Yes, that can be strange but this week end, I bring you to classical music or, I must say, light opera from the 19th century. Here is one of the best opera from Jacques Offenbach, La Belle Hélène (The Beautiful Helen). The plot is quite simple: Paris will arrive to take “his prize” (won after the famous “who is the most beautiful?!?!!?!” challenge by the three goddesses) but finds a Helen who doesn’t like her husband, a husband a little bit too “out of order” and priest very annoyed by Venus who is asking by everyone, him, priest for… Jupiter!
I particularly love this version of this opera because the singers are just amazing, the costumes incredible and I have to say that I really really like the work of Marc Minkowski. Well… the only version with subtitles found on YouTube (and embedding) is with German subtitles… but you can easily watch on YouTube extracts in English: Go to Creta, patriotic duet, it’s just a dream and the finale.
I warmly advise you to watch these videos (if your German is… rusted) because, actually, this is it: Offenbach work is fun, messy and served with brilliant music!
Orchestra and chorus: Les Musiciens du Louvre – Grenoble, directed by Marc Minkowski
Direction: Laurent Pelly
Main Performers: Dame Felicity Lott, Yann Beuron, François le Roux, Laurent Naouri and Michel Sénéchal
Interesting fact: Felicity Lott doesn’t speak French but all the role is in French. I can tell that, as French native speaker, her French is really perfect! Even better than a lot of French native speakers singers!
You can find the DVD on Amazon (that displays English subtitles)