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18.9.04

New Opera Films

Jacques Doucelin's article (Un festival de films d'opéras, September 3) in Le Figaro covers a film festival in Paris that is right up my alley. The Archipel will be hosting a festival of opera films, Musique et Cinéma avec le Théâtre français de la Musique, from September 24 to 26.

Along with Offenbach's La Péricole and Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro—remarkably directed by Pierre Jourdan (of the Théâtre impérial de Compiègne) with the assistance of Eric-Emmanuel Schmidt, author of the spoken dialogue—these are rarities offered to the public, like L'Education manquée by Chabrier and Milhaud, Bizet's La Jolie Fille de Perth, and Meyerbeer's Dinorah ou le Pardon de Ploërmel. The same number of productions filmed after having triumphed on the stage of the Théâtre impérial as at Covent Garden in London.

As a prelude to this brilliant series, you can see and hear, on the 24th, a recital by our national baritone, Gabriel Bacquier, pillar of the Opéra de Paris and of the Festival d'Aix, who has become a prodigious teacher. Young singers will also have a place at the Archipel. So, they will give carte blanche, on Sunday afternoon, to coloratura soprano Isabelle Philippe, a math student converted to bel canto, discovered by Pierre Jourdan, who gave her her break by entrusting to her the title role of Meyerbeer's Dinorah.
What forgotten operas will the Théâtre impérial produce in their new season? Georges Bizet and Fromental Halévy's Noé, a work that has never been fully staged until now; Daniel Auber's Haÿdée, the latest in Jourdan's rediscovery of Auber's operas; and Charles VI by Halévy, who will have an anniversary year in 2005. Jourdan's formula is admirably simple: a combination of noncanonic operas and the most talented young singers.

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