GOING OUT / Opera: Massenet performance of frills and windmills

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
SOME works are ignored with good reason, but the neglect of Massenet's opera Don Quixote is hard to justify. It was the hottest ticket in Paris when it premiered in 1910, and in London two years later. Its second London production opens this week, after a gap of 82 years, at ENO.

The producer Ian Judge puts it down to snobbery. 'It's the great crossover opera, a step up from a good West End musical - tremendous dance rhythms, great tunes every two minutes - and as such it's been anathema to the intellectual musical fraternity, the sort who consider Puccini second- rate.' Judge considers that Massenet's time has come, as a man of the theatre as much as a tunesmith, and his production for ENO pulls out all the stops.

The frothy costumes (left) are by Deirdre Clancy and John Gunter does the sets, which include huge windmills whose sails pluck up the egregious Don and toss him into the air. Flamenco dancers and a donkey also make a bid for the limelight. (London Coliseum, WC2, 071-632 8300, from Sat.)

(Photograph omitted)