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16.7.13

'Dutchman' at Les Chorégies d'Orange

Wagner has been a hard sell at Les Chorégies d'Orange, not programmed at the festival in the Roman amphitheater of Orange since the Ring cycle in 1988. Even in this double-centenary year, the second performance of this season's Flying Dutchman had to be canceled because of low ticket sales, while Verdi (Il Ballo in Maschera this year) continues to be ever popular. Marie-Aude Roux saw the Wagner (A Orange, un vaisseau fantôme accoste en beauté, July 16) for Le Monde (my translation):
As a regular at the festival, the director Charles Roubaud knows the Théâtre Antique like the back of his hand. He has understood for some time that to play it clever would do nothing to alter the constraints of his gigantic space. The idea of an enormous prow of a sunken ship, whose bow has broken up the soil, is arresting. In the same way the three long ropes, falling from the top of the wall are used to evoke the boat of the Norwegian captain Daland. A video backdrop of the sea alternately agitates or calms the waves at the will of the dramaturgy and the music. A very beautiful closing image, which carries off Senta in a final and furious tidal wave, while the phantom ship raises up a skull flag. [...]

Mikko Franck is expected at the podium of his future Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, where he will succeed the Korean conductor Myun-Whun Chung in September 2015. A successful traversal of the score for the young Finnish maestro, who conducted while seated but easily dominated a score in which Italian-like turns are sprinkled throughout what is not yet the "continuous melody" of the Wagnerian music drama.
Only the Dutchman of Egils Silins was a disappointment, physically right but without enough power or the lowest notes of the role, while the Senta of Ann Petersen was "an angel fallen from heaven." It doesn't look like this production will make it to Arte, but you can have a listen to it on the streaming audio from France Musique, the "second concert" after the performance of Bach cantatas by Collegium Vocale Gent (move the bar of the player to the right about one-third to advance to it).

SEE ALSO:
Christian Merlin, « Le Vaisseau fantôme » à bon port à Orange (Le Figaro, July 16)

Raphaël de Gubernatis, Chorégies d'Orange : ce mur a des oreilles (Le Nouvel Observateur, July 12)

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