After La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein, and La Fille du régiment, Virgin Classics develops its DVD catalogue with yet a new stage production by renowned director Laurent Pelly (his 3rd for the label) accompanied by his assistant Agathe Mélinand who again adapted the dialogues as in the other productions. Filmed in Lyons during the performances (18th December – 1st January 2008) the production and the cast re-enacted in our moderns times the satirical portrayal of Parisian life in the Second Empire. The performances were a hit: Laurent Pelly brought to Offenbach’s operetta all the gusto and humour the subject calls for – his staging is wild and frenzied. La Vie parisienne was Offenbach's first full-length piece to portray contemporary Parisian life, unlike his earlier period pieces and mythological subjects. It became one of Offenbach's most popular operettas.
Warner Classics & Erato DVD catalogue already contains several characteristically stylish and imaginative productions by the French opera director Laurent Pelly: Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne and La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, Massenet’s Cendrillon, Donizetti’s La Fille du régiment, Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande and Handel’s Giulio Cesare. The last three all star Natalie Dessay, and now she and Pelly are reunited once again, this time for Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, staged at Barcelona’s Liceu opera house in early 2013.
This live performance of Offenbach’s witty, tuneful, swift-moving operetta smacks of the theater: in addition to some audible movement (not bothersome), the singers play off one-another in a marvelous manner, making the whole work gleam. Marc Minkowski’s field of expertise apparently is not only French Baroque–he leads with energy, charm, and an ear for Offenbach’s pointed orchestration (the brass is heard at its shiniest here) and reinstates some music dropped after the premiere (for whatever reason), including another little aria for Paris. The dialogue has been coyly updated and it works…
Brilliant recording of favorite ballet scores by a conductor who commands an appropriately energetic approach. The sound here is exceptionally live, with remarkable definition of various instruments and real "bite" to the reproduction.(Billboard, Jan 1958)