Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Santa Fe's 'Helene' tilts to comedy.(Final)

Byline: Joanne Sheehy Hoover For the Journal


For its season opener Friday night the Santa Fe Opera let its hair down to deliver what Broadway would call a hit show. Its sparkling version of Jacques Offenbach's "La Belle Helene" set off tidal waves of laughter that even a failed stage lift and a half hour's delay before the final act could not hold back.

Occasionally going for comedy at the expense of the music, SFO's production had a few audience members debating, as they did in the mid-19th century of its birth, whether this Offenbach was proper opera. Now, as then, most happily surrendered to its infectious charm.

Rossini called Offenbach "the Mozart of the Champs-Elysses. …

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