Magazine article Opera Canada

Brooklyn Academy of Music

Magazine article Opera Canada

Brooklyn Academy of Music

Article excerpt

No opera director knows better than Robert Carsen how to put on a good show, and that's just what he gave a cheering capacity audience at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on a perfect mid-April Sunday afternoon. The featured attraction was Andre Campra's opera-ballet of 1710, Les Fetes venitiennes, an alternately rollickingly rowdy and sensually seductive celebration of carnival time in Venice. In Carsen's vision of the genre-obligatory allegorical prologue, a ragtag group of modern-day tourists (wheeling baggage, snapping selfies) descends on a Venetian square. Who should pay them a surprise visit but giant, hoop-skirted, monkey-faced, basso-voiced Carnaval, soon joined by giddy Folly; their invitation to dress up and party proves irresistible, despite the pious efforts of Reason (in nun's habit) and her two monastic sidekicks. What follows are three entrees: a prince and his valet switch clothes to test the sincerity of the prince's ladylove; two jealous women join forces to foil their fickle suitor's wooing of a third; and a singer admired by a trio of men takes advantage of an opera-within-an-opera to be "abducted" by the one she truly loves. There's a royal ball, a gondola, dancing gondoliers and sheep, a deus-ex-machina descent from on high, all (and much more) rendered delightfully by Carsen and his production colleagues--Dutch choreographer Ed Wubbe and his Scapino Ballet, set designer Radu Boruzescu and costume designer Petra Reinhardt, all entering fully into the giddy spirit of the thing. …

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