Mstation Classical Reviews

Valid RSS pre Dec 04 reviews are here

Mon, 20 Dec 2004

Berlioz, Les Troyens

Choeur di Theatre du Chatelet
Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre Revolutionaire et Romantique
Sir John Eliot Gardiner
3 DVD's, BBC Opus Arte

But wait there's more! That's hardly an appropriatre marketing
come-on for classical DVD's but it certainly seems appropriate
here. To start with there's the awesome volume of 3 DVD's and
in addition to the performance itself, we have a cast gallery,
a synopsis, a documentary, and interviews with the main production
protagonists. In addition to all of that, it has "true surround
sound" as well as superior quality sound and vision. 

Les Troyens (The Trojans) is generally regarded as representing
pretty much all that Berlioz ever learnt. It has ballet and
divertisments as well as the opera itself. The form might have
thoughts of the Baroque but it is only the form. Berlioz was
a Romantic through and through. In poetry, Shakespeare was his
ideal, and in music, Beethoven. He was extremely inventive and
even got his friend, Adolphe Sax, to build new instruments for
his pieces.

This opera came about through his friendship with Liszt and was
completed after a little blackmail from Liszt's mistress, Princess
Carolyn Sayn-Wittgenstein, in 1858. Unfortunately, it is such a
major (and expensive to produce) opera, that it was not
performed in full until 1890 in Karlsruhe, and it is only now
that it is entering the opera house repertoire.

The staging won a prize in 2003 from the Syndicat du Critique
Musicale ... which means it's a modern staging. Sompe people
will like that more than others, but it is a very worthwhile
production of something you're unlikely to see outside the
world centers for opera.
(Count K)

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