Abstracting the Dutchman

Olivier Py’s production of Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer, filmed at the Theater an der Wien in 2015, is quite unusual.  Usually opera productions either play the story more or less straight or work with a concept of the director’s that is not obviously contained in the libretto.  Py doesn’t rally do either of these.  What he does is present the narrative as Wagner wrote it but with visuals that act as a sort of commentary on, rather than a literal depiction of, the action being described.  One of the things this does is make the viewer realise just how much Wagner is describing!  There is much more tell than show.

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All star Carmélites

The 2013 recording of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites from the Théâtre des Champs Elysées has a cast that reads like a roll call of famous French singers; Petitbon, Piau, Gens and Koch are all there.  Throw in Rosalind Plowright and Topi Lehtipuu and one gets some idea of the star power on display.

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