World Premiered on DVD. This Liege production, directed by Jean-Louis Pichon, comes from Saint-Etienne. Impressing sets, with large rocks, underline the mythical subject; costumes skillfully blend medieval and 19th-century elements. Patrick Davin, musical director of the Opera de Liege, gives a dramatic and fascinating reading, underlining the romantic aspects and dark colors (wonderful cellos!) of this rich work. Le Roi d'Ys is based on an ancient Breton legend even the choice of a subject based on legend illustrates the ideological link between Lalo's opera and the Wagnerianism so prevalent throughout Europe at the time. Lalo furthermore made use of various elements of popular music inspired by Breton folklore that give the entire score a special character and flavor. Another link to Wagner lies in his use of leitmotifs associated with each of the principal characters (Rozenn, Karnac, and Margared), though Lalo is quite prudent in his use of these. Even so, Le Roi d'Ys certainly remains a profoundly and decidedly French opera in all of its main features. Blau's libretto has the virtue of being "simple, clear, uncluttered by historical complications, easy to understand, and sufficiently rich in dramatic strands", in the words of Lalo's first biographer Georges Servieres in his brief though pithy monograph on the composer.