A Very Enjoyable Romp.,
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This review is from: Rameau: Platee [DVD]  [NTSC] (DVD)
Rameau's 'Platee' was first performed in Versailles on 31 March 1745. Although acting an opera in modern costumes quite often undermines the enjoyment of watching it, this is not so in the case of this Eighteenth Century opera. This may be because the gods are the gods and can please themselves what they wear at any given time. In any case, how do we know what the gods wore? Anyway, it works very well in this entertaining Grenoble adaptation directed by Laurent Pelly.
Paul Agnew is excellent as Platee the ugly marsh nymph who is fooled into believing that Jupiter has fallen in love with her. He is costumed just right to look convincingly ugly-nymph-like. and has the right haute-contre voice suitable for the part, and Mireille Delunsch is a delight as the Folly Thaile. There are frogs, lots of dancing and capering around, all of which is delightfully choreographed. There's one entertaining episode when one of the frogs wanders in among the orchestra, where it has a go at playing various instruments before taking over the baton to conduct the last few bars of that particular scene. The performance is full of choral singing and lots of dancing, all of which is very entertaining.
All told, this is an ingenious adaptation of this great work by Jean Philippe Rameau, in which singing, acting and choreography are cleverly blended to form an overall great production. This is an ideal work for blending old and new into a coherent whole and this production causes this to work perfectly into a very enjoyable romp, which lifts viewers, many of whom will enjoy watching it over and over again just as I do. What is the fate of of Platee the marsh nymph? Oh well, you'll have to watch the disc and find that out for yourself.