As promised, “Trove Thursday” offers Don Quichotte chez la duchesse, a second nearly unknown opera based on Cervantes’ towering literary masterpiece. Joseph Bodin de Boismortier’s 1743 opéra-ballet features Felicity Palmer and Philip Langridge and is conducted by Roger Norrington.
Francesco Conti’s Don Chisciotte in Sierra Morena, conducted by René Jacobs who returns tonight to New York for the first time in a decade to lead Idomeneo at Alice Tully Hall, is well over three hours long and full of elaborate seria-like arias. On the other hand, Boismortier’s sparkling work is less than 80 minutes and with lots of charming dance music.
Don Quichotte seemed to drop into obscurity again after this British performance from the early 1970s until French conductor Hervé Niquet and his Le Concert Spirituel revived it a few years ago. Their vulgar, over-the-top production, much performed and now available on DVD, is far from my taste, but it may appeal to some.
Boismortier: Don Quichotte chez la duchesse
9 February 1973
Felicity Palmer — Altisidore
Christine Clarke — Peasant Girl/A Lover/Lady-in-Waiting
Philip Langridge — Don Quichotte
Neil Jenkins — Sancho Panza
Michael Rippon — Merlin/Montesinos
Roger Norrington — conductor
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