Multimedia Collection

The Love for Three Oranges

105 min
M1500 .P96 L782 2000 DVD

Opera in four acts with a prologue. Music and libretto by Sergei Prokofiev. French translation by the composer and Vera Janacopoulos; based on L'amore delle tre melarance, by Carlo Gozzi.

With neat, plain building-block designs by Jacques Rapp, Louis Erlo's energetically staged production of Prokefiev's surreal fairy tale for the Lyon Opera is full of cartoon characters and swift farce. Based on a play by Carlo Gozzi, THE LOVE FOR THREE ORANGES tells the story of a doleful hypochondriac Prince, who can only be cured through laughter. When he breaks into hysterics at the expense of the evil witch Fata Morgana, she curses him. His fate is to fall in love with three oranges.

Speed and good humor make the stage bristle with life, and Erlo's sunny conception is typified by the Prince, less on effete neurotic as Jean-Luc Viala plays him than a pure Danny DeVito figure, pear-shaped and peppery. One of Prokofiev's running jokes is the waring camps of opera-lovers who keep wanting to intervene from beyond the proscenium, and Erlo realizes this conceit very effectively, with the Lyon chorus clambering in and out of stage boxes and eventually invading the onstage action. Even the King, the great French bass Gabriel Bacquier, makes his entrance as a bumbling latecomer amid the front stalls.

Performers: Gabriel Bacquier; Jean-Luc Viala; Georges Gautier; Catherine Dubosc; Jules Bastin; supporting soloists; Lyon Opera Orchestra and Chorus ; Kent Nagano, conductor.

Sung in French, with English subtitles; originally in Russian.

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