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PARIS: Orlando Paladino (Haydn) at Theatre du Chatelet, was extraordinay good. I have never seen so good a combination between scenography, costumes, dancers, acrobats, singers, musicians. WOW. And the applause wouldnt stop, so they had to give two enchored, the last was definitely not prepared or planned, and became like a happening on stage. Wonderful.

Review by Henning Høholt

Alcina, the fairy, landing from the "heaven": Anna Goryachova n the center, right Ekaterina Bakanova as Angelica. Left Alcinas guard. Photo: Foto; Marie-Noëlle Robert. Scenography, costume: Nicolas Buffe.

Joseph Haydn: New production from the Théâtre du Châtelet: Orlando Paladino.

Following in the footsteps of some illustrious predecessors, not least Händel with his celebrated Orlando, Joseph Haydn and librettist Nunziato Porta were the next to relate the embroiled adventures of Ariosto’s hero.

In a piece combining elements of comedy, magic and heroism, the two authors conduct the action at a devil’s pace, its virtuoso delivery being not without its similarities to Rossini.

Orlando paldino, first act. In the tower: Ekaterina Bakanova as Angelica, the Princess. Foto; Marie-Noëlle Robert. Scenography, costume: Nicolas Buffe.

It seems that it has been a very playfull and fruitfull cooperation between the three outstanding “players”, Kamel Ouali, regi and choreography, Nicolas Buffe, scenography, costumes and the visuall conception, and last, but not least, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, musicality in making this production. Very well helped by the brilliant and playfull light by Renaud Corler.

Pasquale, (Bruno Taddia) is entering in this transport "monster" . The person here is a model.

I enjoyed the very many, but not too many, creasy ideas on stage, inclusive the different transportation bicycles, scooters, cars, and the twisting transparent tower in the first act. Furthermore the sea in the second act, which reminds me of old days scenery at Drottningholm Court Theatre by Stockholm, Sweden. And even with the same type of “sound”.

Furthermore the ballet and the acrobatic events, which only entertained, lifted up some parts of the “entertainments” and didn´t disturbe.  – In this playfull cooperation, notthing was too much. (But I hate, when I see in other performances notice that the stage director don´t trust in the music, and are starting putting in effects to make the stage alive). Here the good action was underlining the playfull production.

Krešimir Špicer´s long and beautifull aria in the last act was a hit.

Sincerelly I do hope that Theatre du Chatelet will put this production back on stage again, so an even much larger audience would get the possibility to enjoy it.

A very good art book presenting  Nicolas Buffe´s art is awailable in the bookshops. Buy it. It is good!!!

In the outstanding cast we enjoyed:

Direction musicale: Jean-Christophe Spinosi

Orlando Paladino, first scene second act. On the bridge: Kresimir Spicer as Orlando paladino. Photo: Marie-Noëlle Robert


Mise en scène et chorégraphie: Kamel Ouali
Conception visuelle et costumes: Nicolas Buffe
Lumières: Renaud Corler

Orlando: ( alternating ) Krešimir Špicer, at the Sunday performance that i attended. /David Curry

Kresimir Spicer was singing the part of Orlando on March 17, 21 & 25.
David Curry was singing the part of Orlando on March 19 & 23.

Angelica: Ekaterina Bakanova
Rodomonte: Joan Martín-Royo
Medoro: Pascal Charbonneau
Licone: ( en alternance ) David Curry on my performance /Krešimir Špicer
Eurilla: Raquel Camarinha

Anegelica and Medoro: Ekaterina Bakanova and Pascal Charbonneau. Photo: Marie-Noëlle Robert


Pasquale: Bruno Taddia
Alcina: Anna Goryachova
Caronte: Adam Palka

I also want to mention the names of the acrobates, dancers, and the jumping wader:

Acrobates: Compagnie des Farfadais – outstanding.


Danseurs: Marjorie Ascione, Delphine Attal, Cécile Chaduteau, Iskai Davis, David Drouard, Fly, France Hervé, Medhi Ouacheck, Geoffrey Ploquin, Gaëtan Renaudin, Salem Sobihi, Nadine Timas, Alexandre Zounoun.

The jumping wader: Louis Fait.

Wild with desire for the princess Angelica, the paladin Orlando is intent on thwarting the love of the young woman for her betrothed, Medoro. His squire, Pasquale, seizes on the opportunity to woo the shepherdess, Eurilla, while the boastful knight, Rodomonte, becomes Angelica’s protector and the sorceress, Alcina, watches over the lovers’ happiness.

The work:

Rodomonte: Joan-Martin Royo, surrounded by left David Curry as Licone and right raquel Camarinha as Eurilla. Photo: Marie-Noëlle Robert

Composed by Joseph Haydn and staged in 1782 after the libretto by Nunziato Porta, his usual librettist, this comic heroic drama inspired by Ariosto’s work was already part of the particularly “comic” opera repertory in 18th century musical theatre.

Intended to celebrate the visit of the Grand Duke Paul of Russia to Eszterháza in 1782, and staged for the festival of St. Nicholas (Patron Saint of Prince Eszterházy), Orlando Paladino was staged 30 times after its creation before becoming Haydn’s most popular opera, thereby taking him across Europe between 1791 and 1798.

As testimony to its widespread circulation, thirteen German copies and eight Italian copies of the score still remain in existence. But it was the publication of the critical edition, in 1972, which marked its big come-back to the international stage, in the early 80s.

It provides for irresistible entertainment, whose virtuosity and happy combination of serious and comedic, magic and heroic, is somewhat reminiscent of Rossini…

Ncolas Buffe´s oriental phantasy world is the surrounding around Orlando paladino. Photo: Antoine Piechaud.

Nicolas Buffe describes his world:

Ornament, grotesques
My work inherits its structure from the Roman grotesques, those ornaments rediscovered during the Renaissance in the ruins of Emperor Nero’s Golden Villa. Grotesques permit great freedom of work: improbable encounters, cumulative imagery, negation of spaces and fusion of species, the manipulation of weightiness of form and an insolent proliferation of hybrids. Far from being senseless, these juxtapositions permit great depth of iconological and iconographical debate.

Discoveries, DIY and a mix of erudite culture and pop culture
Joining, sticking, combining figures taken from popular and erudite culture, I proceed by producing the most eloquent associations according to whim. The dialogue between past and present, which is deeply ingrained in my work, is tantamount to entertainment. However, as during the Renaissance, it is a serious game that I strive to produce, one that questions and stimulates thought.

Nicolas Buffe is represented by galerie Schirman & de Beaucé.

Jean-Christophe Spinosi is conducting the playfull performance. Photo: Genestier.

Jean-Christophe Spinosi reacquaints himself here with some characters who are familiar to him, thanks to his having directed and recorded them in the Vivaldi version for his Orlando furioso. He forms a team with choreographer, Kamel Ouali,

Kamel Ouli, stage director and choreographer. Photo: DR

to whom Le Châtelet has already played host for the stage production of Gérard Pesson’s Pastorale, and Kamel Ouali is this time also responsible for stage direction. Combining comics, cartoons and manga with the unbridled energy of Renaissance grotesqueries and other ornamental exuberances, visual artist, Nicolas Buffe, transports us into a world where pop and classical culture merge to become one.

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