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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Opera Preview: A French Double Bill of Distinction

Opera Lafayette returns to Lincoln Center.
by Paul J. Pelkonen

A scene from the Fall 2013 performance of Les Femmes Vengées.
Photo by Louis Forget © 2013 Opera Lafayette.
This week marks the return of Opera Lafayette to New York. This bold and justly celebrated Washington DC-based ensemble offers intimate operatic performances of excellent quality at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater, the venue that is normally home to Jazz at Lincoln Center.

The catch is this: Opera Lafayette performs one show in New York per season, and the exclusive, hot-house nature of their repertory (plus the comparatively small size of the Rose Theater) make it one of the more difficult tickets to catch in the middle of a busy opera season.

This year, OL offers a twin bill at this intimate venue, topped by a French-language version of Mozart's  Cosí fan tutte. The Mozart (adapted for French sensibilites as Ainsi font toutes, ou la Fidélité des femmes in 1900 by L.V. Durdilly) will be paired by a delectable amuse-bouche, the United States stage premiere of Les Femmes Vengées by the French composer François-André Danican Philidor.

Philidor is a forgotten composer these days, better remembered for his prowess at the chessboard (he wrote the definitive Analyse du jeu des Échecs) than for his music. However, just as the operas of Haydn were important works of the early classical period, Philidor's twenty-plus works for the stage were crucial in establishing the tradtion of opera-comique. It is this style that became the "low theater" alternative to grand opera in Parisof the 19th century.

Of course, opera-loving New Yorkers who miss this performance have one more chance to see Opera Lafayette. Folliwing its successful performances in 2012, the company has been invited to revive this production at Versailles. However, that also involves passports, and plane tickets...

Tickets for this performance can be purchased at  Opera Lafayette. . And if you're reading this, use the promotion code BlogNY to get a 20% discount to see this remarkable double bill.

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