Thursday, April 26, 2012

Orlando from La Monnaie on Mezzo TV

Hope you all enjoyed this Orlando on Mezzo TV as much as I did. Brussels is really a miracle on the operatic map of Europe. Despite financial difficulties, they keep making the best shows in the world. Scenically this is not their best show but its musical content is absolutely splendid.
Yes, this is my favorite Handel opera!

Contrary to his Orlando Furioso last year in Paris, for his Orlando in Brussels --that was premiered only a week ago-- Pierre Audi did have a guiding idea, practically defined at the beginning of the show,  and it actually works well* [So even Audi's tired style gets better when staged at La Monnaie/De Munt.] The only problem is the snail pace of the dramatic action but thankfully the soloists are very engaging in incarnating their respective roles that eventually made the evening a passionate experience. The sets and costumes by Christof Hetzer definitely help supporting the overall atmosphere too (Hetzer usually works with David Hermann).

Bejun Mehta is incredible. That power, that sheer beauty of human voice, mixed with uncommon dexterity, elegance and expressiveness... there must've been a divine touch involved somewhere in the process...  His Fammi combattere sounds as good as on recording (highly recommendable btw; see also video below) and every aria is an event on its own [Gia Latra Cerbere divine!]

Sunhae Im  and Sophie Karthäuser add to to the overall beauty by their expressive and delicate singing. Konstantin Wolff's warm bass breaks the symmetry of high voices and helps Kristina Hammarström's broad mezzo establishing some kind of vocal equilibrium on the stage.

5 truly magnificent singers!

The show will be streamed on La Monnaie website starting from May 12 and it will be available during three weeks. If you're in the mood for something delicately sung and acted then do give this Orlando a try. Theatrically it is nowhere near  the show I saw at the Komische, but it has other qualities that definitely whirl you in this subtle fire only 15 minutes after the beginning of the show.

I understood that initially René Jacobs  was supposed to come to La Monnaie with the Freiburger Barockorchester but due to budget cuts the organizers had to opt for a young baroque orchestra B'Rock  -- obviously much less known than the famous crew from Freiburg, but René made them sound terrific. Bravi!

(*) I won't pass you the guiding idea because the snail pace of the dramatic action would not be enough to sustain your attention on May 12; I'd rather pass you my love for this intelligent opera.


  1. Couldn't have said it better ! :)

  2. but the la monnaie orlando stream is not available, and it is 14.may already. Or i cant see it anywhere on the web.
    could you please put here a link if you know where to watch it?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Great initiative of La Monnaie to stream this. I so wanted to see this production but was unable to do so because of other commitments. Bejun Mehta certainly did not disappoint (and beautifully sung by everyone else, too).