dimanche 5 février 2012

Lesson from the past from France's wonderful Video Archive Ina

YouTune is not the only place where it is possible to find some treasures from the past. I recommend French-speaking readers to go to the wonderful archive site of France's Insitut National de L'audiovisuel.

I will come back with more documents as I explore what they have but have already found an excerpt of the Cosi Fan Tutte done in 1983 with Daniel Barenboim conducting his Orchestre de Paris. Staging was done by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. Cast included (by memory) Julia Varady, J Rodgers, D Rendall and the Don Alfonso of Carlos Feller was a mastery of casting.

This was for many and for me a revelatory performance at a time where the Opera de Paris was going from scandal to scandal. (Have a look at the paragraph "Les éphémères" in the Opera de Paris Wikipedia page). This performance reminded or taught many in France of what homogeneous Opera performance where all contribute and participate to a single unified concept can be. And it took the leadership of Hugues Gall who brought his professionalism from Geneva Grand Théatre to the "Grande Boutique".

There is another treasure which is an interview of Patrice Chéreau commenting on the sacking of Daniel Barenboim by Pierre Bergé.

I already spoke about this which was a shocking event when I was younger and lived in Paris in an earlier post called: La mémoire courte or Short memory. Chéreau has a great point which is to say that there should be no reason for every new incoming political group to systematically reverse every decision done by their predecessor. He then refers to the two ministers of culture of the time, François Léotard and Jack Lang. You cannot run either a country or a company an Opera House or ... if you switch courses systematically.

What Chéreau is saying echoes what my old country is going through right now with the upcoming presidential elections. The purpose of this blog is not to take a position the two candidates but to highlight that it is a political tradition to take the systematic counter position that the opposition is taking. May it be in economy or in arts, there is no need to describe the disastrous impact of such dogmatism. And do I need to add that I am sorry for my old country bad habits ...

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