<< -- 2 -- Robert Anderson A PARISIAN DISCO?
The Prologue despairs of Europe. It has become far too belligerent, as its young men now
prefer battle to love. Bellona, Roman goddess of war, eggs them on, and it is here that
Andrei Serban as stage director first declares with emphasis that every drop of comic juice
is to be extracted from Rameau's opéra-ballet. The composer made Bellona a bass
as somewhat masculine sister to Mars. João Fernandes sings her with conviction despite a
bedraggled carrot wig and skirt of ludicrous brevity
[listen -- 'La Gloire vous appelle: écoutez ses trompettes!',
DVD1, Prologue, chapter 8, 0:00-1:25].
The lightly-moustached Cupid of Valérie Gabail has abandoned hope for his home continent,
and urges his minions to range far afield, where maybe true love can be found
[listen -- 'Ranimez vos flambeaux, remplissez vos carquois',
DVD1, Prologue, chapter 14, 0:00-1:21].
A scene from 'Les Indes galantes'. Photo © Cosimo Mirco Magliocca
Rameau's command of orchestral effects is more than ready for the wildest storm or
most eruptive volcano. The first entrée is set on an island in the Indian
Ocean where a generous Turk, based according to the librettist on a contemporary Grand
Vizier, surrenders his European beloved to her compatriot conveniently washed up after
shipwreck. Nicolas Cavallier as Osman makes a splendid case for Turkey's entry to the
European Union as he dispenses sweet reasonableness beside a wandering minaret. The Emilie
of Anna Maria Panzarella vividly heralds the storm
[listen -- 'La nuit couvre les cieux!',
DVD1, Première entrée, chapter 2, 0:00-1:31]. Equally effective is the
Peruvian earthquake of the second entrée, as the chorus bewails the torments
of the earth's guts
[listen -- 'Tremblement de terre -- Dans les abîmes de la terre',
DVD1, Deuxième entrée, chapter 13, 0:00-1:22].
Copyright © 7 September 2005
Robert Anderson, London UK