My Fair Lady in surprise Lausanne Opera staging

Music, Classical and opera
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My Fair Lady
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My Fair Lady at Lausanne Opera

A social satire at the opera spruced up for the holidays

Instead of the usual opera fare of Offenbach or von Weber for the end of year festivities, Lausanne Opera brings us My Fair Lady, one of the world’s best loved musicals. In a lively staging that combines opera, theatre and dance, Alan Jay Lerner’s light-hearted interpretation of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, set to the music of Frederick Loewe, might almost seem like a provocation on a stage dedicated to opera.

But Lausanne Opera director, Eric Vigié, has proven time and time again that he wants his audiences to have fun. He has entrusted not an opera specialist, but Jean Liermier, who heads the Théâtre de Carouge in Geneva, to bring us the musical with the original lyrics in English and the theatre dialogues in French.

The irresistible Eliza Doolittle, Marie-Ève Munger, and deliciously macho Professor Higgins, played by François Le Roux, will be singing their way through all those songs that many of us could probably sing in our sleep.

Remember ‘The Rain in Spain’ or ‘I could have danced all night’…

Forget Julie Andrews and Audrey Hepburn, just for now, and enjoy a social satire spruced up for the holidays.

By: Michele Laird

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Kate S

Eliza, Freddie and Mrs Higgins were great, the rest of the cast rather disappointing, particularly Pickering, who had a lovely voice but very poor diction which, given the storyline, was fairly disastrous.  Higgins presumably can sing but chose to imitate Rex Harrison, who couldn't.  Unfortunately, he lacked the charm and charisma of Rex Harrison.  Had I been Eliza I would have chosen Freddie for the sheer beauty of his voice, since the other two contenders had nothing to offer!  Worst of all was the attempt at a Cockney accent - no-one managed it successfully.  Mr Doolittle made Dick van Dyck in Mary Poppins sound comparatively convincing!  It must be difficult in Lausanne, but surely they could have found a voice coach from somewhere.  The sets were largely weak and dull, although the self-propelled armchair was fun.  The lighting was poor and the cast seemed unsure about where they should be on the stage.  The costumes were inconsistent, as if the designer couldn't decide exactly when the play was to be set.  The whole thing seemed generally under-rehearsed and lacked strong overall direction.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed our evening.