©Hans Joerg Michel
Caroline Hobbs and I visited the Premier of Platée on January 28, 2011, at the Düsseldorf Opera House as Opera Scouts.
'Pure Eye Candy!' is how I described the production to the journalist with the Rheinische Post after the performance of this light-hearted and very colourful opera ballet by Rameau. I just loved it - the baroque music sweeps you along the story of the Greek gods beautifully and the set, my goodness, the set was breathtaking! Vibrant costumes, shrill props and a fantasy stage set. My idea of heaven ...
My full review will be found on the Opera House website soon.
There are just a 5 performances of Platée, ending February 12, so don't take too long to decide if you'd like to see this or not.
I'm going again, that's how much I enjoyed it!
Caroline Hobbs is a cello student at the Robert Schumann School of Music, this is her review:
As the ‘Neue Düsseldorfer Hofmusik’ began the overture I knew I was in for a fantastic evening of music making. Playing on period instruments under the baton of Konrad Junghänel, the ensemble performed with such vitality and purity of sound that can only be achieved by musicians of high calibre, well versed in the stylistic aspects of early music and who derive great pleasure from it’s performance.
Having just being coaxed in to sound world from a bygone era I was anticipating period costumes to compliment the baroque music and was hence quite taken aback when the curtains opened on to a depiction of the underbelly of modern day society. When this group of misfits was suddenly shooed off stage by a bustling group of smartly dressed businessmen and women seemingly celebrating the launch of ‘Jupiter’ a new alcohol product I started to wonder if I was in the right opera theater as I was expecting an opera based around Greek mythology.
After my initial shock at this juxtaposition of two seemingly contradictory worlds wore off I found myself quite enjoying the paradox, which for me, added even more spice to this whimsical opera and made it more readily accessible. Subsequently I found myself being drawn in to the drama unfolding onstage and despite already knowing the general plot I found myself on the edge of my seat eager to find out how a troupe of antiquated greek gods would manage to be assimilated in to this modern day setting (I even fell off my seat at one point while trying to keep an eye on Platée and Jupiter who ran off stage and in to the audience).
©Hans Joerg Michel
I found the set design and costumes very creative and original and there seemed to be dynamic vibrancy to the whole production, with impassioned and sassy dance routines adding extra zing to an already spirited evening. For me, however, the show stealer was undoubtedly Anders J. Dahlin with his interpretation of the hapless character Platée, the central figure around whom the gods device their cunning plans. Not only does Anders J. Dahlin have an amazingly agile and powerful voice but everything from his ever changing facial expression down to his pidgeon toed stance seemed to embody the luckless and wretched Platée.