L'oiseau vert (detail) View full image

The closing of Cendrillon at the MET and Two openings in Paris for Laurent Pelly

It's a busy week for Laurent Pelly; Massenet's Cendrillon closed last Saturday after rave reviews at the Metropolitan Opera, New York and two of his productions open in Paris - tonight and tomorrow.

Eric C Simpson in Classical Review wrote - The Metropolitan Opera has found its sense of humor—in the person of Laurent Pelly. The long-overdue company premiere of Massenet’s Cendrillon...is the most enchanting, endearing, riotously funny comedy to appear on the Met’s stage in recent memory. 

Humor and fairy-tale fancy coexist beautifully in Pelly’s staging. The basic concept of the sets, delicately executed by Barbara de Limburg, is simple: white interior walls with double-doors frame the playing area, with sets of double doors serving as entrances through which various characters and extras make their sudden appearances,while smaller modules are wheeled on to create specific settings as needed. Aside from a stunning palace gate in gold for Act II, the only ornamentation is the text of Charles Perrault’s 1697 fairy tale printed across the walls—a touch nicely echoed by the motif of oversized storybooks that appear throughout the production.

The real heavy lifting in establishing the world of the opera is done by Pelly’s own marvelously whimsical costumes. The core of the style is Belle Époque with a fanciful twist, but the haute couture of this fairy-tale world is delightfully bizarre. One of the great comic coups of the evening is the parade of daffy debutantes in the Act II ball scene, each sporting a dress more absurd than the last as they bounce, sashay, and galumph their way into the royal presence. The extended ballet that follows, choreographed by Laura Scozzi, is a triumph of its own, a wonderfully zany sequence involving the entire company in whimsy. 

His theatre piece L'Oiseau Vert translated by Agathe Mélinand opens at Théâtre de Porte St Martin, Paris tonight with his production of L'heure et espagnole and Gianni Schicchi opening at the Bastille, Opéra de Paris tomorrow.