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Rameau: Les Indes galantes - Opéra de Paris [DVD]  
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William Christie and Les Arts Florissants propel this exuberant production of Jean-Philippe Rameau's second opera to great heights. Andrei Serban's extravagant, highly baroque staging presents the four exotic love stories in a fantastic operatic spectacle.
"A sparkling Baroque opera...a vibrant and spectacular work on a grand scale…" (Artsworld)
"Described as an Opera-Ballet in four Acts, Les Indes Galantes was Rameau's biggest stage success in his own lifetime, and one can understand why from this spectacular production, staged at the Paris Opéra in 2004. The director, Andrei Serban, presents the piece with the sort of lavish effects and movement that would have delighted 18th-century audiences...Outstanding among the soloists are Nathan Berg as Huascar...Anna Maria Panzarella as Emilie and Paul Agnew as Valere, with Joao Fernandez memorably in drag as Bellone. The final curtain brings an exuberant encore after the credits, with Christie hilariously joining in the dance." (The Penguin Guide)
"The production, designs and choreography are an absolute joy. The singers include Paul Agnew as Valère, whose lively 'Hâtez-vous de vous embarquer' bears a startling resemblance to 'Scacciata dal suo nido' from Handel's Rodelinda of 10 years earlier. Nathan Berg rages eloquently as the villainous Huascar in 'Les Incas'." (Gramophone)
"As the plot is a pastiche of several stories, the visual style of the production seems to be a synthesis of infinite influences and ideas. Literal, representational styles are mixed with abstract elements. The effect is ephemeral and dream-like...This DVD set is remarkable in all respects. It is a must-have for opera lovers as well as Baroque music enthusiasts.
" (Musicweb International)
CastValérie Gabail (Prologue: L'Amour)Nicolas Rivenq (Les Sauvages: Adario )Paul Agnew (Le Turc généreux: Valère)Patricia Petibon (Les Sauvages: Zima)Nicolas Cavallier (Le Turc généreux: Osman)Jaël Azzaretti (Les Incas du Pérou: Phani)
Les Arts Florissants; William ChristieStage Director: Andrei Serban
Catalogue Number: OA0923DDate of Performance: 2003Running Time: 244 minutesSound: DTS Surround; LPCM StereoAspect Ratio: 16:9 AnamorphicSubtitles: EN, FR, DE, ES, ITLabel: Opus Arte
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Top Customer Reviews
The prologue has a theme taken from mythology, and concerns the universality of Love. In first entrée, Le Turc Genereux (The Generous Turk) Osman sets free his captive, Emilie, whom he loves, so that she may be reunited with her former lover, Valère. It contains a descriptive storm scene, a chorus of sailors, and a ballet by African slaves.
In the second entrée, Les Incas de Perou, The Incas' Festival of the Sun is depicted in a grand spectacle full of choruses, symphonies, and airs. It is about the rivalry of the Inca Huascar and the Spaniard Don Carlos, both in pursuit of Princess Phani. It contains a musical earthquake, which is described in the orchestra by tremolos, and dissonant harmony, and was considered too difficult to perform. The music of this entrée is dissonant, emotionally sustained, and quite modern.
The third entrée, Les Fleurs (The Flowers), offers emotional release after so much drama. The dominant element in this entrée is the dance; there is no drama, only serene music. It is about Persian love intrigue, as the Sultana Fatima tries to detect whether her husband Tacmas has his eye on the lovely Atalide.
The final entrée, Les Sauvages (The Savages) was added at a much later date. Set in a North American forest, with Native American characters, after an initial amorous story, the main body of the entrée is built around the Ceremony of the Pipe of Peace. It is about a Spaniard and a Frenchman compete for the love of Zima, daughter of a native chief, who prefers one of her own people.Read more ›
Les Indes is a four act work with a prologue and was the composer's second stage work of this kind; “ The Amorous Indies” is a fanciful tour of the exotic worlds of far-off lands and native peoples; each act a separate love-story and - as one would expect of the French baroque – the glory of the opera is in its ballet, with plenty of terpsichorean activity featured in each scene.
The choreography is excellent as are the individual performances of each singer – and what a starry cast there is – with performers such as Danielle de Niese, Anna Maria Panzarella, Paul Agnew and a host of others all in fine voice and directed by William Christie and supported by the stalwart Les Arts Florissants orchestra and chorus.
The theatrical staging is well handled with imaginative modern sets combined with fairly traditional (read basic) special effects; it is contemporary but not avant garde, quite an acceptable compromise for a work from this age. The filming and editing is nicely done given the circumstances of a live recording.
On the two DVD set, the main feature runs for just under 3 hours with a supporting documentary of 50 minutes.
A very enjoyable viewing – and listening - experience.
Indes Galantes composed in 1735 is Rameau's most popular work, and in this lively and colourful production making the most of the mythological, Turkis, Inca and Red Indian settings.
The intensity and depth of the colours mainly using equal tones is masterly, the work comprising equal parts of opera and ballet in outstanding choreography.
The singers are all period specialists directed by William Christie, and I recommend reading the fine review by "A Customer - 13 Jul 2005" to get a full understanding of this outstanding issue; in addition to understand the conventions of Rameau's time I suggest viewing the Documentary before watching the performance.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Unsure what to expect I purchased this and gave it a try. Absolutely loved it, but so much to take in over two discs, I will need to watch it again. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Stevie
Wonderful music. And good acting, good costumes and beautiful singing. What more could you ask for in a music DVDPublished 21 months ago by U. Nielsen
Firstly , I suggest you play the synopsis on disc one before you start. It will make life clearer.
In the prologue De Niese is in fine voice and fine costume. Read more