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Among major delights of the production are the pink teddy bear lovingly clasped by Modestina, orphaned in the cause of Greek independence, and a splendid white horse that might draw a non-available carriage to Reims. The Baron von Trombonok of Vladislav Ouspenski is much concerned to mould the international factions of the cast into a harmonious whole [watch and listen -- chapter 10, 33:02-34:24]. The heroine of the piece, if such can exist in these riotous circumstances, is Irma Guigolachvili as the poetess Corinna, who emerges clad in the sort of sumptuous eiderdown I'd crave the loan of for any winter night. She sings enchantingly to the lovely harping on stage of Elena Vasilieva [watch and listen -- chapter 16, 44:39-45:53].

Stage flautist Aglaya Ulanova and Edouard Tsanga as Lord Sidney in front of members of the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra. Screenshot © 2005 Théâtre musical de Paris, Châtelet, and François Roussillon Associés
Stage flautist Aglaya Ulanova and Edouard Tsanga as Lord Sidney in front of members of the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra. Screenshot © 2005 Théâtre musical de Paris, Châtelet, and François Roussillon Associés

It's a very French touch that Edouard Tsanga's Lord Sidney should enter on hands and knees and immediately be sat on by the superb stage flautist of Aglaya Ulanova, clad as if for Oktavian in Der Rosenkavalier [watch and listen -- chapter 19, 55:45-56:32]. In Corinna's following is the lover of antiquities Don Profondo (Nikolaï Kamenski), apparently rifling the newly arrived trunks of his fellow guests [watch and listen -- chapter 24, 77:40-78:50]. Meanwhile the dashing young French officer, Cavalier Belfiore, with more than an eye for the Contessa, shows an interest in golf that might well be lethal to an audience that should nevertheless by now be ready for anything.

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Copyright © 28 August 2007 Robert Anderson, London UK

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