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23.1.05

Opera Lafayette

The people sitting next to me at the concert of Les Violons du Roy Friday night (see my review) were speaking French to one another. Eavesdropping on French conversations, although terribly rude, is one of my favorite activities. At intermission, the man struck up a conversation by asking about why I was taking notes in my moleskine, and we chatted about Baroque music. It turns out that his wife, Marie-Hélène Forget, is Executive Director of Opera Lafayette, the group here in Washington dedicated to opera of the 17th and 18th centuries, which is right up my alley, as you can imagine. For their tenth anniversary season (the group was founded as The Violins of Lafayette in 1995), they will be presenting Jean-Baptiste Lully's pastorale heroïque Acis et Galatée on February 20, so mark your calendars. (They last presented this work in 2000, with Handel's Acis and Galatea.) The cast will include tenor Howard Crook, bass-baritone Bernard Deletré, and soprano Gaële LeRoi. Catherine Turocy's New York Baroque Dance Company will provide the ballet, and The Violins of Lafayette, under Ryan Brown, will play the music.

Also on the program this year is the very exciting American premiere of the last opera by Antonio Sacchini (1730–1786), the tragedy Oedipe à Colone (premiered at Versailles in 1786), based on the second play of the Oedipus trilogy by Sophocles. (I have done some work on Sacchini's Armida, from 1772.) The cast will feature tenor Robert Getchell, bass-baritone François Loup, and soprano Nathalie Paulin. Both of these staged productions will take place at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park. It means a trip to the suburbs, but I'll be there.

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