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Christie's minstrels, at the Met

ChristiewmConductor William Christie, who is originally from Buffalo, is making a splash at the Metropolitan Opera conducting the world premiere of "The Enchanted Island." The show is a kind of fanciful Baroque extravaganza featuring Baroque music, mostly by Handel and Vivaldi.

The New York Times praised the production. On the Met's Web site it is fun to look at videos of the opera. You can watch Joyce DiDonato singing an aria. And one of the videos -- the one on the far right -- features Christie talking about the ideas behind "The Enchanted Island," how it is a pastiche, and the admirable role that pastiches play in music history.

As the New York Times points out, the word "pastiche" comes from the Latin pasticium, a medieval pie containing everything but the kitchen sink, and it relates to the Greek pastitsio. Both words, anyway, relate to a masterful use of leftovers.

And that is what "The Enchanted Island" appears to be. It makes me think of "The Opera Show," the traveling revue that came to UB's Center For the Arts a couple of years ago. You take arias and present them in a new framework, and have fun with the costumes and the dancing and the scenery. "The Enchanted Island" does that, stringing arias and choral pieces together like glittering beads. The story is magical, based on Shakespeare's "The Tempest."

Here is a picture from the production. That is Joyce DiDonato, Placido Domingo and David Daniels.


Christie is one of the world's foremost authorities on Baroque music. An expat who has lived in Paris for years, he conducts the renowned Les Arts Florissants.

You have one more chance to catch "The Enchanted Island" on the big screen at the Regal Elmwood Center at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman



Music | Theater
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