Monday, December 17, 2012

Robert le Diable at the ROH

The Royal Opera House has revived Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable, a work that hadn't been performed in that storied theater in 122 years. (The Met hasn't staged it since 1884!) Critical reaction has been mixed:
General background:
But why depend on critics? Judge for yourself, by listening to Robert on BBC 3. The recording is available for several more days.


Mary Jane Leach said...

I must admit I don't know much about Meyerbeer, but I listened to the broadcast on Saturday, so the staging and sets can't be addressed, which most of the reviews seem to spend a lot of words on. Historically, I think it's important to take a listen. There was some interesting orchestration and vocal writing, especially that a cappella vocal trio, which verged on getting out of control pitch wise at almost every moment. In the third act, Betram sings a primarily a cappella solo that made me sit up, mostly because Julius Eastman's "Prelude to Joan of Arc" is very similar. The main difference - Bertram was singing to the devil, and Eastman was singing Joan of Arcs words in translation. Not sure if Eastman was familiar with the Meyerbeer aria.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I have never heard a complete Meyerbeer opera, or even a full act of one! I'm about 40 minutes into the BBC recording of the ROH show. I agree, important to listen to this repertory, but I'm not sure whether I want to see a performance or not. The libretto is....kind of confusing.

Mary Jane Leach said...

The libretto is a mess, especially when you realize Robert is William the Conqueror's father. I'm glad I wasn't distracted by the visuals, though. Wait til you hear that trio!

Sibyl said...

Man, there's me always late to the party. I have been curious about Robert since childhood: its ballet of ghost nuns is fairly significant in ballet history, and etchings showing Marie Taglioni dancing it are central to my balletomaniac youth.