At the Rouen Normandie Opera, we could not bring ourselves to remove the large poster from the Tannhauser by Wagner, who still sits in the hall of the Theater des Arts. A highly anticipated production, which was to open with great fanfare an ambitious season. A huge 165 m plateau2, covering the orchestral ranks, was supposed to guarantee to the instrumentalists, coming out of the pit, an appropriate distance, while the public, still in small size at the time, was offered on giant screens, outdoors, a large Free broadcasting of the show, live from the cathedral square, as well as in various places in Normandy. But the virus screwed everything up. A few days before the premiere. One, then two cases, asymptomatic. Exit Wagner. “After all the cancellations due to the spring containment and the hope of a resumption this fall, this new abandonment was very hard to live with, concedes the dynamic Rouen director, Loïc Lachenal, also president of Forces musicales, the professional union of opera directors. Like many of his colleagues, he praises the teams’ capacity for resilience. “A kind of alternative programming has been set up everywhere, he notes, while streaming allowed us, and that’s fortunate, to keep artists working. “
This is the case with this new production of Clemency of Titus, by Mozart, supposed to mark, from November 12 to 15, the debut of Ben Glassberg, the new musical director of the Orchester de l’Opéra de Rouen Normandie. The 27-year-old Briton, principal conductor of the Glyndebourne Touring Opera and associate conductor of the Orchester National de Lyon, is a connoisseur of Mozart. This Clemenza was to continue the work started with the directors Jean-Philippe Clarac and Olivier Deloeuil, for whom he recently directed the Da Ponte trilogy (Les Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and So do all of them) at La Monnaie de Bruxelles. But the second confinement decided otherwise. Offering in compensation the unexpected: a complete discography. “We wondered whether or not to make a video capture, summarizes Loïc Lachenal, but we thought there were already a lot of them. So we had the idea of a recording. I called the artistic director of Alpha Classics, Didier Martin, and everything was decided in forty-eight hours. “
Scenario identical to the Opéra de Bordeaux, with Pelléas and Mélisande, by Debussy, recorded a few days earlier. Didier Martin found artistic director and technicians in record time. Luckily, the much-requested Daniel Zalay, also a musician and director at Radio France, who led the training in sound professions (FSMS) at the Paris Conservatory for more than fifteen years, was free. “The quality of the two vocal distributions, as well as the talent of the young conductors, Pierre Dumoussaud for Debussy, Glassberg for Mozart, were decisive, emphasizes Didier Martin. But also the fact that, in these times when we hardly did any more complete operas, this virus paradoxically allows us to rework the old way, in conditions of studio capture that we had lost, the recording generally consisting of two live takes followed by patch sessions. ” Voted “label of the year” by the ICMA (International Classical Music Awards), Alpha Classics should release both operas in the fall of 2021.
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