- Actores: William Christie, Bernard Richter, Stéphanie d'Oustrac, Emmanuelle de Negri, u.a.
- Directores: Francois Roussillon
- Formato: Clásica, Dolby, DVD Audio, DVD, Pantalla completa, NTSC, Importación
- Audio: Francés (DTS 5.1)
- Subtítulos: Inglés, Francés, Alemán, Español, Italiano
- Región: Todas las regiones
- Relación de aspecto: 1.78:1
- Número de discos: 2
- Calificación FSK: Para todos los públicos. No se nos ha facilitado la calificación española por edades (ICAA), pero puedes consultarla en la página oficial del ICAA. Las calificaciones por edad y/o versiones de otros países no siempre coinciden con la española. Más información sobre las diferentes calificaciones por edad.
- Estudio: FRA Musica (harmonia mundi)
- Duración: 195 minutos
- ASIN: B005LL4U4A
- Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon: nº78.606 en Cine y Series TV (Ver el Top 100 en Cine y Series TV)
Atys (Lully) [Reino Unido] [DVD]
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Tanto piacque l’Atys a Luigi XIV che dalla corte fu rappresentata all’Académie Royale de Musique; con le sue danze e l’alta espressività del canto spopolò e divenne oggetto di molte parodie. Uno tra i capolavori del sodalizio fra Lully e il librettista Quinault. Bernard Richter, Stéphanie d’Oustrac, Emmanuelle de Negri; Les Arts Florissants
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Atys is the fourth Tragedie en Musique by Lully and the very gifted poet Philippe Quinault. (The first written by this team Les Fetes de l'Amour et de Bacchus is a pastoral) By the time of this score the subplots and comedic intrusions, so common in Italian Opera at the time, had all but diappeared in Lully's writing. The drama was enhanced so much that in the finale, the death of Atys by his own hand is truly tragic. There are now DVDs available of several of Luly's works, among them are Cadmus et Hermione, Persee' and the comedie-ballet Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme written with Moliere. All are very enjoyable and highly recommended. I am particularly enthused by the production of Persee'. It is a great pleasure to have all of these to enjoy that we read about in that music class of many years ago.
For those who are new to the French Baroque, this music may have a certain peculiarity to its style, but it is lovely, expressive and can be excitingly sophisticated. Many have commented on the all very important and beautiful dream sequence in Act 3 (where Atys was first told of and then warned of Cebele's demanding affection). The quarrel and reconciliation between Atys and Sangaride in Act IV starts as recitative that naturally flows into a heart-breaking duet - somewhere in their hearts, the two lovers knew that there would be no tomorrow for them. I also love Cebele's music - her entrance at the end of Act 1 is permeated with a regal, ceremonial air; her laments at the end of Act 3 (when she first had the suspicion of the love between Atys and Sangaride) and Act 5 (over Atys' tragic death) are both very touching and show her startlingly human side. Unusual for Baroque operas, Quinault's libretto (excluding the prologue) does not fool around with secondary characters or irrelevant subplots. Every scene in it pushes the story forward; every bit of it makes perfect theatrical sense - its integrity and compactness is unparallelled even in Lully and Quinault's canon.
William Christie directs Les Arts Florissants with elan and understanding. His cast is uniformly strong. The clear-voiced Atys, played by the impressive young tenor Bernard Richter, is ever alert to the musical dynamics and the dramatic situations of his character; his final scene is especially powerful. Stephanie d'Oustrac's Cebele uses less vocal embellishment than Guillemette Laurens in the original 1987 sound recording, but she phrases and colors her tone with meaning; her acting is deeply felt. Similarly, Emmanuelle de Negri's portrayal of Sangaride is exquisitely detailed (perhaps more so in her acting than singing). Her betrothed, King Celenus is authoritatively played by Nicolas Rivenq (he played this role in the 1987 production), though vocally he is less fresh than usual. The chorus sings with clear diction and finds different shades in each emotion that it is called on to project.
