La Périchole

Music, Classical and opera
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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New York City Opera completes its blink-and-you'll-miss-it current season with four performances of this tuneful, exotic rarity by Offenbach, loosely based on the life of a Peruvian entertainer who carried on an illicit love affair with the head of state. The delicious Marie Lenormand stars in the title role, heading a cast that includes Philippe Talbot and Kevin Burdette; Emmanuel Plasson conducts in this Christopher Alden production.


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¡go! see this! Go the City Center and watch La Perichole!! Not being an opera fan, I went to accompany a good friend who had an extra ticket to friday's dress rehearsal. I was not prepared for the wit, magnificent performance, color, and splendor of the production--on a probably spartan budget. I am in awe. You will see what genius can do. Traditionalists may balk: this is high art tinged with burlesque. But you will forgive them their trepass, for they walk the high ground with the music and the singing. I loved each and every person who performed, but I want to kiss the madman who played the Viceroy. He is John Cleese and John Waters, skulking in a Lucha Libre and Fruit of the Looms, or in his finery which cannot hide his warped character...he's got a great act with a set of keys that --uhh! I won't spoil it, but damn. Hat's off to the man: incredible how he made such a character sympathetic. And I would kiss Piquillo, his mournful song while he is in the prison for recalcitrant husbands will cut you and make you weep. It's not an easy scene to watch and yet it is also hilarious. I was stunned at the two emotions running, like oil and water. I won't spoil it, but it is genius. Amid the laughter, I heard a woman behind me say she did not find it funny. And she is right: with such pain, torture, war, horrors, it is a luxury to be able to watch it in safety, knowing all will end well, that the set is paper and plastic and victims and tortureres can go have a beer afterwards. She knew: Torture exists. What can you do? do not forget that beauty exists and hope that beauty triumphs. Therefore, support City Center, watch La Perichole, and laugh or cry at the clever scene, and live in beauty and do not hurt anyone*, ever. The women are strong, the whole production is powerful, the actors and musicians are brilliant. I love the sets, costumes, everything. A "creep" factor runs through, it is therefore, rather true to life. *Support the ones to who it right: don't give a penny to the ones who do it wrong. There are plenty to boycott (GMOs, etc etc!) and there are plenty who do it right to support, like farmers' markets and people who bring beauty: support City Center. Go see La Perichole!!

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