Sunday, January 18, 2009


I never thought i'd say this; but i so wish i was in Washington, DC. -now...or in a fiew weeks - January 29th. When those who are lucky enough to be thereabouts can see - given that it's not sold out - William Sharp and Dominique Labelle in Monsigny's lyric drama "Le Désérteur" (1769) at the Kennedy Center with Ryan Brown and Opera Lafayette; a conductor and an orchestra i discovered a couple of years ago when they made an excellent recording of Antonio Sacchini's 1786 opera "Oedipe à Colone" for Naxos...

Monsigny by Carmontelle

The composer Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny (1729-1817) was -along with Grétry and Gossec that i mentioned in a recent post - a giant in his own time, but virtually forgotten and rarely performed today and recordings are nonexistent, and "Le Déserteur" was a huge success - it's about "the resourceful heroine Louise who wins a pardon from the king for her fiancé Alexis who is accused of desertion from the army after he was tricked into believing she had married another..." (excerpt of text from the Kennedy Center) Here's a clip i found on youtube with bits from a performance at the Théâtre Impérial de Compiègne in 1994:

Needless to say how much i love this music - it makes me nostalgic somehow - reminds me of performances at Drottningholm in my childhood - and everything else i love about the 18th century, though Monsigny hasn't been performed there in modern times - but was in the 18th century - for example, in honour of Queen Sophia-Magdalena on Magdalene's day, July 22 in 1779 when Monsigny's "La Belle Arsène" was performed.

Ingmar Bergman filmed his "Magic flute" at Drottningholm, and i watched it constantly as a child, -that, along with Scola's "La Nuit de Varennes" and Carné's "Les enfants du Paradis" -i still have the tapes, and they always transport me back...even though it wasn't a very happy childhood...but that had more to do with the world around me - just as it does now...
I will be going on an on about Drottningholm and it's environs, in many, many future posts...

All illustrations courtesy of Réunion des Musées Nationaux.


Circe said...

Tutta, dear:

Firstly, I must compliment the mise en scene of your new header! Gorgeous! Secondly, the DC Opera scene has been in past very exclusive seemingly to the point of hush hush, so I'm impressed! Third of all, have you ever been to Washington? I'm surprised to hear you say that you'd thought you would never want to come; I think D.C. has a lot to offer you! Many museums and private galleries... and you do realize the city was designed by L'Enfant?
(If you should ever decide to come, let me know! Coffee (or should I say Tea?) is on me!) ;)


SILVER said...

i am so impressed with your posts and the pix you have selected are just gorgeous.


A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

T -
'La Nuit de Varennes' is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite movies and it is impossible to find here, unless you want to buy a used tape on the internet. I don't understand why they don't put it out on DVD. Is it available in the European format there? Not that it would do me any good here, but I was just wondering.

Anonymous said...

I understand that Dominique will be at Drottningholm this coming August. Not doing Monsigny, but Handel.

Tutta Rolf said...

then i'll definitely be there too!
How did you find out about this?

Anonymous said...

She told me. :-)

P.S. I hope to be there, too... in the audience.

......... Jim

Lauren said...

oh I love it! Thanks for posting this- I really do need to expand my musical horizon!

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