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Chabrier, L'Etoile

Emmanuel Chabrier, L'Étoile, L'Opéra de MontréalI try to focus on the rare and strange in my Opera Preview, and it reminds me to look for reviews of operatic oddities around the world. That was the case with the production of Emmanuel Chabrier's little-known opera L'Étoile (borrowed from the 2001 version at Glimmerglass and New York City Opera) at L'Opéra de Montréal, from November 5 to 17, which I would have loved to have heard. There were some reviews, beginning with Jim Lowe (Montréal Opera's 'L'Étoile' is a sexy romp, November 10) for -- wait for it -- the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus:

Gilbert and Sullivan with sex and sophisticated music? In fact, Emmanuel Chabrier's comic operetta "L'Étoile" received one of its early runs at the famous G and S haunt, London's Savoy Theatre. L'Opéra de Montréal opened a charming and hilarious production of this sophisticated comedy Saturday at the Place des Arts' Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier. Employing excellent young Canadian singers — largely from Montreal — it benefited from stylish sets and costumes created jointly by Glimmerglass Opera and New York City Opera for their 2001 production.
Alan Conter's review (A light entertainment is in the stars, November 8) for the Toronto Globe and Mail was also positive:
At first you have to wonder what's with the current revival of Emmanuel Chabrier's silly 1877 operetta L'Étoile. It can't be the score. Pretty as it is, a half-hour after leaving the theatre you'd be hard-pressed to hum a few bars. So is the book funny enough that a good half-dozen North American companies are staging it through 2006? A closer look reveals that opera companies aren't banking on Chabrier at the box office. They're nuts about Mark Lamos's brilliantly whimsical interpretation of L'Étoile. Lamos collaborated with Andrew Lieberman (sets) and Constance Hoffman (costumes) to design the show in 2001 for the Glimmerglass Opera and the New York City Opera. It's a production that Eddy and Patsy of AbFab fame would swoon over -- a light political satire dressed up in a contemporary take on sixties excess. It is fabulous.
Watch for it when this production comes to an opera theater near you.


Princess Alpenrose said...

Uh, Charles?

If Vermont is good enough for former political advisor to Jimmy Carter Middlebury College President Olin Robison, fellow Midd alum and classmate Andrea Koppel (’85 Poli Sci/Chinese), her Dad/our class Commencement Speaker Ted Koppel, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Prairie Home Companion, the Emerson String Quartet, H.C. Robbins Landon, the Marlboro Music Festival [Richard Goode & Mitsuko Uchida, Artistic Directors!], the real-life Von Trapp Family Singers, Kirill Troussov & Alexandra Troussova, Julia Fischer (all three of whom just performed at Middlebury this Fall), Takasz, the Tallis Scholars, Paul Lewis (all of whom are performing at the College Spring ’06), the New England Bach Festival, Blanche Honnegger Moyse, Robert Frost and Aleksandr Solzhenitzn, just to mention a few, then

don’t you think Vermont (and the Barre-Montpelier Times-Argus) could be good enough for … wait for it …

Charles T. Downey said...

Obviously it's good enough for Ionarts, since I am quoting from it. I made that joke only because it is the first time, I believe, that I have ever quoted a review from that particular publication. That's all. I meant no slight to you or any other Middlebury alums or Vermontians.

I grew up in small-town Michigan, so I am only a transplant to the big-city east coast. I have never quoted any reviews from my hometown newspaper, but I would make a similar joke about it if I ever did.

Princess Alpenrose said...

oh, okay. sorry! [sometimes it's hard to tell in blog/print] : )

Michigan, you say. My brother went to Interlochen as a teen for piano. (Met a nice girl there, then they later met up again at Harvard, now she's my sister-in-law & mother of my 3 yr. old niece. At their wedding reception, they played 4-hands Brahms etc. in their tux/gown at the Harvard Club... All thanks to Interlochen!)

What's happening musically in Michigan these days? Is there someone blogging about music & arts there?

Charles T. Downey said...

There is blogging in Michigan. Fred Himebaugh, who blogs very entertainingly at The Fredösphere, is based in Ann Arbor.

Nice story about Interlochen. I've been there, too: it's a beautiful place.

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