Music and Vision homepage 'Elgar and Chivalry' by Robert Anderson - available now from Elgar.org

 

<<  -- 2 --  Robert Anderson    HIGH JINKS

-------------------------------

I could not be more grateful to Rameau. Whether he envisaged gratitude of this nature is beside the point. In 1760 Les Paladins was a flop; in 21st-century terms it must be considered no succès d'estime, not even a succès de scandale, just a magnificent succès fou. The setting is Venice, and Stéphanie d'Oustrac as the heroine Argie is locked in for future enjoyment by her jealous guardian, Anselm. The gaoler Orcan (Laurent Naouri) is coward and buffoon, asking to be outwitted by Argie's companion, the Nérine of Sandrine Piau. The women are hellbent on escape, while Orcan blusters his opposition [listen -- 'Argie! ... hola! ... Nérine! où portez-vous vos pas?' (Act 1), DVD1 track 4, 0:00-1:12].

Stéfanie d'Oustrac (Argie, left) and Topi Lehtipuu (Atis, right) against a backdrop of white rabbits. DVD screenshot © 2005 Opus Arte
Stéfanie d'Oustrac (Argie, left) and Topi Lehtipuu (Atis, right) against a backdrop of white rabbits. DVD screenshot © 2005 Opus Arte

The knightly hero (that's what a 'paladin' used to be) comes disguised as a pilgrim and is as ready for pantomime as the rest of the cast. The touching duet between the Atis of Topi Lehtipuu and Argie is watched by a regiment of white rabbits, growing ever larger beyond the imagination of even a Lewis Carroll. The symbolism is beyond me, but that matters as little as most extravagances in this staging by José Montalvo. Rameau tries his best [listen -- Duo: 'Vous m'aimez?' (Act 1), DVD1 track 16, 0:00-1:18]. Rapture cannot survive the arrival of René Schirrer's Anselm, whose role is to be everyone's butt. Argie faces eternal imprisonment [listen -- 'Que-vois-je? est-ce lui qui s'avance?' (Act 2), DVD1 track 29, 0:00-0:50].

Continue >>

Copyright © 1 February 2006 Robert Anderson, London UK

-------

 << Music & Vision home      Recent DVD reviews       Orfeo >>

Download a free realplayer 

For help listening to the sound extracts here,
please refer to our questions & answers page.

 

Is your news listed at Music and Vision?