Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Le Nozze di Figaro from Opéra Bastille on TV - "Pointless Nostalgic" (?)

I very much like Jamie Cullum, but this post is not about this kind of Pointless Nostalgic. It's about a (pointless?) nostalgic production of  Le Nozze di Figaro that will be (almost) live TV-broadcast from Opéra Bastille tonight, Wednesday - November 3rd, at 20:35 (cet) on France3.

It is a revival of the 37 years old production by Giorgio Strehler, which had been thrown out ~10 years ago, replaced by a new production mounted by Christophe Marthaler,  that in turn is now being replaced by this revamped ancient show -- even though its creator is RIP [decors recovered from its debris hidden in the dumpsters of La Scala!]  This move by the new artistic direction of the Paris Opera is now very much debated in France: praised by ones and criticized by others. 

Deshayes, Frittoli and Siurina [all photos are © Fred Toulet].
In any case the cast is good: Ludovic Tézier (Il Conte di Almaviva), Barbara Frittoli (La Contessa), Ekaterina Siurina (Susanna), Luca Pisaroni (Figaro), Karine Deshayes (Cherubino), Ann Murray (Marcellina), Robert Lloyd (Bartolo), Robin Leggate (Don Basilio), Maria Virginia Savastano (Barbarina), and the conductor is Philippe Jordan.

More production photos and "Voi che sapete"-video as an avant-gout are appended below.


  1. The costumes are exquisite from what I can tell from these videos from France3. Was the previous production that one where all the action took place in a Bridal Salon?

    Maybe the media is trying to tell France that nothing is changing, see...things are just like 20 years ago, same old Figaro, same old France...:)

  2. That's actually a very good point! I always think that, in general, the operagoers who are opposed to more modern or innovative productions implicitly cry to keep the things the way they were when they were young.

    That the Paris Opera artistic direction reanimated this production to make a similar statement about France - that's very plausible!

  3. The ROH has come in for a lot of criticism for reviving their 1994 production of Romeo et Juliette by your favourite Intendant, Nicolas Joel. However, in these times of budgetary pressure can opera houses justify restaging repertory opera every 10 years?

    I welcome innovative productions, and I can recall my young opera days nearly 50 years ago when Covent Garden still showed their original La Boheme from 1898.

    I suspect the costs of remounting the Strehler Figaro would be not far off a new one, as they admitted the original sets had been dumped in a skip years ago.

    As you say this is really a political statement.

  4. Bad news: the opera broadcast got only a pathetic 3.3% share of the audience last night.
    Good news: Holy Cow! The opera got a 3.3% share of the audience! That's 756,000 people! The entire audience last season for both Garnier and Bastille was only 800,000. The magazine Le Point points out that the opera would have to do 279 Bastille performances of that opera to accommodate that many people

  5. Hi John! The situation here is worse because this ancient production was already dumped and there was a new one created. In other words money's been spent in recreating the past -- which is what I find artistically and culturally counterproductive.

    Hi figarosi and welcome ;)
    3.3% is not bad for an opera I think, but to me the point of Le Point is beside the point (ha!) If the purpose is ratings, than filling up the theaters would be senseless and we could as well produce operas on TV, with all the TV-gimmicks targeting the TV-viewers only.

    I guess and hope this broadcast is meant as a bait or incentive to make more folks go and see opera in their local opera houses.

  6. 3,3% of share is a very good indeed, but I don't believe that public tv must care about audimat results. I have been very happy to see this production on tv, it looked even betten than 30 years ago, certainly it deserved to be performed once more. A pity that Marcellina's and Basilio's arias had ben cut. Good production, good musicians and singers.