Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Jacques Offenbach: La vie parisienne

Raoul de Gardefeu... Jean Sébastien Bou
Bobinet... Marc Callahan
Métella... Maria Riccarda Wesseling
Le Baron de Gondremark... Laurent Naouri
La Baronne... Michelle Canniccioni

Conductor: Sébastien Rouland

Stage DirectorLaurent Pelly

Jacques Offenbach’s La vie parisienne, is one of his most enjoyable works, especially in this Lyon Opera production. A satirical romp poking barbs into the thick skin of Second Empire Paris, it’s updated to a farcical sendup of a contemporary Paris populated by thrill-hungry tourists and euro-seeking natives, both groups with sex on their minds. Producer Laurent Pelly’s imaginative production makes the tangled plot, with its characters assuming false identities and roles to bilk a not-so-innocent pair of Swedish tourists, perfectly clear. And he fills the stage with endless comic bits and clever routines that keep you laughing throughout. So to depict the Swedish baron’s drunken state in Act Three, the banquet table itself rocks like a see-saw and spins like a top. Chantal Thomas’ sets make it clear that Paris itself is the subject of this madcap Opera-bouffe, with semi-abstract views of the city and a map as backdrops to the action. And further delights are provided by Laura Scozzi’s choreography, turning orchestral introductions like that for Act Four, with its dawn street-sweepers and tipsy part-goers, into a laugh-out-loud ballet.
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