Gentle Death, I embrace you

1.urbainIt’s 1990 and Dame Joan Sutherland is retiring.  Australian Opera decide to stage Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots as a farewell gala.  In some ways it’s an odd choice as the Sutherland character, Marguerite de Valois, only appears in two of the five acts of an opera that’s rather long despite cuts.  Still, as a vehicle for an ageing coloratura it’s not a bad choice.  The production is by Lotfi Mansouri so there is nothing to get in the way of the plot and, by the same token, nothing much to think about.  It’s also, equally characteristically, quite dark in places.  Everything then rests on the performances.  Continue reading