Saturday, February 13, 2010

L'amour de loin

A few weeks back, I watched a DVD of a Finnish opera in French, called "L'amour de loin" (love from afar). Sounds strange, hey? Well, I got into it, and it was actually quite good. A lot to do with the fact that Dawn Upshaw was the principal singer, perhaps. I don't particularly like the way French sounds in opera - for reasons I don't understand, French opera is sung with a heavy, serious, old-fashioned accent. I don't know why a modern opera can't be sung in modern French. But I didn't let this spoil my enjoyment of Kaija Saariaho's opera. Directed by Peter Sellars, it's a feast for the eyes as well as the ears - really bare - initially I thought I would need more eye candy, but as soon as Dawn Upshaw appeared (not literally on stage, but high up on a spiral staircase), I was taken in. I'm not sure how it would sound without the visuals - I must play it some time without watching the DVD.

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