ABR Arts’s long day’s journey into operatic night continued with three familiar productions, one of them new to the Metropolitan Opera.
Jules Massenet’s fifteenth opera (April 24, ★★★★) is largely unknown to modern audiences, but its neglect is a mystery, for this version of Charles Perrault’s 1697 fairy tale (based on a libretto by Henri Caïn) contains much enchanting music and several delicious roles for the female voice. Premièred in 1899, it ended a decade that had produced Werther (1892), Manon (1894), and Thaïs (1894). The score, one of Massenet’s most original, contains distinct hints of Wagner, Offenbach, Strauss, and Debussy.
According to the Met’s program, this is a new production; but we all know the Met can be cavalier about what’s happening elsewhere. Operagoers with the patience of Edward Casaubon will have eventually gleaned that this is in fact a revival of Laurent Pelly’s production, which premièred at the Santa Fe Opera Festival in 2006 and moved to Covent Garden in 2011. (The latter season was captured on DVD.)