Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour, ou Les Dieux d’Égypte,

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 4.55.56 PMA warning. This is a more than usual subjective review. I went to the Rose Auditorium at Jazz at Lincoln Center to see the Lafayette Operas production of Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour, ou Les Dieux d’Égypte, a baroque opera by Rameau. It was first produced in 1747 in the indoor riding academy at Versailles. It lasts three-plus hours; obviously I didn’t. The music is lovely, and were it streaming off a CD I would listen happily abstractedly. As in the original, dance is an integral part.

Here, different choreographers are fused — Seán Curran, of the New York Baroque Dance Company, decked out in full satin knickers, pannier skirts, powdered wigs; Catherine Turocy, also of the New York Baroque Dance Company; and the most interesting, Anuradha Nehru of Kalanidhi Dance, employing a classical Indian type of dance involving knees akimbo and stomping quite marvelously.

All said, the singing was grand, the dancing interesting,and the music lovely, but so twee and too coy. I can imagine the French court watching, but ducking out for a quick bite, playing cards on the side, gossiping, flirting unburdened by being ensconsced in a seat in a concert hall. I went with a friend familiar with Rameau who said it was well done for that type of opera but was right with me as we quick-stepped to the door.

Jean Vanderbilt

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