Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Rameau - Platee / Agnew Delunsch Beuron Naouri Le Texier Lamprecht Minkowski Paris Opera|
Actors: Paul Agnew, Marc Minkowski, Mireille Delunsch, Yann Beuron, Laurent Naouri
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
This Paris Opera production of Rameau?s burlesque on the vicissitudes of love, is a "pure joy from start to splashing finish" (Wall Street Journal Europe). "Laurent Pelly?s staging of Platée is an exhilarating display of g... more »
Daughter of Kermit and Miss Piggy?
Terry Serres | Minneapolis, MN United States | 08/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The previous reviewer excoriates (in French) the Kultur label for a host of presentation sins. It's all true -- You can't get the subtitles in any language other than English. The voices are recessed in spots (though not noticeably worse than the bulk of operas issued on DVD). Zero documentation and zero texts, and the wrong track insert.
Still, the enchantment of the music and of Minkowski and Company's realization cast its spell and inexplicably compelled me to rate this 5 stars. The intrepid Ramellian (and Offenbachian) Minkowski began his recording career with this very opera in 1988, and the revelatory Erato recording is still available as an import. He has not lost a whit of his freshness. He paces the work even more confidently, caresses it even more sweetly.
Platee is a work unto itself: a "ballet bouffon", an outlandish comic opera in the trappings of lyric tragedy, with a nasty little plot and some of the most sublime music Rameau ever brought to light. Summary of the Action: Through the scheming of King Citheron and Mercure, Platee the swamp nymph is wooed by Jupiter in order to expose and ridicule his wife Juno's raging jealousy. Platee has been described as the Miss Piggy of the swamps -- fabulous body image, vain and petulant and demanding, completely unaware that the she's a small frog stepping into a big pond.
What makes this DVD indispensible is Minkowski's impeccable musicianship -- as fleet and light of hand as it is sure -- and a production that is in every way equal to the musical virtues. The set, stage machinery and effects, photography, and above all the acting and dancing are all thoroughly delightful and bring the music vividly to life before us. So engaging on its own theatrical terms that it held the attention of my 7-year-old niece.
Paul Agnew is splendidly uninhibited and comic in the travesti role of Platee. He doesn't have quite the lyricism of the peerless Michel Senechal in the 1956 performance under Rosbaud (his fluidity missed in the entrance aria, "Que ce sejour est agreable"). But Agnew is no slouch and his big moments are all there. He is every inch the embodiment of the swamp nymph ... In the opera's final scene, where Plate must give vent to vengeful rage while being dragged and tossed about, Agnew's voice and command of the stage hold up very well! (But when, oh when, is Jean-Paul Fouchcourt going to record this role?)
Laurent Naouri brings to Citheron his supple and strong baritone, equal to every test of dynamics and agility ... and devilishly handsome in stage persona. Yann Beuron is his worthy co-conspirator as Mercure: a supple and strong tenor, and for his part angelically handsome. He negotiates his ornaments with expressive ease, and has magnetic stage presence. You suspect he may lack the tenor's upper reaches, but that's not called for here. Mireille Delunsch is delirious and imperious as Folie, bringing down the house with her coloratura excesses. In the allegorical prologue where the singers all double roles, Beuron makes an amusing Thespis, roused from drunken slumber to sing the praises of the vine.
One of the most beautiful passages is Clarine's aria at the end of Act I, just before the storm (evoked by dazzling strings) that brings down the curtain. There are many other musical highlights, including the choruses and the occasional ensemble, where each of the principals' voices makes an appreciable impression (as at the end of Act II).
Production values are ingenious. The set for the prologue is a steep-raked theatre, inventively transformed into the bog for the opera's main action. The costumes are great fun, nicely integrated with the color scheme, and they work wonderfully with the various choreopgraphic pieces. The lighting is generally a bit murky, as befits a swamp, but not oppressive.
The choreography is the crowning glory of the production. Rameau's operas are chock-full of dance music, abounding in variety and intricacy. To leave almost all of it in for a staging is a daring feat, and the endless invention spun out for us is pure joy. The dance of the Aquilons that ends Act I keeps step with the brilliance of the renowned storm music -- aided by some inspired costumes, which are delightfully transformed for the Aquilons' return at the beginning of the following act. The "battle of the sexes" theme that runs through the dances in Act III is a little overdone, flirting with slapstick, but they do prepare us for Folie's Act III entrance to finish off her madness.
The observant viewer is given a discreet, sweetly comic choreographic touch to soften the cruelty of the opera's denouement ... so that we don't feel quite as guilty having enjoyed ourselves so thoroughly.
