Yesterday night, I went to see Jean-Philippe Rameau's Les Paladins
at the Basle Theater. Overall, it was an ok performance, certainly worth seeing, even though I cannot share the widespread enthusiastic praise for it. My benchmark Rameau performance is still Les Indes Galantes
in the 2003 production with William Christie & Les Arts Florissants
at the Opernhaus Zürich. Almost two years later, I still vividly remember the closing tableau
of that amazing show.
More details? Gladly! I like the often dadaistic
screen setting. Dada is not quite obvious in the opening screen, but later on, they play with it quite a lot.
And that's what I am most critical of: It seems to me that the production's humour is aimed towards slapstick style rather than the more sinister chuckle, what with the frequent allusions to football for instance (i.e. soccer) in this pathologically football crazy town. This is outright objectionable during the first half until the break. Call me précieux
, but my reading of 18th century courtly French humour tends more towards the low key, constrained style (if only looking at Ladies' stays) rather than a rambunctious character. But this is obviously a contemporary interpretation on period instruments ...
The "sound" produced by Konrad Junghänel with local baroque ensemble La Cetra
is very sparkling and dynamic. Unfortunately it was a little bit on the thin side, but that is probably due to the fact that the house was virtually packed.
The choreography is very much in line with the aforementioned dadaistic direction, thus errs on the slapstick side. Notable nonetheless was a ballet solo with a bar table. Very imaginative!
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