The most notable of all PÈricholes of Offenbach’s sentimental operetta is surely the legendary Hortense Schneider who created the role back in 1868 at Paris’ ThÈ‚tre des VarietÈs. Alas there is no digital record.
A splendid 1997 provincial production of Tchaikovsky’s take on Pushkin’s Bryonic hero found its way onto a major ProvenÁal stage just now. The historic OpÈra Municipal de Marseille possesses a remarkable acoustic that allowed the Pushkin verses to flow magically through Tchaikovsky’s ebullient score.
We sat, bewildered, all of us, watching (enduring) Gounod’s sweet little tear jerker as a nasty drug trip. Except for the Australian Marguerite it was an all French cast and they all gamely played along, the sophisticated verse of Offenbach’s librettists Jules Barbier and Michel CarrÈ clearly sailing out over an abrasive pit.
First mounted in 2015 at the OpÈra National de Bordeaux this splendid Don Carlo production took stage just now at the OpÈra de Marseille with a completely different cast and conductor. This Marseille edition achieved an artistic stature rarely found hereabouts, or anywhere.
There has been much reconstruction of Marseille’s magnificent Opera Municipal since it opened in 1787. Most recently a huge fire in 1919 provoked a major, five-year renovation of the hall and stage that reopened in 1924.
Napoleon I (Bonaparte) was known as the Aigle (eagle), his son by Marie Louise (of the Hapsburgs) later became called the Aiglon (eaglet). At birth he was dubbed the King of Rome by his father. Unofficially and very briefly he was Napoleon II. Exiled in Austria he was officially titled the Duke of Reichstadt and the Prince of Parma.
There were hints that L’elisir is one of the great bel canto masterpieces.
A handsome new production, beautifully staged in Marseille’s fine old opera house cried out for a cast to make the opera bel canto.
Marseille woke up this past January 11 stunned to find itself number two on the New York Times list of 46 places you should visit in 2013 (Rio was number one, Paris just made the list at number 46).