Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Rusalka

This should come as no surprise, but productions from Paris seem to focus on sex. That's fine for Alcina with Renée Fleming, Susan Graham and Natalie Dessay, since that's what Alcina is about--sex, not love. Men enchanted in various stages of undress seems quite sensible as well as entertaining. Incidentally, the cast of the House of Opera nude man Alcina is the same as the CD recommended in the New York Times Essential Library--Opera book. The singing on the video is excellent.

This DVD of Dvorak's Rusalka is also from Paris, and recasts the fairy tale into sexual terms. Instead of nude men, we have beds in every scene. As a water sprite Rusalka, it seems, doesn't long for the Prince so much as his bedroom, seen perched at the top of the set.

When the rival appears, the Prince alternates between two identical bedrooms. The story isn't very attractive when told this way. It effectively showcases Renée Fleming in her favorite role.

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