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Robert le diable at the Royal Opera

Robert le diable was very interesting for me on so many counts. In David Cairns' biography of Hector Berlioz, there was a lot of mention of Meyerbeer in Paris at the time - yet I'd no exposure to Meyerbeer's operas. Then a friend of mine said "there are reasons why some operas don't get performed much - they weren't any good". And there was my sheer curiosity to be exposed to one of the first "grand operas".

So, voila, Robert le diable at the Royal Opera. Laurent Pelly's new production was grand. Lots of movements and textures. Lots of people. The cast of many sang well - and in particular Bryan Hymel. Not sure whether the "ballet" worked in the middle act - it was dancing around lots of obstacles.

And how was it in the end? There was not a dull moment. Musically? No, it's no match for later grand operas. But then one has to put this pioneering work into context. For sure, one felt entertained for the evening. Perhaps it's time to review other grand operas.


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