Fantasio - OAE, Opera Rara, Elder: Classical review
Royal Festival Hall, London
Monday 16 December 2013
Opera Rara were co-presenters of this Offenbach opera comique, and it really is a rarity: not since its first production in 1872 has it been performed in the original version we got here.
Written during the dark days of the Franco-Prussian war, it was conceived as a souflee to raise people’s spirits, and although there are occasional flashes of the magic which made Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann a perennial favourite, this work has no full-on magic of its own. Indeed, although Gilbert and Sullivan were to draw inspiration from such Parisian divertissements, a lot of it comes over simply as G&S avant la lettre.
But with Marl Elder at the helm of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Opera Rara chorus, and with Sarah Connolly leading a first-rate line-up of soloists, it got a brilliant re-launch. Connolly was not called on to deploy her sulphurous dramatic power – her job was simply to look handsome en travesti as the disguised hero – but her nuanced singing was gracefully offset by the tumbling coloratura of Brenda Rae as the princess she had to woo. Meanwhile, revealing an unexpected talent, Elder did a nicely comic cameo from the rostrum as an apoplectic Parisian tailor.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
- 2 Maisie Williams has an excellent message for one confused fan
- 3 There is something wrong but very right about this Bible illustration
- 4 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 5 Tampon tax scrapped in Canada after petition convinces conservative government
Jay Z's Tidal could be about to lose Beyonce's music in ultimate humiliation
Thrill of the chaste: The truth about Gandhi's sex life
Bob Dylan: How the Isle of Wight festival managed to steal the voice of a generation from Woodstock
Big Brother 2015 new housemates: Simon Gross returns as stripper Marc O'Neill, model Harry Amelia Martin and X Factor reject Sam Kay join
Burning Man festival revellers accidentally torch prehistoric artefacts in Israel
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'