Superb production on bad KULTUR label
P. Blanchette | Montréal | 08/13/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"C'est avec grande impatience que j'ai attendu les sorties en Amérique du nord des DVD de deux opéras dirigés par Marc Minkowski, Platée et La belle Hélène, parus en Europe bien des mois auparavant, ce qui est maintenant chose faite. En zone 2 (Pal-Sécam) ces parutions sont sur étiquette TDK, tandis qu'en Amérique du nord (zone 1 système NTSC) elles le sont sur étiquette KULTUR .
Les ?uvres et les productions sont superbes mais pour l'amateur nord-américain la déception est grande. Il y a dans ces versions (zone 1) sur étiquette KULTUR un manque de professionnalisme aberrant et incompréhensible. Alors que les européens ont droit aux sous-titres en cinq langues dont le français, ce qui aide à suivre le chant, on a droit ici qu'à l'anglais, comme s'il n'y avait en Amérique ni francophones, ni francophiles, ni hispanophones. C'est avoir bien peu de considération pour les huit millions de canadiens qui vivent en français et qui sont un public de premier choix pour des ?uvres françaises.
Aucun livret ne viendra vous donner quelques détails sur le chef, la production ou les interprètes, KULTUR a jugé qu'un simple feuillet mentionnant le chapter correspondant à un air suffirait. Et sur les deux DVD achetés, un seul avait le feuillet correspondant. Dans le boitier de Platée j'ai eu droit au feuillet de opéra Giulio Cesare / Opera Australia!!!
Il y a pire encore. Alors que sur étiquette TDK les Européens ont droit à trois encodages audio (PCM Stéréo; Dolby digital 5.1; DTS) il n'y en a qu'un seul sur KULTUR, soit le Dolby 5.1 Surround, avec pour résultat un son caverneux, des sonorités lointaines ou égarées pour quiconque écoute à partir d'une chaîne stéréo aussi bonne soit-elle.
Les deux productions de ces opéras sont véritablement excellentes, extraordinaires même. Aussi est-il aberrant de ne pas rendre justice au chef, aux chanteurs, aux musiciens, bref à toutes les équipes que ce soit du Palais Garnier, du Théâtre du Châtelet, ou de Radio-France. L'étiquette KULTUR gâche notre plaisir et ne mérite pas d'utiliser, de disposer de manière aussi désinvolte des réalisations de cette grande envergure. Les artistes sont desservis et le public nord-américain privé de DVD de qualité."
Plaza Marcelino | Caracas Venezuela | 02/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rameau's operas became some kind of seldom seen event in opera houses outside France; and perhaps even there, it might be argued. Not any more as it looks, as there seems to be a kind of Rameau come back in recent years that not only has prompted a few opera houses in Europe to stage some of his works, it appears to have also crossed the Atlantic if the NYC Opera's revival of this same work is a signal.
With a rather silly plot of the gods playing a cruel practical joke on an ugly and plain marsh nymph who bears the work's title as her name, it is one of the few comedies composed by Rameau, who for much of his stage output stuck to the usual tragedie in vogue in France since Lully's time. It is very cleverly staged in this version from the Opera Garnier in Paris and features an outstanding performance by scotsman Paul Agnew who not only sings his drag role very well but proves to be a remarkable actor too. Mireille Delunsch acquits herself highly, too, and despatches the difficult aria that closes the first act with flair and ease. Naouri proves his usual efficacy as the satyr yet some aloofness is not absent from the interpretation.
Apart from Agnew, the evening's other great stars are Minkowski and his outstanding Musiciens du Louvre, a delight to anyone with an ear for late french baroque music and its sonorities. Minkowski is an expert in this repertoire and already has in his CV a (sound only) recording of the piece with an altogether different cast that dates from some 15 years ago. He again conducts the work with great care and enjoyment and he and his musicians participate with theatrical flair in some comical episodes where characters invade the pit.
As is too common in US releases of this kind, information provided the customer in the box is virtually nonexistant, not even a plot synopsis but merely a list of chapters in the single-leaf insert. The programme itself has no additional material. For these two reasons, and because the stage conception might not suit all tastes this side of the Atlantic, I award only four stars to this DVD, in spite of the performance probably meriting the fifth in its own terms.
Better than I could have ever expected
G. Stefan Lazar | San Francisco, CA USA | 07/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Enough has been written about the details so let me just say I found this absolutely delightful. Early music rarely holds my interest for long but this was definitely an exception. My only complaint is with the titles. The translation was such that I did not have a clue most of the time as to what was happening on stage. After Act 1, I found a synopsis online. As is usual with Kultur, none came with the DVD. That aside, I would highly recommend this performance."