Friday, 4 May 2012

Le Roi Malgre Lui

Despite never having seen a fully satisfying production, I've always been rather fond of Chabrier's Le Roi Malgre Lui. I first saw it in a modern re-working at Opera North; a lovely performance but the revised plot seemed to be no more sensible than the existing one. Then we saw it in Lyons where Laurent Pelly seemed to have no confidence in the piece at all and set it as a rehearsal including, in the glorious Barcarolle, some amazing dancing scenery which did nothing for Chabrier's music. Then Grange Park performed it in a production by Simon Callow which had its heart in the right place but didn't quite hit the target exactly.

So, those lucky people who are travelling to Annandale-on-Hudson in New York state this summer or to Wexford this autumn will have the delight of seeing the opera staged by Thaddeus Strassberger. The production is a co-production between the Wexford Festival and Bard SummerScape. In the USA the opera will be conducted by Leon Botstein and will use the composer's original 1887 version and the Bard revival is billed as the first staged revival of this version. Now I have to confess some ignorance here, so I have no idea of the significance of the 1887 version though the piece (rather like Bernstein's Candide) was both much admired and much tinkered with.

The Wexford site describes the production thus 'the production takes a rapturous ride through all things French, from Louis XVI’s glittering royal court at Versailles to the long sultry summers of St Tropez and the sophisticated night life of Monte Carlo in the 1960s.' Hmm...

Bard will also be performing a concert performance of Saint-Saens's rarely performed Henry VIII; last seen in Europe at Compiegne, I believe, in a production which found its way to the Liceu with Monserrat Caballe.

Wexford are doing Cilea's Arlesiana (memorably revived by Opera Holland Park a few years ago) and Delius's A Village Romeo and Juliet , plus Lennox Berkeley's A Dinner Engagement.  A nice programme indeed and certainly worth travelling to Ireland for.



No comments:

Post a comment

Popular Posts this month