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18.1.06

Love for Three Oranges in Paris

Other Reviews:

Caroline Alexander, L’Amour des trois oranges: Féerie burlesque pour petits et grands (Webthea, December 14)

Simon Corley, Des oranges pour Noël (ConcertNet.com, December 4)

Placido Carreroti, Oranges Mécaniques (ForumOpera, December 21)
I love Prokofiev's Love for Three Oranges, which was produced this past summer by De Nederlandse Opera. Well, the Opéra national de Paris mounted a new production last month, conducted by Sylvain Cambreling. This opera has been staged in Paris only once before, at its tardy Paris premiere in 1983. Marie-Aude Roux was there to review it (Pour Noël, l'Opéra-Bastille offre les "trois oranges" de Prokofiev, December 3) for Le Monde (my translation):
[The timing of this production] puts it in the category of New Year's celebrations. As that, it was a success and finally gets us away from Lehar and Offenbach, from the merry widows and the other vies parisiennes. [...] According to the memoir of Solomon Volkov, Shostakovich allegedly said, "Some say that The Love of Three Oranges is a satircal opera. For my part, I get bored when I listed to The Love of Three Oranges." Still, we were not bored, on this Thursday, December 1, at the Opéra-Bastille. We were not bored because we took a chance on going back to childhood, the time of a tender and cruel fairy tale. About this prince who could be cured of his hypochondria only by laughter and who, victim of the curse of the sorceress Fata Morgana, must go in search of the three oranges and, so doing, will fall in love with Princess Ninette. We were not bored because Gilbert Deflo's staging, effective and without pretention except for the divertissement, married with undeniable skill the slapstick of commedia dell'arte, the lights of music theater, and the stunts of the circus.
Naturally, they used the original language, French, as stipulated by Prokofiev for the opera's Chicago premiere in 1921. Roux found Cambreling's conducting uninspired.

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