Recording Date: 2000
Place of recording: Live from Théâtre Musical de Paris, Châtelet
Running Time: 127 min
Picture Format: 16:9
Sound Format: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Menu Languages NTSC: I
Subtitle Languages NTSC: D, F, GB, I, SP
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Staged and costumed by Laurent Pelly, with sets by Chantal Thomas and choreography by Laura Scozzi , this production of La Belle Hélène never forgets for one moment that Offenbach’s parody of the origins of the Trojan war -clearly recognisable in his day as a satire on the moral laxity of Second Empire high society- is, above all, a supreme manifestion of his comic genius. From start to fi nish it combines a musically superb performance with a stream of visual humour that flows from Pelly’s core idea that the action all takes place in the imagination of a sleeping, sex-starved, suburban housewife.
Dame Felicity Lott is magnifi cent as the woman who gets into bed beside her somnolent old husband and dreams of being the most beautiful woman in the world, entangled in amorous adventures with the virile young Paris, tastily portrayed by Yann Beuron. And just as dreams do not respect the normal limitations of logic, time and place, so her nighttime fantasies combine the everyday with the mythical, and muddle up Greece, ancient and modern.
“Director Laurent Pelly mixes ancient and modern wonderfully in an Hélène that mocks the ageless human sexual itch. Leading a headline cast, Felicity Lott is witty and winsome as Hélène.”
“The production is even more extreme, everything happening as if in the dream of a suburban housewife, played by Dame Felicity Lott with her usual mixture of restraint and comic irony. Yann Beuron is a salty Paris, and the presence of Michel Sénéchal, François Le Roux and again Laurent Naouri ensures that vocal values triumph over some of the excesses of the production.”
“The whole production fizzes and has touches of romantic naughtiness which only the French can bring off with real style...Favouring brisk speeds and light textures, using the period instruments of Les Musiciens du Louvre, Marc Minkowski gives a winning sparkle to this delectable send-up of the classical story.”
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