Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fortunio saves the day in Paris

A very good show in Paris (YAY!) - it does not happen often these days, so it deserves to be boldly highlighted. OF COURSE I am not talking about the Paris Opera (ONP). It was in Opéra Comique, one of the several good opera-houses in Paris where you never know what you might get: it can be fantastically creative and uplifting, but it can be unbearably sweet too.  So, I saw there "Fortunio" this past Saturday, December 12 and all I can say is: there are 3 more shows to go [ December 16, 18 and 20]. Believe me, you don't want to miss this one! [Run Forrest, run! ;) ]

This was a triple surprise for me:
  1. André Messager is one of my least favorite composers: his most famous opera "Veronique" was staged in the Chatelet theater two years ago, and that was definitely the sleaziest show I've seen in Paris for all these years. So against odds "Fortunio"  turned out to be the most pleasant surprise I could have imagined: granted, it's light but it's good in its branch, brilliantly constructed, produced with a great care for details (both musically and theatrically) and the french language sounds exactly what you expect it to sound like: french ;)
  2. Orchestre de Paris was employed to respectfully revive this nice piece of work: a good orchestra was brilliantly conducted by Louis Langrée - that was some treat, I tell you! The singers were all french-speaking and they all sang surprisingly well. The title role, however, was sung by a Canadian tenor, Joseph Kaiser, whose french was stunning: impeccable.
  3. Opéra Comique carefully invested their money and the result is great: Christian Lacroix did the costumes (l'élégance française at its best); a French actor Denis Podalydès astutely directed the whole show - the theatrical fiber definitely shows. He made all the singers perform as excellent actors which is more than propsworthy in my book: more theater in the opera-houses the better!
1 video of the rehearsals (lifted from the orchestredeparis channel on YouTube)

Direction musicale, Louis Langrée
Mise en scène, Denis Podalydès
Costumes, Christian Lacroix

Fortunio, Joseph Kaiser
Jacqueline, Virginie Pochon
Maître André, Jean-Marie Frémeau
Clavaroche, Jean-Sébastien Bou
Landry, Jean-François Lapointe
Lieutenant d’Azincourt, Philippe Talbot
Lieutenant de Verbois, Jean Teitgen
Madelon, Sarah Jouffroy
Maître Subtil, Jérôme Varnier
Guillaume, Eric Martin-Bonnet
Gertrude, Clémentine Margaine
Chœur les éléments
Orchestre de Paris

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