Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Julie" parigina al teatro Athénée

So I was at the prima of "Julie" last Friday, January 8. I am still going soft about the beauty and charm of the tiny cutie Athénée theater. If you're in Paris for more than a weekend, that's definitely one of those improbable addresses where you can taste some of the genuine French, Parisian charm.

The show -as expected- suffered from comparison with the knockout production I posted about  the other day [also available on DVD]. It isn't as good because the cast is not up to par and because not enough financial resources have not been put in to set the stage up. It was nevertheless a good show.

Was a pleasure to see Philippe Boesmans (composer) to show up at the curtain call. As for the singers, Agnieszka Slawinska, a young Polish soprano, stands out. Her two costars were OK too.

This production adds to a diversity of cultural offer in Paris these days (this season is  baroque-baroque-...-baroque, in addition to the sub-zeffirellian operatic abominations at the Paris Opera!), so I'm more than happy that Julie found its way to the program of this pretty little theater. Look at it from the outside:

What about the staging? Matthew Jocelyn followed very closely the Luc Bondy production, which was a winning formula. He did introduce a few changes which were clever and interesting. It is clear, however, that his job was very much constrained by the lack of sponsors which reflected in shabby decors smelling amateurishness.

The orchestra was much better than I expected it to be. They managed to produce that alchemy which makes this music so special: it creeps in the storyline and the action on the stage, to eventually rise above it. What lacked though, was some more convincing acting. For example, you couldn't feel that dramatic swing which so brilliantly separates the atmosphere before and after that night in which Julie made love with Jean.
Vocally, Alexander Knop was a tad insufficient, Carolina Bruck-Santos had some tough moment to cover all the facets of that very difficult role of Julie. Even though a comparison with Malena Ernman is more than cruel, I am for one grateful to Carolina for her courage and her stamina to make Julie sound and look credible. Agnieszka Slawinska, as I said, was excellent as Kristin.

Took some blurry pics with my crappy camera (I ordered a new one!) For what it's worth, in the above pic you see Alexander Knop (Jean), Carolina Bruck-Santos (Julie), Philippe Boesmans (composer), Matthey Jocelyn (director),  Agnieszka Slawinska (Kristin), and Jean-Paul Dessy (conductor).

Ah yes, here is one pic inside the theater.

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