The set and costumes are beautifully designed and crafted, full of details (indeed, sumptuous is the word). I have no problem that the stage and all the performers are dressed up in Louis XIV's court style, because Melpomene, the muse of tragedy, says earlier in the prologue that Cebele wants her to present this story, to commemorate Atys. The show itself is thus a retelling of the legend, making a style that honors Lully's time and culture no less appropriate than any other. (In fact, the 17 century court style gives the director more means to suggest the state of mind of characters, for example, when Atys and Sangaride shed their wigs in the final act, you know that they no longer considered themselves part of the Cebele-Phrygian establishment.) Jean-Marie Villegier's stage direction is clearly originated from the text; rich, potent, and sensitive, it enhances the musical experience very nicely. Dancing elements, so important to French Baroque operas, are relatively suppressed in Atys (a sound judgment by the authors), but whenever given space (as in the dream sequence), they gently flourish and add much to the pleasure.
Lully virtually invented French opera, after working for some time in collaboration with Moliere on music for stage plays. Lully lived in the golden age of French drama, and had excellent texts available to set to music. William Christie wrote his dissertation in America on the role of declamation and rhetoric in French opera, before going to France and putting his theories into practice. The result has been a resurrection of French baroque style. The 1989 revival of ATYS after two hundred years of dormancy was an important event in that revival, and the current blu-ray documents the 2011 reincarnation of that production with the same director, who is also a scholar of the period in his own right.
This ATYS is not exactly the same as the original production in 1676. Only one decor is used, instead of the six provided for in the libretto--but through use of lighting effects and movable appointments, the atmosphere changes appropriately from act to act. The number of dancers employed is reduced from the large forces called for in the libretto--but the choreography is so excellent and blends so well with the choral forces on stage that they form part of a total ensemble. Christie is asked in the documentary why he chose to use modern French pronunciation instead of reconstructed pronunciation from the period. He says he does not regret his decision, because he wanted to emphasize the clarity rather than the antiquity of the work, but that in future he may change his mind. There are a few excellent performances in baroque French available--LE BOURGEOIS GENTILHOMME and Charpentier's MEDEE--and this opera would have been interesting that way, but that is not to detract from the level of interest it has this way.
Stamina is required for the enjoyment of an opera this long--but having recently worked my way through Kurosawa's Kagemusha and two films of Lord of the Rings trilogy, I would say that the stamina required here is no more than that required in the case of other lengthy works. The fact that the staging is true to the baroque aesthetic makes the length tolerable. In the case of the recent blu-ray release of Lully's ARMIDE, also conducted by Christie but with a modernizing director, the performance became intolerable when a hirsute baritone took the stage in a red dress and lipstick. I have just had it with that stuff. By the way, his diction was not as good as that of the singers in ATYS either. So it's thumbs down to ARMIDE but thumbs up to ATYS.
In the last DVD we have more than an hour's informative material about the production itself. The sets and costumes are ultra-elaborate, and the results are truly glamorous, befits totally the courtly premiere of this work before Louis XIV.
It is a real marvel to see Rivenq reprising the role of the human monarch Celenus. He was much younger in 1987, and the voice much lighter, but in this 2011 performance, his performance is even more refined.
I agree that Bernard Richter in the title role is a real find. Perhaps the best lyrical Swiss tenor since Ernest Haefliger, he must be circumspect with his choice of roles, given the very fine and light-textured timbre that he owns.
The two female roles are also wonderfully performed, with D'Oustrac effectively portraying a goddess Cybele that is awesome and capricious in turn. Di Negri as Sangaride, the lover of Atys and bride of the king, is convincingly sweet and pathetic.
The ballet dancers and choregraphy are truly spectacular. The stage is furnished in the form of a palace hall.
We are indeed lucky to have Christie directing the reprisal of such a wonderful production!
