Orlando Furioso at Champs-Élysées
March 23, 2011
* Notes *
Vivaldi's Orlando Furioso at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées was an airy, understated affair. Directed by Pierre Audi, the action seemed to involve much spinning around, overturning furniture, and the like. Particularly amusing was when Orlando sang to a slowing descending Venetian chandelier at the end of Act II. Patrick Kinmonth's sets and costumes were pleasant in their palette of greys, blacks, and whites. However, it might have been difficult visually to tell the characters from one another.
Ensemble Matheus, conducted by Jean-Christophe Spinosi, played prettily but with a certain jaunty percussiveness. The chorus of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées likewise was fine and together. Romina Basso (Medoro) was consistently just slightly late. Verónica Cangemi was convincing as Angelica, as was Kristina Hammarström as Bradamante. Christian Senn sang Astolfo with great strength and pleasant tone.
In the role of Alcina, Jennifer Larmore was the most commanding I have heard her. She does gasp somewhat, but especially at the end, this did not detract from her performance. Marie-Nicole Lemieux did not seem the most fit as Orlando, but she did project masculinity. She sounded vulnerable from the first scene. She had a loveliness in the last act that was poignant. By far the most impressive was the Ruggiero, Philippe Jaroussky. His clear voice had a gorgeous ease.
* Tattling *
There was light talking and mobile phone usage throughout the performance. A man who had been sitting on the stairs asked if anyone was sitting in the jump seat off of mine during Act II. This completely confounded me, why would one want to sit so close to a stranger? The person in question did in fact take the seat, and fidgeted for all of the next act. I think he might have had allergies, as he scratched his arms and rubbed his face unceasingly. To avoid further contact with this person, my companion helpfully took my seat for Act III, and I sat in the jump seat.