"À l'Opéra de Lausanne, l'extravagant Michel Fau s'empare du plus populaire des opéras-bouffes de Jacques Offenbach dans une mise en scène très attendue, chaussant pour l'occasion les sandales du roi Ménélas". Gloriously sumptuous yet also witty - Offenbach La belle Hélène in a new production by Michel Fau now available for a short period on arte.tv.This is opéra-bouffe as it should be done - with wit, extravagant and idiomatic verve. As one would expect from Michel Fay, who is unique - not only an actor, but one with extraordinary musical affinities, who can bring out the music in spoken text, so it picks up on the musical logic - not Spechstimme, but declamation that accenntuates the musical line. When he narrates - such as in the recent F X Roth Berlioz Lélio, (please read more here), he makes the text fit so well with the orchestra and singers that it's hard to go back to listening to non-text or non-idomatic performance. Fau is also a theatre historian, extremely well infomed about the performance style and ideologies in French music and theatre. This production, lit in gold and jewel tones is audaciously indulgent, and the performances are vivid, too. Do not miss this - it's fabulous, in every way ! (cast list and credits in the link).