Thursday, July 8, 2010

Nightingale in Aix 2010: Une grosse tarte japonaise :)

Pretty music by Stravinsky --superbly played by the orchestra of the Lyon National Opera and conducted by always reliable maestro Kazushi Ono-- and the string of wonderful singers compensated a theatrical void staged in a Disney-World like fashion by Robert Lepage.

Nabil Suliman and Olga Peretyatko

You can see this ~50 minute long opera on Arte Live Web for free. Fast forward to about 100th minute when The Nightingale actually begins and enjoy.
In my humble opinion, what precedes this opera is far more interesting than The Nightingale itself. It's a selection of Russian songs that Stravinsky adapted for voice and orchestra, as well as the original songs he composed, all inspired by the Russian fairy tales. In that part Lepage too does a nice job by visualizing the stories by quickly mounting a shadow-theater. Only the last songs were spoiled by the excessive artistic gymnasts' performance in the same shadow theater...
The Nightingale is a letdown. It could be far more subtle than a trivial series of overwhelming images from Disney World. If you saw It's a small World either in Orlando or in Paris, you'll know where the director searched for inspiration to stage this show. I wouldn't mind it from the get go if there was something more profound to be conveyed to the public, or there was some higher goal in this production except to impress the lazy public (and the opera-critique!) by colorful images. If you saw something that escaped my attention, please do comment to enlighten Yours Truly!

The scene of the death enveloping the Emperor looks like a fragment (weak copy) of the cleverly staged Le Grand Macabre by La Fura dels Baus.
However, a wonderful orchestra and sensationally good singers save the show. Olga Peretyatko was complaining about a very bad case of sore throat, but she and Edgaras Montvidas were absolutely brilliant. I can only imagine what it would sound like if Olya was 100% fit... Elena Semenova, Svetlana Shilova, and Nabil Suliman were excellent too. A huge bravo to all of them!

Word of advice: open this in an extra-tab and let it play in the background.  You'll listen to excellent musicians without being distracted by the Lepage's tart ;) 

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