"Atys" is first and foremost superb music, probably the most imaginative and distinctive of all Lully's operas. The frequent duets from the secondary characters, for instance, are quite a bit more exceptional than most modern audiences will realize, and my ears find them entrancing. French Baroque opera eschewed the recitativo/aria pattern that dominated Italian baroque and classical opera well until the onset of the 19th C. In a sense, Lully and Rameau were closer to Verdi and Wagner than Mozart and Rossini were, in that the arioso singing is textually and musically integrated with the orchestral score. "Atys", however, gives us something of both French and Italian taste; there are no 'detachable' da capo arias but there are melodically memorable quasi-arias, especially those sung by the cruel goddess Cybele, that supply the affective intensity of the Italian da capo. Lully's instrumental writing is equally fluid in blending the 'ritornello' excitement of earlier Italian operas -- Monteverdi, Cavalli, etc. -- with the chaste rigor of French structuralism. Lully was Italian by birth and his Italian origins are more excitingly apparent in this opera than in most of his other works.
The plot of this opera is very loosely based on ancient Anatolian Greek mythology. Cybele was the none too beneficent 'Mother Earth' goddess of the Phrygians, later Romanized as an abstraction, and Atys was her self-castrating human consort. the cult of Cybele was in fact too orgiastic for Hellenic Greece. In the opera libretto, based on a poem by Philppe Quinault, Cybele is insufferably human in emotions, indifferent to the religious adoration of the masses but madly in love with the mortal Atys, a courtly prig who has incessantly denied the power of Love. Atys, however, is a deceiver; he too is madly in love, with Sangaride, the betrothed of his King Celenus. What's worse, Sangaride is secretly in love with Atys. Sticky business, no? But "Atys" is a 'tragédie en musique', although this production was staged by the Opéra Comique, and it's possible that the onstage death of Atys was a historical "first". Cybele, alas, had employed her godly powers by tricking Atys into slaying his true love Sangaride -- offstage -- but finds herself conscience-stricken, so that she immortalizes Atys by metamorphosis into a pine tree. [Modern science has revised her metamorphism by reclassifying "Atys" as a genus of gastropod, a pretty little sea snail.] The opera is not -- I repeat, NOT -- a melodramatic tragedy of the Romantic sort. The audience, including old Louis XIV, did not dissolve in tears except perhaps in affectation thereof. It's all about artifice and refinement. It was said to have been Louis XIV's favorite opera and it was therefore immediately enshrined, imitated, and parodied.
Cybel emerges as the driving dramatic persona in this modern performance, with her most intense musical passages contrasting brilliantly with the pastoral lyricism of the score at large. The role is sung and acted excellently by Stéphanie d"Oustrac. If "authenticity" is taken to mean complete theatrical coherence, visual as well as musical, then it matters a good deal that the actress look the part. D'Oustrac 'does look the part, a cruel selfish beauty, a divine narcissist like most deities, and she sings with a steely-blue virtuosity, with what Milton said of Satan, "darkness visible". Atys, in proper contrast, is a milksop, a bit of a fool; the role is acted convincingly and sung gorgeously by the sweet-faced Bernard Richter. Once again, in our world of cinematography, it matters that he looks the part. Indeed, every singer actor in this production succeeds both musically and photogenically. Don't overlook God of Sleep, sung by the omnipresent Paul Agnew, without whom no performance by William Christie would seem complete.
Bill Christie is a "living international treasure", arguably the finest conductor of Baroque Opera since Lully stomped hi big toe with his own staff and died of gangrene. Christie's orchestra "Les arts Florissants" is unsurpassed. For this production there was a substantially expanded crew in the pit, with 28 strings, gambas, traverso and recorder flutes, oboes, four sorts of lutes, two keyboards, percussion, and two bassoons. There are never too many bassoons! Listen to them! They have some delicious passages in this score, and the Baroque bassoon was inherently a more expressive instrument than its modern heir. Bill Christie is also a personal "hero" of mine, an opponent of the Vietnam War who took his initial leap to Europe in 1971 to escape the American draft. He is now a French citizen. The 1986 production of "Atys" brought him his first major acclaim, and this reincarnation of that production should consolidate his his stature.