Opera review: La fille du regiment, Royal Opera House, London
Tuesday 04 March 2014
Laurent Pelly’s production of Donizetti’s La fille du regiment is so bewitching that’s it’s hard for those have seen it to imagine it being done any other way. And his pairing of Juan Diego Florez and Natalie Dessay in the leading roles constituted an almost impossible double-act for other singers to follow.
Meanwhile his casting of Dawn French as the non-singing dowager La Duchesse de Crackentorp set a comic gold-standard which Anne Widdecombe, despite her valiant efforts, totally failed to measure up to in the first revival. This new revival brings Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in that part, and although she gets an interpolated aria (from Puccini’s Edgar) to remind us that at 70 she can still sing high and sweetly, her attempts at clowning are far too tasteful to bring the house down as French did.
On the other hand, we get a brilliantly funny Marquise de Berkenfield from the formidable Polish contralto Ewa Podles, while Patricia Ciofi makes a fine stab at incarnating the waif adopted by the regiment. The best news is that Florez is back, and hitting the high Cs with effortless grace: Christian Rath’s revival-direction provides all the pace and preposterousness this charmingly wacky opera requires.
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Games of Thrones actor Lena Headey makes emotional promise to her unborn daughter
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
Eurovision 2015: Graham Norton returns with another cutting commentary - his best lines
Eurovision 2015: The best moments from Australia's random entry to Lithuania's gay kiss
Clarkson, Hammond and May Live: Top Gear trio returns with a blend of fireworks, AC/DC and 'automotive pornography'
Eurovision 2015 winner: Sweden beats Russia and Italy to take the title from Conchita Wurst
Eurovision 2015: Estonia seemingly enters Louis Tomlinson from One Direction
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland