Traviata – Vous méritez un avenir meilleur is a theatre piece that combines elements of Verdi’s La Traviata with elements of the source material for it; Dumas fils’ La Dame aux camélias (both the novel and the play). There is also some newly written and composed material. The creators; Benjamin Lazar (director), Florent Hubert (arrangements and musical direction) and Judith Chemla (who sings Violetta) aimed to create a work that goes further than the source material in exploring the inner psychology of the main character.
Malmö might not seem the most obvious place to record Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande but in 2016 the opera there assembled a mostly French cast and two young French rising stars; Maxime Pascal as conductor and Benjamin Lazar as director. The result is interesting, rather good and very French.
The works of the French baroque are a rather specialized taste. Some people love them, some not so much. There are also strong views on performance style. Some people favour an essentially modern treatment as in Robert Carsen’s Paris Garnier production of Rameau’s Les Boréades. Others are fans of the fantasy baroque approach taken by the likes of Opera Atelier. I’ve seen good examples of both approaches. What I haven’t seen before is a rigorous attempt to recreate a 17th century staging complete with period appropriate scenery and stage effects. In 2008 such an attempt was made at the Théâtre de l’Opéra Comique in Paris. The work involved was the first true opera in French; Lully’s Cadmus et Hermione. The results are very interesting.