Cher Public

The old song and dance

If being stuck in an emergency room past 1:30 AM wasn’t bad enough, my injury happened heading home from the most disappointing performance in 30 otherwise glorious years of William Christie and Les Arts Florissants visiting New York City.  Read more »

Goodbye, gorgeous!

“Too much gorgeousness!” I’m paraphrasing my friend’s riposte after he sheepishly asked whether I minded if he fled at the intermission of Les Arts Florissants’s all-Charpentier concert at Alice Tully Hall Thursday night. “But it’s gorgeous” was my initial response to him, but I knew exactly what he meant. Can a surfeit of pleasure become—in the end—unsatisfying?  Read more »

Martyr system

Other than Israel in Egypt and Messiah, Handel’s English oratorios aren’t all that different from his operas—characters under duress trading da capo arias—except for all those choruses. But what choruses! William Christie’s Les Arts Florissants made a much-anticipated appearance at Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival Saturday performing Theodora and the always stellar group reveled in that demanding work’s magnificent choruses transforming them into the highpoints of an otherwise oddly unmoving evening.  Read more »

Garden party

Many large opera companies these days host valuable young artist programs dedicated to helping singers negotiate the difficult transition between leaving the conservatory and becoming full-time performing artists. Yet few independent organizations have the resources to do the same; however, the French Early Music ensemble Les Arts Florissants has since 2002 been regularly convening an acclaimed “baroque academy,” and the laureates of its seventh edition arrived at Alice Tully Hall on Thursday with an enchanting entertainment called “In an Italian Garden.”   Read more »

Platée du jour

What must have raced through the mind of the none-too-comely Spanish Infanta when she learned that the opera to be performed during the celebrations for her 1745 wedding to the French Dauphin revolved around the comeuppance of an ugly yet vain water nymph tricked into believing Jupiter was her ardent suitor?

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The diva wears Prada

“Oubliez le XVIIIè siècle. A l’Opéra Comique, Platée s’installe sur les podiums d’une fashion week parisienne!”

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Falling in love, never again

Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s opera David et Jonathas, written for a celebration at a Jesuit school in 1688, premiered together with a Latin verse drama, Saul, now lost.

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Love is only love

Of the two love stories that unfolded at David et Jonathas Wednesday night, it’s hard to say which was more moving.

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