Massenet Revival

Feb 3, 2007 11:53 pm
In just two years I have seen performances of Thais, La Navarraise, and Cendrillon here in Boston. I don’t remember ever seeing a live performance of any Massenet opera anywhere

~ by severalfourmany on February 3, 2007.

2 Responses to “Massenet Revival”

  1. It is a fact. We are living the Massenet renaissance. Just the same way four decades ago we went through the Donizetti and Bellini renaissance and two decades ago we lived the Rossini renaissance. If fifty years ago Massenet was practically known universally even among the best opera lovers for his Manon and his Werther, today a good part of his production has been revived by important companies or festivals and more than half a dozen of his operas are appearing with certain regularity around the world. Cendrillon, Herodiade, Le Cid, Thais, Esclarmonde, Le Roi di Lahore, La Navarraise, Sapho, Don Quichotte are all titles with which opera lovers have become familiar through recordings or videos available and can often be seen in the rosters of important seasons.

    For the first time Palm Beach Opera had a female conductor, Keri-Lynn Wilson whose debut conducting Thaïs could not have been more favorable. She made the best out of Massenet’s score, which alternates between the trivial music, the sweet lyric melodies and a sung declamation (much like the Wagnerian style) for a lot of Athanael and the cenobites’ music. She managed to link it all together and communicate effectively with that small treasure which is the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra. The group sounded very well and the communication with the stage was quite perfect. She stressed the intense moments, of which there are really not too many, and gave some brilliance to the otherwise trivial moments. The chorus was good though still not achieving the level of the last few seasons. A special mention must be made, of course, of Concertmaster Eliot Chapo who gave a very intense and beautiful reading of the famous “Meditation.”

  2. Good to hear that Keri-Lynn Wilson is doing well. I have not heard of her since she left Julliard where she was a talented and up-and-coming conducting student. Sounds like she has had the opportunity to work with some excellent orchestras (LA, Saint Paul, and Montreal) and has been doing some steady opera conducting as well.

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