L’Etoile: a comic opera masterpiece

With my dad at the Royal Opera House

Back in February I crazily won four box tickets at the Royal Opera House to see this production of Chabrier’s comic opera L’Etoile.

One of my group was a total opera novice and went away on such a high. She loved it, as did the rest of us. The story had all the best farcical tools of such a comic opera with lots of rather Monty Python-esque prop and staging elements (for example a huge finger which descended to point suggestively at something) which added to the joy.

Some reviews have slated the production for being preposterous and clumsy, but I honestly thought the craziness of it all and the unusual and daring staging made it more fun and interesting. And it was an easy one to get into for a non-regular at the opera.

The music of course was wonderful, as you would expect from the orchestra and singers at the Royal Opera. I don’t think I could fault it.

However the stand out performance was actually from comedian Chris Addison, who alongside Jean-Luc Vincent played some great Englishman/Frenchman schtick and hilariously broke the fourth wall. The addition of these characters to the production, arguing with the conductor and with the surtitles, searching frantically for Addison’s hat, and just generally maintaining liveliness on stage at all times (even during the interval) made it all the more entertaining.

Chris Addison and Jean-Luc Vincent on stage in the interval

Sadly this production of L’Etoile was not on for long but if you get a chance to see another French comic opera at the Royal Opera House- or something else directed by Mariame Clement- definitely take it.


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