Month: January 2017

Titanic

titanic

Signature Theatre, Arlington VA
2017-01-28 • 20:00

There is very little to fault in this magnificent production of Titanic, except maybe the sound design, which doesn’t quite manage to overcome the challenges created by the unusual spatial configuration, with the audience sitting on all four sides of the stage.

Working with a set consisting of little more than four gangways, director Eric Schaeffer has imagined an immersive staging that is both fascinating to the eye and emotionally powerful. The gripping opening sequence has never been more potent, with the added bonus of almost flawless singing from a highly capable cast.

The song “I Give You My Hand”, which was cut in previews prior to the Broadway opening, has been reinstated. It is a nice example of Yeston’s writing talent and is beautifully performed by Iyona Blake and Chris Sizemore.

This is undoubtedly one of the best productions I’ve seen at Signature. For some reason, it caused me to reminisce about the very first production I saw at the old Signature Theatre in 2003, Stephen Sondheim’s Follies, already staged by Eric Schaeffer.

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Lohengrin

lohengrin

Opéra-Bastille, Paris
2017-01-21 • 19:00

Une distribution de rêve ne se traduit pas toujours par une représentation inoubliable. On est heureux de retrouver un Kaufmann en pleine possession de ses moyens ; son sens de la nuance est bouleversant. Herlitzius, sans surprise, est une Ortrud magnifique.

Mais la magie n’a pas réellement opéré pour moi. Sans doute une combinaison de mon manque d’affinité pour Philippe Jordan et de l’acoustique peu chaleureuse de l’Opéra-Bastille, qui ne crée pas les conditions optimales d’une immersion musicale réussie.

Direction musicale : Philippe Jordan
Mise en scène : Claus Guth
Avec Jonas Kaufmann (Lohengrin), Martina Serafin (Elsa von Brabant), Evelyn Herlitzius (Ortrud), Wolfgang Koch (Friedrich von Telramund), René Pape (Heinrich der Vogler), …

Oliver Twist, le Musical

olivertwist

Salle Gaveau, Paris
2017-01-21 • 15:00

Once in a while, an original French musical comes along that feels like its creators know what they’re doing. I’m not sure why Shay Alon (music) and Christopher Delarue (book & lyrics) chose a property already equipped with a great musical adaptation, especially one as successful as Lionel Bart’s Oliver!, but they have managed to write a show that is both competent and quite satisfactory in places.

The biggest asset of this musical is its creative scenic design. The transformation of the venerable Salle Gaveau into a semblance of a proscenium theatre is quite remarkable, and there are beautiful images aplenty during the performance, in part thanks to nicely designed projections, as well as nifty stage lifts that help make transitions smooth and cinematic.