March 4, 2012
After the conquest of Napoleon in the early 1800’s, the emperor placed his brother, a butcher, as the new king of the Netherlands. Things didn’t work out so well, and he was recalled after a year. His legacy,however, was the conversion of the Amsterdam Town Hall into the Royal Palace of King Louis Napoleon.
This was a very nice treat for me on an early Sunday afternoon! I recommend it; it isn’t Windsor Castle, but the plasterwork in the grand hall is beyond compare from anything I have ever seen. Itdoeslook like a town hall converted into a palace, but the decor and furnishings are so beautiful.Shortly afterward, I went to the Opera Studio Nederland for its singers’ performance of Charpentier’sLa Descente d ‘Orphée aux Enfers.
It has a compelling score and the direction strongly guided us through the story, with a superb band (the Baroque Orchestra ” ‘t Kabinet” of Daniel Boothe) and an effective minimalist production to demonstrate those who were living and those in “The Underworld.” The singers were very enjoyable, and I looked forward to working with them the next day.