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Theatre de la Foire

a comic opera for the entire family

We find ourselves in eighteenth century Paris; at the market next to the famous theatre of the Comédie Française. Nowadays, the market is no longer what it used to be.

Next to the greengrocer, the fishmonger and the fruit stand, we see an array of entertainment: dream away with the magic lantern, let a swindler palm you off with the elixir of life, try your luck with a game of ball throwing, increase your self-confidence with a bright new hair tonic, or gaze at the acrobats, actors, and dancers. Oh, and by the way, your wallet has just been stolen by that friendly girl over there!

Something is happening tonight: the artists of the marketplace have taken over the chic theatre. The police is about to intervene, but turns a blind eye to it for now, afraid that the situation might get out of hand. The rich gentlemen of the theatre observe the situation with grinding teeth. This evening only, and especially for everyone at the marketplace, the artists perform the comic opera Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse. Just this once, the theatre belongs to the people, to the marketplace. However, we cannot be sure there will be a happy ending. Nor can we be sure that it will sound good. For the greengrocer will also be singing, and the pancake baker will be playing the violin. The market sellers will be executing this exclusive performance. Thus, it is possible that the soprano will be very nervous or that the bass will forget his lines. The choir has not turned up, so the members of the audience might have to lend a hand.

Théâtre de la Foire is not just another performance. You will be swept away into another era with different roles, and different manners, and above all.... with real entertainment! The foyer has been transformed into a marketplace. The room is just like the illustrious Comédie Française, and has been 'squatted' by the artists of the marketplace. Just for a short while we are not presented with the high art elite, but with opera as opera was meant to be: for everyone, young and old. Where you can laugh and cry. Where there is so much to see that two eyes will not be enough, and where something new happens every second.

Théâtre de la Foire plays with the battle between classes, the battle between laws and creativity, between rules and inventiveness, between discipline and spontaneity, between 'high' and 'low' art. The concept is ingenious: it concerns theatre in theatre in theatre. The foyer of the theatre has become a marketplace. The market sellers have become artists in the opera Don Quichotte. And the characters in Don Quichotte are trying to make this Spanish nobleman believe that his fantasies have become reality.
Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse, which functions as the heart of the performance, is a comic ballet, but actually a comic opera, since singing takes up a prominent role in the performance. It is orchestrated by the French composer Boismortier, someone who regularly wrote for the artists of the Foire.

Director Adrian Schvarzstein is known for his disarming productions, in which the distance between the artists and the audience is annihilated. The audience participates, comments, but above all becomes immersed in a different world, bringing out the child in everyone.

The musical interpretation is by the Spanish ensemble Le Tendre Amour. This group is about to make a breakthrough, and will present their first CD in October, under the illustrious early music label ´K617'. In the past few years they celebrated their success with alternative programmes, harbouring a good feel for storylines and theatricality. Among other productions, this summer they performed at the festival of Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Styriarte), in the production also Le Devin du Village, directed by Schvarzstein. The press was remarkably enthusiastic about this project.

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