Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Fantasio – Audience & Press Reactions

Mon Dec 16 2013

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Last night saw fresh life breathed into Offenbach’s lost opera Fantasio, and the first batch of reviews are in…

Classical Source had this to say: ‘With deceptive ease, Elder guided the score from Mendelssohnian fairy footsteps to moments of Berlioz-style grandeur, had a keen ear for how the music keeps pace with the libretto and was able to manipulate the mood from comic mischief to beguiling sentimentality – he had the work’s charm and personality to his fingertips – and there was a wonderfully transparent sheen to the OAE’s sound.’

And Michael Church from The Independent thought that Offenbach’s opera had been given a rough ride in his day but ‘with Mark Elder at the helm of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Opera Rara chorus, and with Sarah Connolly leading a first-rate line-up of soloists, it got a brilliant re-launch. Connolly was not called on to deploy her sulphurous dramatic power – her job was simply to look handsome en travesti as the disguised hero – but her nuanced singing was gracefully offset by the tumbling coloratura of Brenda Rae as the princess she had to woo. Meanwhile, revealing an unexpected talent, Elder did a nicely comic cameo from the rostrum as an apoplectic Parisian tailor.’

The Artsdesk couldn’t take their eyes off Sarah Connolly ‘She looked great in trousers – she always does‘ but
‘Just occasionally the score twiddles its thumbs, but the arias and ensemble numbers still build into a pretty treasurable jewel box’ and as for Brenda Rae ‘At first the voice was fragile. Then in Act Two, out came the gleaming coloratura trills and runs in the opera’s first show-stopping aria as the Princess’s feelings came to the boil.’

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