Opéra national de Paris

Il barbiere di Siviglia at Opéra de Paris

Paris-opera-barbiere-2012* Notes *
Coline Serreau's 2002 production of Il barbiere di Siviglia (second half of Act I pictured left, photograph by Christian Leiber) opened Thursday night at Opéra national de Paris. Conducted by Marco Armiliato, the orchestra floated in the overture, but was somewhat loud at times. The members of the chorus were clear, and moved well in the choreography.

The principals are all fine actors. Carlo Cigni's Basilio is funny, as is Maurizio Muraro's Bartolo. The latter has an imposing command of patter. Tassis Christoyannis is an amusing Figaro, though his voice is not exceptional. Karine Deshayes started off rather darkly as Rosina, and showed a nice agility as the evening progressed. Antonino Siragusa is an appealing Almaviva, his bell-like tone is pretty. He was occasionally difficult to hear.

The Moorish set from Jean-Marc Stehlé and Antoine Fontaine, with matching costumes from Elsa Pavanel, is elaborate. The direction tended toward camp and silliness. This seemed to delight the majority of the audience, though someone did boo forcefully when Serreau appeared for her ovation.

* Tattling * 
It seemed many people seated around us on the parterre level did not have command of either the Italian of the opera or the French of the supertitles. There were whispered explanations for much of the first act.

Football was referenced in the last aria, and for some reason, this provoked much flash photography.

Opéra National de Paris' 2012-2013 Season

September 7- October 3 2012: Les Contes d'Hoffmann
September 8-27 2012: Capriccio
September 15- October 25 2012: Le Nozze di Figaro
October 10-30 2012: The Rake's Progress
October 15- November 11 2012: La Fille du régiment
October 23- November 20 2012: Tosca
November 22 2012- March 25 2013: La Cenerentola
December 4-29 2012: Carmen
January 22- February 9 2013: Khovanshchina
January 23- February 13 2013: Le Nain / L'Enfant et les sortilèges
January 29- February 12 2013: Das Rheingold
February 17- March 10 2013: Die Walküre
February 27- March 24 2013: Falstaff
March 21- April 15 2013: Siefried
April 14- May 6 2013: Hänsel et Gretel
May 2-31 2013: La Gioconda
May 21- June 16 2013: Götterdämmerung
May 23- June 18 2013: Giulio Cesare
June 18-26 2013: Der Ring des Nibelungen

Official Site | 2012-2013 Season

La donna del lago at Opéra national de Paris

Paris-chagall This haiku is the last of three pieces from Miss LCU's European holiday concerns Rossini's La donna del lago at Opéra national de Paris. The performance in question occurred on July 10, 2010 at Palais Garnier and starred Karine Deshayes as Elena opposite Javier Camarena as King James/Uberto.

* Notes *
Paris Opera
in July is all tourists
admiring Chagall.

Standing Room Adventures in Paris

Facade-opera-bastille * Notes *
Standing room at Opéra national de Paris is a fairly organized affair. I arrived at Opéra Bastille at around 4:30pm, asked where the standing room line was from the person at the information counter by the box office, and was directed to the main door. Outside near the gift shop door were four people, and it was clear they were the opera-goers I was looking for. After a few minutes some ladies also showed up and started organizing us by number. A sheet of paper was folded into 32 pieces, numbered, and cut into slips. I was given number 5, and then most everyone went their separate ways to get out of the cold, just leaving a few people to distribute numbers as they arrived.

The other opera standees were concerned by my lack of gloves, and after an hour I was encouraged to sit inside the gift shop to wait. Evidently, the time they open the doors varies from day to day. At around 6:15pm the 24 of us all got into line and were herded into the building to the two standing room ticket machines in the lobby. We went up two at a time, told the person supervising us if we wanted one or two places, and paid using coins or credit cards.

The standing places are not numbered, but there did not seem to be a mad dash for the best spots along the railing. As at the Met, there are layers of railings on the orchestra level. In Paris, however, the ushers are extremely helpful in finding standees seats. After the first intermission of Don Carlo I was given a seat in the middle of the rear orchestra, and was asked to climb over seat to take it.

Don Carlo at Opéra national de Paris

Opera-bastille * Notes *
The opening of Don Carlo at Opéra national de Paris was a bit slapdash. Graham Vick's production had some attractive elements, but lost a lot of tension in the drama because of how slow scene changes were. This was not helped by the two intermissions for four acts. Tobias Hoheisel's costumes were ostentatious in contrast to his rather sedate set, but these were pulled together by the lighting, designed by Matthew Richardson.

