For this week I had planned a performance of Lakmé with Ruth Welting, Alfredo Kraus, and Paul Plishka, only to discover after posting it that somewhere in the technologic processes it takes to prepare an upload, 75% of it morphed into ear-shattering noise.  Since I am lacking in French opera, I have substituted a performance of Gluck’s Alceste from Wiener Staatsoper in June 2016. 

Véronique Gens and Joseph Kaiser star supported by guests in the house: Les Talens Lyriques under its maestro, Christophe Rousset, and the Gustav Mahler Chor.  While it’s not as totally and authentically French as Lakmé (for which I am searching for another source), it at least helps me beef-up the Baroque repertoire on the site.  I apologize for the tardiness, especially to anyone who tried to access the Lakmé in the brief time it was online.

This is the second version of the opera, with its original Italian libretto translated and revised for Paris in 1776 (the 1767 world premiere, in Italian, was at the still new, and today still gorgeous Burgtheater in Wien).  It seems the Paris version is essentially a different opera.  Gluck even fought some of the necessary alterations (i.e. big ballet at the end) but compromises were eventually reached.  This is now pretty much the standard version of the work, although, as Mrs. Meneghini showed us, it is sometimes done with the revised libretto translated back to Italian.

Christoph Willibald Gluck: Alceste

Gustav Mahler Chor
Les Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset, conductor
Wiener Staatsoper
19 June 2016

Alceste – Véronique Gens
Admète – Joseph Kaiser
Leurs enfants – Maria Nazarova, Juliette Mars
Évandre – Jason Bridges
Un Grand-Prêtre – Clemens Unterreiner
Hercule – Adam Plachetka
Apollo – Manuel Walser
Thanatos – Clemens Unterreiner
Choryphées – Maria Nazarova, Juliette Mars, Jason Bridges, Manuel Walser
Un oracle – Panajotis Pratsos
Un crieur public – Manuel Walser