White Shirt Monday: Bewitched

[Ha forza il mio furore: Adriana Bastidas Gamboa batting for Team Rinaldo in Handel’s “Rinaldo”, Cologne 2011]

This past May’s run of “Rinaldo” in Cologne sported up-and-coming Columbian mezzo Adriana Bastidas Gamboa (still without website) in the title role. She made the jump from opera studio to regular ensemble in 2008, appearing in smaller roles, but also as Dorabella in “Così fan tutte”. I was pleasantly surprised to find her listed as Rinaldo for this season.

Also, I swear I’ve played in all-girls sports teams with colleagues who sported this exact same look:

The production (which sadly won’t be renewed next season) had two big bonus points in addition to a mezzo Rinaldo. For one, Alessandro de Marchi conducting, and secondly, the casting of the bedazzling witch Armida:

For sheer presence of persona (all vocal brilliance aside), Simone Kermes might be the most perfect Armida casting I’ve seen yet. Which White Shirt Hero(ine) in their right mind wouldn’t want to make out with this particular sorcerress of sound?

That’s what I thought.

While this “Rinaldo” has vanished like Armida’s enchantments, Cologne will continue on the Handel track for the 2011/2012 season and premiere “Alcina” (opening June 16th 2012, playing through June and July – nicely timed with Pride season). No de Marchi and no Kermes on that one, but Bastidis Gamboa will be along as Oberto. Also aboard: a mezzo Bradamante (Katrin Wundsam) and  a mezzo Ruggiero (Franziska Gottwald).

But once more back to Rinaldo: the promotion video is still online, and it’s worth the couple of minutes it takes for the final moments of Simone Kermes playing with one of Armida’s arias alone (the cideo also resolves the mystery of Kermes’ hair: it clearly is an entity in its own right that cannot be changed into something else on stage).

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