Olivier Py réinvente Carmen

Nietzsche’s favorite opera. An “indecent” version.

Olivier Py, ancien directeur du théâtre de l’Odéon, met ici en scène une Carmen contemporaine et parisienne à l’opéra de Lyon. L’audace a déconcerté lors de la première, mais rien d’inhabituel pour la bohémienne, censurée dès 1875 pour « indécence » lors de sa présentation par Bizet. On s’accorde sur la mise en scène flamboyante, pensée par le scénographe Pierre-André Weitz, qui s’appuie la volonté d’Olivier Py de simplifier le livret, en se débarrassant du parlé. Passer d’opéra comique à opéra, c’est se défaire d’un adjectif qui ne seyait que peu à Carmen.

Stream here.

Met In HD: Aida (A Quick Reaction)

Just a quick note on today’s broadcast of Aida from the Met: it was good but not great (wife nods in agreement). No, it was not due to the lack of elephants, though the three main characters were admittedly quite large. I am not against opera body types by any means, I’m all for voluptuousness and vastness, it’s just that this particular casting decision had often brought unnecessary attention to the singers’ physical proportions (and camera angles often did not help but only accentuate certain features). All throughout this long (even if very tuneful) opera I couldn’t help but think about how there must be a book about it somewhere, a book that looks at the size of operatic personnel and analyzes its ups and downs. (And then there’s Deborah Voigt’s dismissal from Royal Opera House in 2004 for being too fat – makes you think…)

The performance was quite solid, I think, and it’s almost impossible to screw up Aida, especially in such a traditional production with all that gold and Egyptian costumes stuff everywhere. I think everyone sang quite beautifully, but then again I’m no expert and as soon as I hear a familiar tune, I’m quite satisfied (unless the singer gets of rhythm or screws up a note here and there which often happened to the high priest fellow).