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2.12.10

Giorgio Strehler's 'Figaro' Rises Again

As mentioned in brief a few weeks ago, Nicolas Joël immediately set out to undo one of the assassinations attempted by Gerard Mortier, his predecessor at the Opéra national de Paris. It involved the reconstruction of a long-beloved production of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, directed by Giorgio Strehler first at Versailles in 1973, which Mortier shelved, ordering the sets to be destroyed and costumes sent off to a historical collection. The sets and most of the costumes had to be recreated from photographs and the memories of those who worked on the production or one of its many revivals. Now the news has arrived that Medici.tv has made an online broadcast of the Paris revival earlier this year available on its Web site (through December 31). Philippe Jordan conducts a cast that includes Ludovic Tézier and Barbara Frittoli (rather than Dorothea Röschmann) as the Count and Countess, Ekaterina Siurina and Luca Pisaroni (rather than Erwin Schrott) as Susanna and Figaro, and Karine Deshayes (rather than Isabel Leonard) as Cherubino. An excerpt is embedded below.

5 comments:

jfl said...

What an indictment of creativity. On every level. Yikes.

Charles T. Downey said...

On the other hand, Mortier progressive, Joël retrogressive is perhaps too simple a way to see it. Is it right to send a good production to the shredder, as Mortier did (in an intentionally nasty way, too), only because it is old and a classic favorite with an audience or in the name of creativity? Just recycling tired, old productions out of laziness is one thing, but I don't think that was the case here. Joël directed or sponsored many interesting new productions in Toulouse, and the fact that he has at least some respect for the company's traditions or an eye toward history is not a sign of creative weakness. After years of having Mortier's middle finger repeatedly jabbed in their eyes (as in the Christoph Martaler Figaro that he brought to Paris), Parisians probably feel relieved.

jfl said...

Maybe it's intended as a tonic. Maybe it's needed. And am I not saying that a conservative production is inherently an indictment of creativity. But what they are doing here is a game of make-pretend. They're not reviving a production, they're reviving a feeling... a stage set and costumes... and guesswork about the direction, at best.

It's like saying that the actual direction, the Personenregie, the blocking, the dramatization etc. doesn't really matter; that it really *is* only about pretty costumes and inoffensive backdrops. In a way it cheapens Strehler's production (which, admittedly, I've never seen except now, on the medici.tv video) by reducing it to something superficial. At least call it the "Giorgio Strehler Memorial Prodution".

jfl said...

(All that generously trying to ignore how awful the production's acting is. I wonder if Schrott/Roeschmann were able to salvage that.)

Charles T. Downey said...

Absolutely agreed. And, yes, would have preferred some of the other cast for the broadcast.