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Your Reaction: L’Étoile

What did you think of Mariame Clément's production of Chabrier's bonkers comic opera?

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

2 February 2016 at 11.36am | 21 Comments

Press reviews:
Londonist ★★★★
Guardian ★★★
Evening Standard ★★★
The Stage ★★★
WhatsOnStage ★★★
Time Out ★★★
Arts Desk ★★★
Telegraph ★★
Bachtrack ★★
Independent ★★

What did you think of L’Étoile?
Let us know via the comments below.

L’Étoile runs 1–24 February 2016. Tickets are still available.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

2 February 2016 at 11.36am

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by Mariame Clément, L'Étoile, Production, review, Social Media, twitter, your reaction

This article has 21 comments

  1. Coppelia responded on 2 February 2016 at 12:08pm Reply

    I won't pretend to know what was happening 100% of the time but it didn't really matter. More than a few laugh out loud moments and an eye-catching Pythonesque set. Kate Lindsey brilliant as usual. At least a three and a half star evening. Respect to Chris Addison for having the balls to tread the ROH stage.

  2. A mighty thanks to Sarah Lenton for the most insightful and entertaining pre-performance talk about L'Etoile. We left the Clore Studio intrigued and inspired and, as a result, this "opera bouffe" turned out to be an unexpected delight. Is it a co-production? I would love to see this work by Mariame Clement, a Parisian, in Paris. Merci encore!

  3. Michael Steel responded on 2 February 2016 at 4:03pm Reply

    Brave of ROH to stage it and it looked a picture,throughout. It might be unfair to compare an opera bouffe to a comic opera but the ROH productions, in recent years, of The Barber and La Fille du Regiment were much funnier and with far better music and singing.

  4. Stephen Cutler responded on 2 February 2016 at 4:45pm Reply

    I'd have to rate this as just about the most tedious three hours I have ever spent at the Royal Opera House. It was pretty, and well enough done, but I cannot begin to imagine why anyone thought this was worth spending the ROH's time and money on.

    • Geoff responded on 8 February 2016 at 10:46pm

      >>the most tedious three hours I have ever spent at the Royal Opera House

      Well said! I should have left at the interval: it didn't get any better and the second half is longer than the first. At least during something like Keith Warner's miserable Ring (rumoured to be returning again, who knows why) one has the music of Wagner to carry the evening.

  5. I am absolutely intrigued by many negative reviews from the opera critics. They sound as if Royal Opera should run only operas approved by them, opras such as Wagner, Piccini or Mozart. If so, RO could be quite boring.

    I am going to see this on 6th and look forward to what I will find.

  6. Is it Sod's Law that states that the shows you are most looking forward to are the ones destined to disappoint the most? I've loved this work since I first encountered the Gardiner recording 30 years ago, and I have such fond memories of visits to Nottingham and Hull to see the Opera North production in the early 1990s (and of the Guildhall students' production in 2002 starring Kate Royal). The point of these reminiscences is that I know that when everything is 'just so', L'Etoile is a joyous, hilarious, life-enhancing work: last night, it wasn't... quite. The production was over-fussy, yes, but its heart was in the right place and unecessary thought they were, I didn't find Messrs. Addison and Vincent annoyingly intrusive. The fault was simply failing to trust the audience to get their enjoyment as the composer intended. Vocal performances were all adequate, and I thought the Lazuli of Kate Lindsay was the best I've seen overall. No, imperfect perhaps, but in themselves, I can't pin my disappointment on cast or director. Which sadly leads me to conclude that it was the musical direction that left the void in my heart. It's always dangerous to have only one recording of a piece, as you can easily be led to think there's only one way to interpret the music: however, Sir Mark Elder seemed to be either taking too much care not to lose synchronisation between stage and pit, or to be overindulgently enjoying the beauty of the music at the expense of the drama. This may be opera bouffe rather than Viennese operetta, but it needed more 'fizz' and less chartreuse. I'm going again near the end of the run - let's hope it has tightened up by then.

  7. John Saxon Jones responded on 3 February 2016 at 11:40am Reply

    I'm afraid I was reminded of a not very good production by the old D'Oyly Carte Opera Company of "Utopia Limited" - but performed in the vast spaces of the ROH.
    That dire 'can-can' will linger in my memory for years I'm afraid.
    The stars didn't twinkle for me.

  8. David Cleverley responded on 3 February 2016 at 3:36pm Reply

    Personally I loved it, like cross between a Pantomime & Monty Python with great music and voices.

