Wolf Trap Opera: The Ghosts of Versailles

Back when I was studying music as an undergrad, I first learned that as well as The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro, the two Pierre Beaumarchais plays that were adapted into famous operas, there was a third, The Guilty Mother, that in 1991 was adapted into an opera called The Ghost of Versailles.  Naturally I was deeply curious to see said opera, and so was happy to go to the Wolf Trap Barnes yesterday, where they were putting it on for their young artists to sing in.  In the lecture beforehand they talked about its history, including that it was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, and that it isn’t performed very often, something they chalked up to the initial production being a lot of trouble to put on; they were using a version first orchestrated in 2009 to demand less musicians and such.

What perhaps I should have realized was that such an opera, done to suit the Met, especially in 1991, was not necessarily going to be a very good one.

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