Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel is a pretty weird opera. It’s a satire on Nicholas II’s performance as tsar written just after the disastrous 1905 war with Japan and due to entirely unsurprising trouble with the censors it wasn’t performed in the composer’s life time. As you may imagine, a production of it by Barrie Kosky doesn’t make it any less weird. Kosky’s production was recorded at Opéra de Lyon in May 2021 and there are still some COVID artefacts. The chorus, for instance, is masked. But mostly it feels like a “normal” production.
I guess many opera goers in the English speaking world will have at least a passing acquaintance with Bartok’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle but I suspect fewer will have seen Offenbach’s take on Perreault’s rather grim tale. It will probably come as no great surprise that Offenbach’s Barbe-bleue is a somewhat tongue in cheek version of the story of the notorious serial killer.
Shortly after their marriage in 1996 Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna appeared together in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore at Opéra de Lyon. At the time she was 31 and he was 33 so pretty much ideal for the roles. The production was directed by Frank Dunlop. It’s straightforward, set in the 1920s and essentially traditional though there are a few nice touches. It’s what the recent COC production might have been if the asinine attempts to be “relevant” had been ditched.
A co-production between the COC and Opéra de Lyon has just opened in France. It’s Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail with rewritten dialogues by Lebanese-Canadian-French playwright Wajdi Mouawad, who also directs. It can be watched online here. It’s geoblocked but you can use something like Tunnel Bear to watch it. There’s a very complete analysis of the production by Lydia Perovic over on her blog.