Wednesday, January 30, 2013

“Unfunny Camp Is Contemptible”

I believe the borrowed iconography for this tableau from the “David et Jonathas” staging we saw in Paris speaks for itself. Any reasonably intelligent person can see instantly the subtext of the director’s intended message.

It was hard for us to gauge the reaction of the Paris audience to the production. Applause was polite but not fulsome—and nothing like the extended and enthusiastic outpouring of gratitude for the “Khovanshchina” performance we attended two nights later.

Of course, “Khovanshchina” is a far greater work than “David et Jonathas”—and “Khovanshchina” had been superbly cast and superbly performed, whereas “David et Jonathas” had been weakly cast and weakly performed. Such easily may account for the differing public receptions.

The local reviews I was able to track down for “David et Jonathas” were not illuminating. Not one writer had anything intelligent or worthwhile to say either about the musical presentation or the stage presentation.

It is possible that the Paris press covered the production more fully when it was unveiled last summer at the Aix-En-Provence Festival, and therefore saw no need to rehash the production on its reappearance in the capital.

However, I am skeptical that the production was ever adequately addressed by the French press. (In fairness, I must add that French critics may have believed the production too unimportant to address at any length.)

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