OPERARolf Fath (UK)
Soon everyone will be clamouring for Jim Lucassen, particularly the German theatres with their enormous demand for producers with a novel, striking approach. In Rusalka, at the OPERA NATIONAL DE LORRAINE, this young Dutch director immediately entered the discussion concerning the degree to which present-day opera productions should remain old-fashioned or might he innovative.
OPERA NOWFrancis Lehel (UK)
Lucassen actually fielded a winning formula that pruned Rusalka of the Brothers Grimm overtones which make today’s audiences snigger but managed to preserve the libretto’s core message of incompatibility and rejection. Every modern producer, of course, claims faithfulness to the original while applying a contemporary gloss, but few actually manage to be so coherent.
Lucassen’s handsome set showed off his draughtsmanship. The set may have been dry of the original story’s aquatic element but it did the essential by cleverly opposing two irreconcilable worlds. Lucassen made maximum use of minimum props, adapting the plastic sheeting wrapped around a dinosaur’s bones for Rusalka’s sad effort at a bridal dress. And to his credit, he told the story simply and effectively without hiding behind the special effects most producers would have called in.
Elsewhere, he marshalled his cast like a seasoned professional, particularly when expertly choreographing the Prince’s courtiers as snobby glitterati at the presentation of a new exhibit.
RESMUSICA.COMMichel Thomé (France)
For its staging, the choice was boldly fallen on Jim Lucassen, rising star of the Dutch theatre scene.
The theatrical translation is brilliant; realistic and polished sets by Lucassen himself, inventive and profound stage direction and dead sharp lighting design by Andreas Grüter culminate in a perfectly coherent performance.
OPERA NEWSStephen J. Mudge (USA)
For those who find Dvorák's tale of water nymphs and magic difficult to accept, the new production of Rusalka at the Opéra National de Lorraine — directed by young Jim Lucassen and conducted by Christian Arming — provided a refreshingly original take on the opera
CONCERTCLASSIQUE.COMAlain Cochard (France)
For his first production in France, the young and talented Jim Lucassen chose to define, with great precision, the enchanting time and place in which the action of Antonin Dvorak’s lyrical masterpiece takes place. A gamble that proved equally seductive and successful, as its originality was in contrast to Robert Carsen’s highly (overly) polished aestheticism at the Opéra Bastille a few years back.
Preserving the freshness of the tale set to music by the Czech, Lucassen delivers a highly fluid concept, in which tenderness, the humanity of one’s vision / look / expression leaves room for comical dimension.
OPERA ACTUALJaume Estapà (Spain)
The staging by Jim Lucassen is a model for intelligence and daringness, and quite rarely it is at once a paradigm of loyalty to the work. The young director situated the action in a museum at night, a place of present and the past - reality and dream.
OPÉRA MAGAZINEFrançois Lehel (France)
What remains is to bring to life on stage what appears to work on paper. A gamble that is largely successful thanks to an unadorned, carefully calculated set, well lit by Andreas Grüter, excellent stage direction and a high level of quality.
CLASSICA.COMFrank Mallet (Frankreich)
An unforgettable Rusalka to be seen again in Montpellier next season.
L’EST REPUBLICAINDidier Hemardinquer (France)
The ball scene at court in which the prince has his eyes set firmly on the foreign princess, leaving Rusalka on her own, was transformed into the inauguration of a hall, where the skeleton of a whale is presented. This transposition works well to highlight the lack of communication between the human world and the universe of waves. The movements are intelligently ordered.
Two hours of total happiness between dream and reality.
WEBTHEA.COMCaroline Alexander (France)
Subtle stage direction and unexpected sets by Jim Lucassen. The stage direction by Jim Lucassen is refined and lively.