Takarazuka: La Rose de Versailles 2001, Oscar et Andre (ベルサイユのばら 2001 – オスカルとアンドレ編)

July 19th, 2016

RoVOeA2001Welcome back to Takarazuka Week on Okazu! We’ve got another interview coming up and a review of Chicago at Lincoln Center in our future, so check back regularly!

There are several Takarazuka productions that I have seen on VHS or DVD that I have never reviewed…for many reasons. One was so awful I needed my brain scrubbed and as the Top Star couple is very popular, I didn’t want to deal with the backlash. ^_^; One was just very complicated and I will one day review it. One was brutally dull. But among these many Takarazuka shows I have not reviewed is the very first one I ever saw. It seemed to me that this is the perfect time to revisit it.

In 2003 or so, I obtained a copy of  La Rose de Versailles 2001, Oscar et Andre  (ベルサイユのばら 2001 – オスカルとアンドレ編). Of course, Takarazuka has done this show countless times, and written versions that focus on Fersen and Marie Antoinette, as well as Oscar and Andre. I knew of Takarazuka when I got the VHS, but I had never actually watched any. (How did we survive before Youtube?) So this was my first experience with the idea. Sure, I was open to the idea of women in uniforms, and I knew the story of Rose of Versailles, so it seemed like the perfect fit.

My wife and I sat down to watch it and after 15 minutes of an opening number that mostly consisted of the word “Love” repeated over and over over and over and over and over, I thought….”Are you kidding me?”

My wife took another tack and started making up her own lyrics to the songs. They were hysterical and it got us through the first bit. I couldn’t help but notice that Minoru Kou as Oscar had to duck down to be shorter than Kouju Tatsuki as Andre every minute and my enthusiasm was slipping….until Aran Kei walked out on the stage as Hans Axel von Fersen.  She started speaking and I remember saying out loud, “Oh, now I get it!” ^_^

I’m never going to love the music for this show, it had all the the weaknesses of music written by the Takarazuka staff – one (or no) musical theme, no peaks, just a slow crescendo then it sort of peters off, nothing catchy. And while I’ve been a fan ever since, I’m really glad that my first live Takarazuka show was Elizabeth, not Rose of Versailles.

Ratings:

Overall – 7

It’s not as bad as the Fersen and Antoinette focused version, but not stunning, except for Aran Kei, who was stunning. Here’s a bit of the show for you to enjoy and make your own decisions. Yay Youtube!

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4 Responses

  1. Mariko says:

    I dug out my program from the Takarazuka show I went to. Apparently it was a two part show, which I vaguely remember now. The first half was called “望郷は海を越えて” (“Boukyou wa umi o koete,” or “Nostalgia Across the Sea.”) The second was “ミレニアム.チャレンジャー!” (“Millenium Challenger!). The lead couple was 和央ようか (Wao Youka) and 花総まり (Hanafusa Mari).

    I remember looking at the pictures that I liked the first half better, with the elaborate traditional costumes and storyline, than the second, which was sort of a modern revue. Mostly I spent the evening soaking in all the aspects of and surrounding the performance and hoping I did not embarrass myself. ><;

  2. Stacy L says:

    I’ve now seen enough Takarazuka shows on DVD/blu-ray to have seen some bad ones, and that’s a special feeling to hold a plastic disc that cost over $100 and know that it’s as valuable to me as a coaster. But no regrets. The good ones were absolutely worth it.

    A musical needs good music or it’s dead (gee, really?). All the charisma in the world can’t overcome a dull show or perfunctory staging. I’m glad Elizabeth with Sena Jun was one of the first shows I saw. Mind-boggling.

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