Les Arts Florissants' Giulio Cesare
Don Carlo at Opéra national de Paris

Idomeneo at Opéra national de Paris

Palais-garnier * Notes *
Wednesday's performance of Idomeneo at Palais Garnier had some beautiful singing. Tamar Iveri's Elettra could be strident and hysterical, without being ugly. Isabel Bayrakdarian (Ilia) does have quite a bit of vibrato at times, but her voice is pretty. Vesselina Kasarova certainly looked the role of Idamante, but her wobbly gasping was distracting. At least this was not the case in all of her arias. Charles Workman was wonderful as Idomeneo, his warm, sweet voice has a lovely resonance.

The orchestra did not sound particularly together and did not seem to mind the conductor, Philippe Hui. Given that he was filling in for Emmanuelle Haïm, who recently withdrew from these performances, it was a bit mean of the audience to boo him so vehemently. The horns were especially out of tune.

As for Luc Bondy's production, as far as I could tell, it seemed rather dull. It was a sort of minimalist naturalism as far as set. For example, the beach in Act II looked strewn with paper, orange peels, and random trash. This was not exactly indicative of a horrible sea monster that was wreaking havoc on the Cretans. The set was also loud, people thumped up and down the rake all evening long. The costuming was inexplicable, the time period was unclear and the styles were not becoming on the female cast. Ilia's dress was very unflattering, and I have never seen Bayrakdarian look so matronly.

* Tattling * 
The audience was silent, though we were in a box, so it was hard to gauge. The applause seemed a bit tepid.