Monday, 5 January 2015

Sparkling La Chauve-souris Opéra-Comique

Now online on France Musique (show starts at 51 minutes) , a sparkling new production Johan Strauss II La chauve-souris (Die Fledermaus) from L'Opéra Comique in Paris. Conducted by Marc Minkowski, musically it's effervescent and sparkling, with the depth of genuinely vintage champagne. Headed by the inimitable Stéphane Degout, the singing is sharp, sophisticated and pungent. When the hiccups, "drunken" slides and woozy laughter take hold,  they're even more pointed.  In vino, veritas ! This isn't a superficial opera, except to those who like superficial. Decades of Otto Schenk have trained audiences to think of the opera in terms of costumes, rather than drama or even music.  Hence the leaden, self-conscious performance we've suffered in recent years. Wit lies in the mind, satire in the imagination ! Thankfully, the acting here is as spirited as the singing, dialogue delivered with such panache that non-native speakers can catch the excitement. Luckily, there are many good recordings (Kleiber, Karajan etc) to listen to as music, blanking out the Schenk staging. Imagination, as always - listening should be a form of creativity.

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