Although Act 1 finds Mr. Marelli bringing out the story’s charm, while paying close attention to the innkeeper Lisa, who had hoped to win Elvino for herself, one gets the impression that in Act 2 he got tired of taking “La Sonnambula” seriously.
For Amina’s ecstatic “Ah! non giunge,” sung at the end after all is resolved, Ms. Dessay suddenly appears in a red gown, comes to the footlights and sings in front of a backdrop resembling the trompe l’oeil curtain of the Palais Garnier. This operatic moment points up that, splendid though Ms. Dessay’s singing is, others have brought more vocal brilliance to this dazzling moment. Limpid melodies are more her thing.
Ms. Dessay is happily partnered with the tenor Javier Camarena, who as Elvino sings with handsome, well-modulated tone and arresting dynamic shading. He delivered only one verse of his cabaletta “Ah! perchè non posso odiarti,” but ended it with a loud interpolated high note, as if that compensated the omission.
The suave baritone Michele Pertusi finds the nostalgic essence of Count Rodolfo’s aria “Vi ravviso,” and Marie-Adeline Henry offers a perky, vibrantly sung Lisa. Evelino Pidò is an able conductor, whom singers apparently like because he lets them do pretty much what they want. Among the cuts he sanctions is the charming chorus at the start of Act 2.
Paris offers so many opportunities to hear 17th- and 18th-century operas played on period instruments that you might expect the Opéra’s modern-instrument orchestra to cultivate big-boned Mozart performances in the manner of a Muti or a Levine.
For the current revival of Luc Bondy’s production of “Idomeneo” at the Palais Garnier, however, the early-music specialist Emmanuelle Haïm was engaged on expectations that she would bring period flair to the performance.
It was not to be. Just two days before the premiere, Ms. Haïm pulled out. As Le Monde put it, the Opéra orchestra has a reputation as a “killer of conductors.”
“This is a French phenomenon,” it added. “If a conductor is unacceptable to a German, British or American orchestra, the players will play as well as possible and be content not to have him invited back.”
Under the circumstances, it is understandable that the orchestral performance under the replacement conductor Philippe Hui fails to have much of a profile. Still, with Charles Workman in the title role of the Cretan king, Mozart’s great sacrificial drama manages to work its effect. The excellent soprano Tamar Iveri sings the jealous Elettra with iridescent tone and, in her final rage aria, riveting excitement.
Vesselina Kasarova is always a pleasure to encounter in any trouser role, here as Idomeneo’s son Idamante. Isabel Bayrakdarian, though her voice sometimes sounds wiry, also makes an impression as the Trojan princess Ilia.
Mr. Bondy’s somber production, set on the desolate beach of Erich Wonder’s décor, with murky images of stormy skies and seas, makes important moments tell, like the recognition scene for Idomeneo and Idamante. It also brings home the devastation Idomeneo causes his subjects by failing to fulfill his vow to Neptune and sacrifice his son.
Yet amidst the rejoicing at the end, a thunderstorm gratuitously breaks out, the chorus runs off and the music fades away. The effect is sophomoric, in much the same way that the close of Mr. Bondy’s “Tosca” is for the Metropolitan Opera, when the heroine, jumping to her death, is seen suspended in midair.
La Sonnambula. Directed by Marco Arturo Marelli. Opéra National de Paris, Opéra Bastille.
Idomeneo. Directed by Luc Bondy. Opéra National de Paris, Palais Garnier.Continue reading the main story
Странно, - удивленно заметил Смит. - Обычно травматическая капсула не убивает так. Иногда даже, если жертва внушительной комплекции, она не убивает вовсе. - У него было больное сердце, - сказал Фонтейн. Смит поднял брови.