Existence is futile

I think my good luck run with Offenbach just ran out.  I really didn’t enjoy the 1991 Opéra National de Lyon production of La Vie Parisienne.  The productions of La Belle Helène and Orphée aux Enfers which I reviewed last week were very much performances by operatic forces letting their hair down; comparable, perhaps, to ENO doing Gilbert and Sullivan. The Lyon La Vie Parisienne seems to come out of an entirely different performing tradition. Continue reading

Back to Offenbach

After the hours of discussion about what Lee Blakeney really meant in his COC Les Contes d’Hoffmann a little light relief seemed called for.  Fortuitously I had just got my hands on the 1997 Opéra National de Lyon recording of Offenbach’s Orphée aux Enfers so I thought that might do the trick.  I was dead right.  The production by Laurent Pelly is an absolute hoot (or, to quote young British mezzo, Emilie Renard “FILTHY!”).  The high speed, somewhat surreal production is brilliantly executed by a predominantly French cast including Natalie Dessay as Eurydice and Laurent Naouri as Jupiter.  There’s so much going on that it would be tedious to provide a full description.  Continue reading