Thursday, March 11, 2010

Platée arrive chez vous (1)

Platée is an opera written by a French baroque composer, Jean-Philippe Rameau, who is unfortunately not as famous worldwide as he should be: we're talking about a pure genius.
Most of his operas are  recorded, each involving the prestigious conductors such as John Eliot Gardiner, William Christie, Marc Minkowski...  Over the past 10 years or so his work is attracting more and more interest and many opera houses in Europe start including in one of his operas in the programs.

The trouble in producing his operas is that they regularly contain a couple of "ballet" numbers --->  need more rehearsal time --> productions are more costly.

Back to Platée... It is an opera bouffe, with a far-fetched plot, like in most[all?] baroque operas, which --when properly staged-- can become wickedly funny. This was the case with a recent revival of the Laurent Pelly's production of Platée at the Paris Opera. That's a kind of productions Laurent Pelly knows how to do well. I saw it last December and I liked it a lot: it was funny [full of froggy/self-deprecating humor], fast paced, well constructed, very well performed by Les musiciens du Louvre  & Marc Minkowski, and brilliantly sung too (see here for details). 
The same production was already released on DVD, so if you want to give it a try, here is the Amazon link.

Whether you already know this opera or not, here is a video to admire Mireille Delunsch singing the famous aria of La Folie from Platée

The very same aria of La Folie in the Laurent Pelly's production looks like this: 


  1. That second clip was actually the first Rameau I ever came across, in the middle of a documentary on Gluckian reform opera, as an example of what it was that Gluck was trying to reform, bless him.

    Folly's aria remains a favourite - especially the concert version above - but all in all, I think I like Les Boréades* best. Act 4 of Zoroastre comes a close second, because there's nothing quite like a demon-worshipping lynch mob singing harmonies with Euclidian precision.

    All of which made me dig out my copy of the 2002 Christie recording on Erato; I'd almost forgotten how much of a badass Rameau really was. Thanks, Opera Cake!

    * The only full recording available on CD, I believe - featuring the late, great Philip Langridge.

  2. Thank you!

    I am still a newbie in this repertoire.

    I listened only to bits and pieces from Les Boréades but never really got through it all. Hopefully some good new production comes around ;)