by Christie Connolley
According to James Jorden of the New York Post, there is a reason Chabrier’s obscure opera The King in Spite of Himself (Le Roi Malgre Lui) was so obscure for so many years. Even a French flag printed speedo (of which we sadly cannot find a picture of) couldn’t save this one! Check out the Operagasm Review Rundown!
Not the good kind of hybrid: “Le Roi” — loosely translated as “The King in Spite of Himself,” or “The Reluctant King” — has a high-profile advocate in Bard College president Leon Botstein, who conducted Sunday afternoon’s performance with the American Symphony Orchestra. But even in expert hands, the 1887 work sounded like a hybrid: too sophisticated for operetta, but too frivolous for grand opera.”
Well, at least he looked good: “As Henri, Liam Bonner made a striking first entrance wearing nothing but a Speedo patterned with the French flag. Though he looked buff, his gravelly baritone disappointed. And that Speedo? It’s just part of an updated staging by director Thaddeus Strassberger in which the king recalls the sunshine of far-off France from the comfort of a tanning bed.”
Save the best for last!: “Best among the generally strong cast was Michele Angelini as the king’s sidekick, Nangis, his light tenor sailing nonchalantly up to high notes that seemed to go on forever. Frédéric Goncalves and Jeffrey Mattsey whipped up some exciting baritone bluster as the conspirators Fritelli and Laski.”