Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

Tu parles à Dieu en musique: Il va te répondre en musique

May 07, 2009


I’ve decided that instead of writing another snarky post about the less than exciting play I saw this evening, I’d focus on something positive instead. I got home from said play to discover something very exciting in the mail. It’s the new Opus Arte DVD release of Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise filmed live at De Nederlandse Opera in 2008. I was in Amsterdam during one of the three live performances that make up this superb three disc set and in watching it again, I’m even more impressed. Right now I’m watching the incredible fifth tableau where the angel plays the viol for St. Francis to demonstrate what awaits for him in heaven in response to which he collapses in ecstasy. Wow. I had some reservations about Rod Gilfry in the title role on my first pass, but seeing it again, I’m rather fond of his acting and his performance overall. The Pierre Audi staging has a distinct and engaging look that is both modern but in touch with the spiritual underpinning of the work. Besides, given that this is the only commercially available video of this late 20th-century masterpiece, you’d be foolish to pass it by. Even on video it’s rather overwhelming and intensely beautiful. Buy it now.


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