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).

Met in HD: Aida (10/24)

After the horrible reviews of what looked like a fiasco of Tosca (with Karita Mattila), I didn’t go to the opening broadcast of this season’s Met in HD series. The second opera in the program – Aida – looks like a good place to start this year. The broadcast is this Saturday, October 24th (check your local listings, as they say, over here). Tickets are here. Continue reading

I Like My Physics Like I Like My Opera.

Weird, that is. I saw this in SEED:

Since writing a bestselling book on her fascinating and complex extra-dimensional theory of the universe, Harvard physicist Lisa Randall has been busy re-imagining it as an appropriately cerebral art form—opera. After three years of development, Hypermusic Prologue: A Projective Opera in Seven Planes premiered at Paris’s prestigious Centre Pompidou in June and, like Randall’s book Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions, it manages to translate the impenetrable world of theoretical physics into something that not only appeals to scientists, but to anyone willing to look beyond the obvious for clues about the nature of reality.

Spanish composer Hèctor Parra, 33, first saw artistic potential in Randall’s ideas after reading Warped Passages, which uses plain language to describe how hidden dimensions may explain some of physics’ greatest quandaries—such as why the gravitational force is so weak. When the book was released in Europe in 2006, Parra met up with Randall in Berlin to ask her to write a libretto based on her work. Randall admits she was “a little uncomfortable focusing so much on the physics,” she says, because she didn’t want to alienate the audience. “But I did see that the exploration of an extra dimension could be very nice as a metaphor. It seemed exciting.”

I remember seeing something about it, and here I found some YouTube clips (not of the opera, but of the making of it) – the only question now is how do I get to Luxemburg or Brussels to see it: Continue reading