Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Bastille

Here's a first for the Buces: after all these years, we finally made it last night to the Bastille Opera House in Paris.   Takeaway, it's wonderful.  We'd heard the stories about its scandalous growing pains and also had a vague sense that theg'd turned things around.  The vague sense was right.  Just about everything here is first rate: great acoustics, comfortable seating, big stage.  Although that last could be a problem: the stage actually feels better than the Met, though perhaps only because in a somewhat smaller auditorium.  And the secondary stuff:  helpful staff, convenient signage.  And you walk right in from the Metro, with no risk of winding up in the wrong place.

Apparently some folks still complain that it doesn't look enough like the grand old confectionary of the Palais Garnier downtown.  And they have a point: the Bastille biuilding has all the charm of a Holiday Inn express.  But at least a wel-designed Holiday Inn Express, with findable rest rooms 

The performance--well, pretty good, actually.  Bellini's I Capuletti d I Montecchi, with a capable cast, albeit not the same as the show-stopper with Natalie Dessay and Nicole Cabell at San Francisco a couple of years back.  The staging here at the Bastille was something else again: evidently it's a much-repeated and much-admired rendition. But it struck us as pretty flat.  Maybe our tastes have ben jaded by HD.

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