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Subject: Cuts in Chicago Lyric's Les Troyens
From: "Roy D." <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Roy D.
Date:Fri, 25 Nov 2016 09:56:02 -0500
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David Kubiak mentioned being aware that the short duet for two Trojan sentries was missing right before Enee’s’ “Inutiles regrets!” in Chicago Lyric’s current production of Berlioz’s “Les Troyens.” I, too, was struck by its excision in this production when I saw it on Nov. 17. But by that time (Berlioz’s Act V; Lyric’s Act III), I was aware of other cuts, mostly in the ballet music. 

It turns out that the Lyric was very above board about its cuts, having issued a press release that detailed them all. Besides cuts of several choral repeats and the sentries' duet, the main deletions were the ballets in Act I (Gauntlet Combat and Wrestlers’ Dance), Act II (Entries of the Builders, Sailors and Farm Workers), and Act IV (Dance of the Slaves).

Lyric was also upfront about needing to bring in the production under five hours (with two intermissions) to avoid union overtime. Although I like all the ballet music in “Les Troyens,” there is a lot of it and it does slow the action down in live performances. For the record, however, the recent Met and San Francisco productions included all the ballets and the sentries’ duet (I’m not sure if there were cuts in the choral repeats).

Chicago Lyric becomes only the 5th U.S. opera company to have staged a “complete” production of “Les Troyens,” after Boston (1972), the Met (1973 and 2003, each with revivals), Los Angeles (1991) and San Francisco (2015). There were earlier stagings in Boston and San Francisco, but these were heavily cut. There also have been complete concert performances, in two separate concerts, in Boston and New York City, as well as at Tanglewood.

- Roy D.

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