Offenbach: La Belle Helene - Zurich/Harnoncourt Reviews

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Director Hartmut Schottler Starring: Vesselina Kasarova, Deon van der Walt
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    “Offenbach: La Belle Helene - Zurich/Harnoncourt -...”


    written by Smorg on 10/05/2006

    Offenbach: La Belle Helene - Zurich/Harnoncourt - Niklaus Harnoncourt's conducting keeps the pace brisk and the orchestra fresh sounding. Kasarova is a mezzo Helene (traditionally a soprano role) with many vocal colors that add to the characterization of her wonderfully hillariously detached and self-absorbed Helene. There is something really suggestively erotic about the way she sings Helene (and not only during 'C'est un reve') that makes her believeable as the most beautiful woman in the world (despite the wig that makes her look like a drag queen in a few camera shots). Great acting by all the principals. Chausson is the ideal Calchas with his warm bass voice and wonderful comic timing. Van der Walt is not in his best voice and drags on his opening aria (Au Mont Ida) a bit, but is a good comic actor. Nikiteanu is a free spirited Oreste.

    I really enjoy this video. It brings out the wittiness and lightheartedness of Offenbach's musical satire wonderfully. Zurich is such a friendly operhaus and everybody seems at home in the production (the singers even sometimes venture down to harass the orchestra and Harnoncourt in the pit!).

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