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Subject: Re: Mignon (was Carreras and his rep)
From: Frank Cadenhead <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Frank Cadenhead <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 28 Jan 2017 09:56:42 +0100
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I just found yesterday that both the San Diego Gwendoline and the Henry VIII are on YouTube (just the audio). It seems to have been posted recently by a relative of the conductor (who was the same in both). Regarding Henry VIII, Sherrill Milnes told me that it was one of the finest roles he has ever sung. Also on YouTube is a staged Henry VIII from Compiegne (a small house from the Napoleon III period (who had his summer castle there - it coincidentally was built on the exact site of the Carmelite convent of opera fame!) from the early 90s. The production was done by Pierre Jourdan, who was the director of the house and who staged ignored French opera exclusively. You can see the production is not expensive and you never heard of the singers but this process continued for some two decades with enormous impact. It was the beginning of this revival I spoke of. It was about a hour and a half north of Paris but for many became a regular trip. I have always felt that opera got stuck in neutral by repeating the same 20 operas over and over. During the last few decades, we are surprised to find that even Humperdinck wrote other operas of value. And opera is the only art form that is still waking up to this fact. Beethoven's Fourth is not as frequently played as the Fifth but is not unheard (and is still a masterpiece in itself) and if your organizing an exhibit of an artist, you would not just make it one room with his three famous pieces. 
 
Frank Cadenhead
 
 
 
> Message du 28/01/17 05:51
> De : "Bill Smith" 
> A : "Frank Cadenhead" 
> Copie à : 
> Objet : Re: Mignon (was Carreras and his rep)
> 
> I know my taste in opera has changed over the years, but I remember Gwendoline as a never-ending bore. I believe you can find the audio of the San Diego production online somewhere, perhaps the Rosalind Plowright website.
> 
> Sent from my iPhone
> 
> > On Jan 27, 2017, at 6:42 AM, Frank Cadenhead  wrote:
> > 
> > Many will have already heard Chabrier's famous putdown: "Il y a deux espèces de 
> > musique : la bonne et la mauvaise. Et puis, il y a la musique d'Ambroise Thomas" 
> > (There are two types of music: the good and the bad. And then, there's the music 
> > of Ambroise Thomas). 
> > Mignon was produced, with success (Koch in the title role) at the Opera-Comique 
> > (where it had its debut) in 2010 and the production was repeated in Geneva in 
> > 2012. Chabrier's opera, Gwendoline, was in the season 82-83 at the San Diego 
> > Opera when the company was healthy under Tito Capobianco and that same 
> > season also had Saint-Saens' Henry VIII. Both were a pleasure to hear and, for 
> > me, always examples of the 95% of the repertory that is ignored to make space 
> > for another Traviata.
> > This "playing safe" policy is not healthy for any arts group and is particularly 
> > prevalent in the opera world. I have been lucky to be in Paris during a time when 
> > the French have rediscovered their vast musical riches. Saint-Saens' Le Timbre 
> > d'argent will be seen in June with Alcione (Marais) in April. Fantasio (Offenbach) is 
> > opening their season in two weeks. This new interest has also seen French operas 
> > outside the standard rep being picked up by opera companies throughout Europe. 
> > 
> > Frank Cadenhead
> > 
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