  9. Iain Henderson responded on 3 February 2016 at 6:48pm Reply

    I genuinely enjoyed the entire production. Like others I wasn't entirely certain what was happening all the time but the nature of the satire, the clever production design and the commitment of the performers made those moments simply enjoyable fun.
    Would love to see more Operetta and Light Opera at the ROH in future seasons.

  10. Tom responded on 3 February 2016 at 9:14pm Reply

    I didn't know what to expect so just went for an evening of entertainment. There were times when I lost the plot for a few moments, other times when it seemed to go a bit slow, but overall it was a very enojyable evening.
    Good performances by all on stage and in the pit, a bit of fun, colourful scenery and costumes, much more preferable than some weird arty productions of better known operas that we have been subjected to in recent years.

  11. Toni Wang responded on 4 February 2016 at 9:42am Reply

    My overall reaction is "ROH, are you kidding?!" Staging and production was cheap. If not for the singing, I would have left at intermission. Very disappointed. Multiple levels below Tosca and the likes. Was expecting better of a show on the main stage!

  12. Rabbie responded on 4 February 2016 at 2:53pm Reply

    David Coronel has it just right. Add the New Sussex Opera 2013 show at Cadogan Hall and the Laurent Pelly 2014 production at Dutch National Opera (worth the journey and same Ouf, Louala and.... and a rather more impressive impalement chair). But on Monday we saw it from close to the stage and that made all the difference.
    Even one of the sour reviewers said he'd be happy to hear it again the next day. A glorious score lovingly played. I'm going again soon (and we brought along a miniature of Chartreuse Verte for the interval - disgusting)

  13. I thoroughly enjoyed the opera! The music is wonderful, the cast are great and how vivid and warm the stage set and costumes are!

    I strongly believe that one of RO's tasks is that they should always offer us the huge range of operas. Opera is not only Wangner or Puccini, but L’Étoile. You may not like it, but if you miss this, you will miss a rare opportunity to have a good laugh at ROH.

  14. Andrew responded on 8 February 2016 at 11:28am Reply

    A really refreshing and joyous evening at the Royal Opera House. It's a real shame that this wasn't filmed as I would have loved to own it on DVD/blu-ray, or taken my friends to a cinema encore.

    This was never going to be Wagner, and all the better for it. There's a time for drama and aching dissonance. And there's a time for silliness, cheap laughs, and just lovely music. The idea that some feel let down because it didn't compare well to Tosca is just absurd... is Love Actually a bad film because it wasn't as good as Schindler's List?

    I sympathise with the comments of those who feel the production tampered with something that is so rarely seen in its pure form. It's unfortunate. But as someone who wasn't very familiar with the opera beforehand, I truly enjoyed the quirky sets and modern twists of commentary.

  15. Margaret responded on 8 February 2016 at 6:45pm Reply

    This was a fun evening - not that common at ROH! We enjoyed the imaginative production and laughed out loud. It's the sort of performance that should draw in a younger audience - a good thing! On the musical front, Kate Lindsey was excellent. To us Sir Mark seemed pretty much in charge, and it was nice to see him engaging with the repartee.

  16. Stephen Ratcliffe responded on 16 February 2016 at 1:53pm Reply

    Saw the show last night and enjoyed it. Maybe it has improved as the run has gone on. Humour was occasionally flat footed but the music was gorgeous and generally well sung.

  17. A miraculous achievement, to make the space of the ROH seem intimate and charming: from the first lightness of attack in the orchestra - with Sir Mark Elder making the score speak with each exquisite detail, the production was on a sure footing, and never lost it, framed in direct, delightfully pretty designs. Most of all, the relaxed, natural performances, in which comedy, vocal beauty and agility were held perfectly in balance, meant that no effect was ever strained for: as a result, this souffle bewitched and enchanted. Quite lovely.

  18. Jane H responded on 24 February 2016 at 11:22pm Reply

    Brilliant! Crazy and fun! This is where Moliere meets the French foreign legion and Monty Python.. I LOVED it... It is so refreshing to see such a production and I would welcome more like this from the ROH- not everyone wants to see the heavier Wagners and Boris Godunovs etc. This brings in a wider, younger audience and those of all ages with a sense of humour. Excellent cast. Addison was superb, Kate Lindsey- fantastic. Staging and music- excellent. I would love to see this again- maybe with Palin or Cleese to really enhance the Monty Python elements? Well done, ROH!

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