Oct 1, 2007

Fuck Les Chorégies d'Orange


We have two decent Lyric Summer Festivals in France.

Aix-en-Provence for starters, for lovers of operas I can't stand: Monteverdi, Mozart, Wagner...
Therefore I really don't care that they have a fantastic new concert hall, or about the quality of casts and directors they choose.

So I'm left with Les Chorégies d'Orange.
Stuck, I should say.

OK, the operas they play (two each year) are obviously chosen to seduce mass audiences; Gounod's Faust and Carmen for 2008, Il Trovatore and Puccini's Butterfly this summer; Aïda and Lucia di Lammermoor in 2006 (complete list here).
It's mainstream opera all the way, but that's ok 'cause I'm into Verdi, Gounod, Donizetti...

But enough is enough.

They need to upgrade.

Aïda, 2006, © Grand Angle Orange

The stage direction is as bad as can be expected when there's no stage direction.
The sets are non-existant so the stage is just desperately empty (thank God for the Romans by the way, or else there wouldn't even be a stage).

The costumes are way too conventional and boring.

And then, of course, the conductor chosen each year is either the one that couldn't understand the score any worse or Michel Plasson (not much better).

Let's not forget about the chorus.
Historically, the chorus is made of various chorus from around the country, assembled into a reasonable size chorus for the huge Roman theater they sing in. That's roughly 50 men and 50 women.

Please forget about history.
Some things have to change.
The chorus has to go.
For a professionnal one.

No offense to Avignon, Toulon, Metz or any other remote city they come from.
But with a group of second class singers, chances are when you assemble them together they will suck.
Well, they do.
A lot.

Aïda, 2006, © Grand Angle Orange

And finally the cast.
Can we please stop with Roberto Alagna?

He's there every single year (2007 for Manrico in Il Trovatore, 2006 for Ramadès in Aïda, 2005 for La Bohème, 2004 for Carmen...).
I get it that he's the only opera singer French people care about (especially since his shitty tribute album to Luis Mariano). But he's just the ghost of the great tenor he used to be.
And you know what? I don't pitty him a bit.
He should have worked instead of going to every single bullshit TV program he was invited to, destroying all kinds of songs (examples on YouTube here and there).
Plus, I don't forgive him for the Scala incident. This guy has no respect whatsoever for the public, he's way too egomaniac.

I might sound harsh, but seriously people.
Les Chorégies d'Orange suck.

For a budget of about €450.000 for two productions each year, we should have other singers than Alagna, a world-class conductor, a decent chorus and a spectacular staging.

We have none of that.
The French system really sucks, sometimes.

Further readings:
Photos of the past productions here, history of the festival here (also in English here).

YouTube extracts (please enjoy the costumes, stage direction and the work of the conductor):

No comments: