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The Santa Fe production, directed by Laurent Pelly, was first seen at the Paris Opéra in 1999. Its prologue opened with Thespis, the inventor of comedy, played by tenor Norman Reinhardt, sleeping in the front row of theater seats on a steeply raked stage. Caroline Ginet's sets, which were patterned on the original Paris scenery by Chantal Thomas, gradually changed from red plush chairs to swampland growths encrusted with pond algae and green scum.
Heidi Stober as La Folie in Rameau's 'Platée' at Santa Fe Opera. Photo © 2007 Ken Howard
Director Pelly had a treaure trove of inventive ideas that kept the audience interested for three hours of French Baroque arias and ballet. One of his best was allowing choreographer Laura Scozzi to incorporate dance styles that ranged from the minuet to break dance. Pelly designed the costumes as well, and some of them were highly unusual. As Folly, Heidi Stober wore a proper ball gown, but it was constructed of fabric that looked like sheet music. The singer could consult the drapery of her dress to be sure of what she was to sing. Stober sang her difficult coloratura with great style and was accorded a fine reception.
Copyright © 9 September 2007
Maria Nockin, Arizona USA