Pepped-up ‘Paladins’ in Athens

In what has been hailed as a truly exceptional production, «Les Paladins,» the opera composed by Jean-Philippe Rameau in 1760 and reinterpreted in 2004 by conductor William Christie and choreographer Jose Montalvo, along with the ensemble Les Arts Florissants, has been invited by the Athens Festival to perform at the Athens Concert Hall on Wednesday and Thursday. A co-production of Paris’s Chatelet Theater and London’s Barbican Center, the performance combines music, dance, the arts and video screenings, adding texture to an already rich opera where, as in Rameau’s original, each character is performed by more than one actor. At the age of 77, Rameau composed an opera that is euphoric and light-hearted, almost resembling an innocent child’s game. The story revolves around the love of an older man for a young beautiful girl, whom he holds prisoner until he can marry her. But the maiden is in love with a paladin, or a wandering knight, and resists his advances. The production has already been staged in France and the UK, where it has met with public and critical acclaim, praised for the constant plot turns and the manner in which the troupe has enlivened it with new artistic media, giving it a fresh razzle-dazzle. The production is conducted by Christie and staged by Montalvo, who also did the videos and main choreography, along with Dominique Hervieu. The cast is led by Topi Lehtipuu, Stephanie d’Oustrac, Sandrine Piau, Laurent Naouri and Rene Schirrer. For information on tickets, see On Stage.