpheus in the Underworld" will know what I mean. Taking a swipe at Mrs Thatcher by parodying her as Public Opinion did date it but nevertheless it was a snappy and witty production, done during the time when the ENO was at its peak and with wonderful sets by Gerald Scarfe. Snoo Wilson did a marvellous job on the book, making the songs witty, sexy and far more interesting and incisive than the subtitled translations of the plodding 1977 version under review here. It is possible to buy an audio CD of the ENO production; it is one of the tragedies of the Arts World that nobody ever recorded it on video.
Having said that; this production by the Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels, although slow by comparison, does have some fine singing. It also has a nice theatrical device that draws its inspiration from a famous photograph of a railway accident at a Paris station. It probably has more international appeal than the ENO production I am comparing it with.
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