Nov 19, 2006

La Juive : Oren vs. Viotti

Comparing the 2006 Oren version (Royal Opera House, London) and the 2003 Viotti version (MET, NY). So I listened yesterday to the first act of La Juive, recorded live from the Barbican Centre in London in September. I wanted to know where the Feb/March Paris performances at Bastille were headed for, and if I should worry, like most of these guys seem to think. Guess what? They’re wrong. At first, I was surprised of how different the Viotti & Oren orchestrations are. You can hear it from the very first notes of the opera.

And, as the broadcast went on, I started to realize the Oren version emphasizes lightness, and offers a less dramatic approach than the Viotti version. I said less dramatic, that doesn’t mean Oren is playing the truly dramatic parts with shallowness and derision.

But I’m pretty sure that’s the way Halévy wanted his music to be played; after all these were times (1835) were composers explored dramatic subjects with somehow a joyful perspective (Berlioz excepted), let alone the fact that most productions weren’t dealing with dramatic subjects at all (Offenbach, Auber, Chérubini).

Still excited to go and listen to La Juive in Bastille on March 2007. Still wanting to throw those angry fellows to feed the lions… Audio extract from the MET:

Rachel, quand du Seigneur, Neil Schicoff (track #207) Further selected readings; 2003 Viotti version:

Alex Ross, Ray of Death, extract from The New Yorker, Nov.24 2003, MET Opera News Online, MET Opera Review by the New York Times. 2006 Oren version:

Classical Source review, Musicweb International review, Music OMH review, My cultural life review.

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