Ahead of the all-Rameau Les Paladins concert at the Wigmore Hall on Wednesday 1st October, a link to a film on Les Paladins on medici tv based on the 2004 Théâtre du Châtelet de Paris production with Les Arts Florissants conducted by William Christie.
"We're talking about a composer who IS funny.....I've been living with Les Paladins for a number of years now", says William Christie, "and the thing that strikes me is that it's a piece of absolute anarchy, and from a composer who's an old man , 77, 78 years old,, it's as if he's trying essentially to shock. Then, " parody and caricature are important words describing this piece - it's as if he's parodying himself "
A black and white engraving of a huntsman comes alive as rows of deer run out from the flat surface. The stage is divided so rows of dancers occupy the front level, while large-scale videos of other dancers leap above them, as if bouncing off clouds. The baroque imagination adapted and re-created by modern technology. Later, dancing bunnies and other images of the exuberant bounty of Nature. The livret is pretty basic. "It's Entführung" says Laurent Nouri who sings Orcan (ie Osmin). Excellently cast - Stéphanie d'Oustrac (Argie), Topi Lehtipuu (Altis), Sandrine Piau, Laurent Naouri (Orcan), René Schirrer (Anselme), François Piolino (Manto), Emiliano Gonzalez Toro (un paladin).. Choreography and staging by José Montalvo. The music is so bright, and the playing so infectiously jolly that the singers bob about quite naturally among the dancers.
Who could sit still grumpily with music like this? Throughout the opera ballet, words and orchestral passages bounce back and forwards in intricate patterns, captured in lively splitscreen staging. Gert the full 2 disc DVD here
Sandrine Piau is singing at the Wigmore Hall on Wednesday, with Les Paladins, the consort conducted by Jérôme Correas. They're doing a mixed programme of extracts from different Rameau opera/ballets , including Les Paladins, Castor et Pollux, Les Indes Galantes, Platée asnd Les Surprises d' Amour. Link to Wigmore Hall Box Office HERE. They're selling fast. There's a pre concert talk, too.