Les Huguenots. (DVDs)

Article excerpt

Meyerbeer

Leech, Denning, Capasso, Peacock, Blasius, Welker, Carlson, Chorus and Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Stefan Soltesz, conductor. John Dew, stage director; Brian Large, video director. Arthaus Musik: 106 157 (1 DVD/156 minutes). **(*)

Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots holds the distinction of being the first opera to be performed more than 1,000 times at the Paris Opera. During the last century, however, his work fell into virtual oblivion. Performances of Les Huguenots--perhaps his most memorable score--are rare, and director John Dew's radical 1987 production (taped here in 1991 on the 200th anniversary of the composer's death) was a triumph with the international critics.

While the opera speaks of the religious tensions between the Huguenots and the Catholics in the late 16th century, including the events leading up to the infamous St. Bartholomew massacre m which over 3,000 Huguenots were slaughtered, Dew chose to set his updated production in the divided city of Berlin, with the Berlin Wall as a chilling backdrop to the execution of the Huguenots. …