L’Enlèvement au sérail in Avignon : a very risky transposition

© Cedric Delestrade

by Emmanuel Andrieu | 22.02.2018 | Read full article 


At the Opera Confluence of Avignon, here is an “Enlèvement au sérail” that had assets to make the public enjoy a good evening, and that leaves finally an impression of irritation, even bitterness. The fault, once again, in the staging, entrusted here to Emmanuelle Cordoliani, whose ideas are anything but confident in the music of Mozart. Why not transpose a fantasy “sérail” in a cabaret of the 30s? With Mozart, however, we must justify the metamorphosis. If it is to put the plot in tune with contemporary concerns, it is missed : we look at the images – nostalgic or comic – of the 30s without real displeasure, but with the same distance as those of the Vienna of Mozart. Selim Pacha finds himself a keeper of a cabaret, Konstanze is the main leader of it, Belmonte the crooner and Osmin goes from a conjuror to a prestigious drag queen… The worst is to come when we realize that the spoken texts have been reworked or even deleted, and some even added. Moreover – it is still more “chic” than German … -, Konstanze and Blöndchen speak in the language of Shakespeare, Belmonte and Pedrillo in that of Cervantes, while Selim Pacha expresses himself in a multitude of dialects , even in parsi … In short, we got lost, and the permanent bustle on stage – under the pretext of avoiding the obsolete turqueries – quickly create a wall between the music and the listener. […]

Another balm for the music lover : the direction of the Spanish conductor Roberto Forés Veses – musical director of the Orchestre d’Auvergne – who has done a truly admirable job at the head of the Orchestre Régional Avignon-Provence, whose excellent level continues to pleasantly surprise. Tempis are alert, phrasing irreproachable and the overall game of impeccable precision, especially strings …

Roberto Forés

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