The orchestra was not bad under Carlo Rizzi, the cello solo in Act III was great, for instance. The brass was harsh, but only had a few bad notes, especially during the fanfares in Act II. All the singing was solid, however, including the chorus. Luciana D'Intino (Eboli) sang her first aria rather robustly, and she produces a full tone when she is singing all out. Sometimes she was a bit thin, perhaps it has to do with the different parts of her voice. Sondra Radvanovsky sounded both icy and sweet as Elisabetta, her "Non pianger, mia compagna" in Act I, Scene 2 was especially lovely.

Ludovic Tézier did well as Rodrigo, his "Dio, che nell'alma infondere" with Stefano Secco (Don Carlo) was very fine. At other times he was overwhelmed by the orchestra, but really turned it out for "Per me giunto è il di supreme" at the end. Secco had enough volume for the most part, though he was difficult to hear in a few places, notably in the last act, when the staging required that he stand upstage, away from Elisabetta. At first, Giacomo Prestia was lackluster as Felipe II, sounding pitchy. However, his "Ella giammai m'amò" was appropriately woeful, yet imposing.

* Tattling * 
The audience was a little restless, and there was a bit of whispering. Someone rustled cellophane and was admonished twice before she ceased her discourteous behavior.

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.

Standing Room at Opéra National de Paris

Whilst looking at tickets for Opéra national de Paris I learnt that they do have standing room, but only at Opéra Bastille. The official site of the opera says that the tickets go on sale when the doors open, approximately 90 minutes before curtain up. This seems rather vague, as it does not say where said tickets can be purchased.

The French language site was not much more help, reading: Les places de 9e catégorie (debout) sont vendues à l’ouverture des portes soit environ 1 heure 30 avant la représentation and Les places de 9e catégorie (debout) à l’Opéra Bastille sont vendues dès l'ouverture des portes, soit environ 1h30 avant le lever de rideau.

After a bit more research, I found that AP reported that 62 tickets go on sale from machines in the lobby, which helps a little bit but still leaves me with a lot of questions. One wonders when and where the queue forms. Any advice on this is welcome.

Opéra National de Paris' 2009-2010 Season

September 14- October 14 2009: Mireille
September 17- October 2 2009: Wozzeck
September 18 2009- April 23 2010: Il Barbiere di Siviglia
October 3-17 2009: Die Tote Stadt
October 10-25 2009: L'elisir d'Amore
October 29- November 29 2009: La Bohème
November 7- December 1 2009: Salome
December 2-30 2009: Platée
December 3-24 2009: Andrea Chénier
January 14- February 4 2010: Werther
January 20- February 13 2010: Idomeneo
January 25- February 23 2010: La Sonnambula
February 11- March 14 2010: Don Carlo
March 4-28 2010: Das Rheingold
March 17-31 2010: Fénelon's Faust
April 24- May 15 2010: Billy Budd
May 7- June 3 2010: Les Contes D'Hoffmann
May 31- June 29 2010: Die Walküre
June 14- July 10 2010: La Donna del Lago  
June 25- July 12 2010: The Cunning Little Vixen

Official Site | 2009-2010 Season

Paris Opera's 2008-2009 Season

September 6-11 2008: Eugene Onegin
September 24- November 2 2008: Rigoletto
October 11- November 2 2008: The Bartered Bride
October 13- November 12 2008: Cunning Little Vixen
October 30- December 3 2008: Tristan und Isolde
November 17- December 23 2008: Die Zauberflöte
November 25- December 21 2008: Fidelio
January 17-30 2009: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
January 24- February 8 2009: Yvonne, princesse de Bourgogne
January 29- March 4 2009: Madama Butterfly
February 27- March 22 2009: Idomeneo
February 28- March 26 2009: Werther
April 4- May 8 2009: Macbeth
April 10- May 23 2009: Un ballo in maschera
May 4-18 2009: The Makropulos Affair
May 20- June 5 2009: Tosca
June 13-21 2009: Demofoonte
June 18- July 2009: King Roger

Riccardo Muti conducts Demofoonte. Waltraud Meier sings Isolde opposite of Clifton Forbis. Paul Groves sings the title role of Idomeneo, with Joyce DiDonato as Idamante and Camilla Tilling as Ilia. Rolando Villazon shares the role of Werther with Marcus Haddock. Deborah Voigt shares the role of Amelia with Angela Brown and Ulrica Elena Manistina.

2008-2009 Schedule | Official Site