Alceste in Munich

I really wonder why Gluck’s Alceste gets as many productions as it does.  The plot is essentially dull (summarised in this review) and I really can’t see an angle that could be used to make it interesting and relevant to today’s audience in the way that one can with such classical stories as Antigone,  Medea or Idomeneo.  The music, bar a handful of numbers, is not very exciting either.

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A serious take on Les Indes galantes

I’m not really sure that it’s a good idea to take Rameau too seriously, especially a work like Les Indes galantes but that’s what Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui does in his production for the 2016 Münchner Opernfestspiel.  As written, the piece has five separate parts; an allegorical prelude and four scènes, each telling a love story in an “exotic” setting; Turkey, Peru, Persia, among les sauvages of North America.  It’s a spectacle but it uses the exotic settings to poke fun at certain aspects of Western culture in Rameau’s usual irreverent way.  There’s no linking narrative and the characters in each scène (the goddesses Amour and Bellona aside) only appear once.

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