ARTE Alert: A for Ambrosio


[White Shirt Soprano: Véronique Gens poses for the third volume of her “Tragédiennes” series]

Dec. 7th already – Saint Ambrosio, and as customary, the Scala is opening the new season. This time, with an all-new “Don Giovanni” starring Peter Mattei as the Don, Anna N. as Donna Anna, Bryn Terfel as Leporello (that should be interesting), Anna Prohaska as Zerlina and Barbara Frittoli as Donna Elvira, among others.

Robert Carsen directs, which means it might be stylish and genius, or stylish and bland, but hey, at least it will look really pretty. And apropos stylish and pretty: the always beguiling Annette Gerlach will be your host for the evening, since ARTE live broadcasts the whole thing – unfortunately, this is only good news for readers with access to either German or French TV, everyone else is geoblocked.

But for the rest of us (ironically, no chance of Don G. here in Spain, either), ArteLiveWeb has come up with some alternative ambrosia – notably, with Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques having a Venice palazzo date with Véronique Gens, who interprets an 18th and 19th century selection of her Tragédiennes program (the entire program is available on three CD recordings at Virgin Classics). No geoblocking involved.

Also up on ArteLiveWeb: a Spinosi concert featuring  Rameau, Handel, Debussy and Ravel – if you own any Minkowski recordings of the same Rameau repertory, like the “Symphonie imaginaire”, it makes for startling comparisons (“is that the same piece of music?”). Also, what is it with Early Music conductors going 19th century? (not that I am protesting. Minkowski, La Monnaie, Les Hugenots!!) Either way, this is one Bolero reading even a Handel fan can listen to without a bad conscience: transparent and lucid and playing with the rhythm without drowning it. Surprisingly sexy, even though it is the weirdest thing at to see Spinosi take on anything other than Vivaldi. He’s conducting the hr-Symphonieorchester, though, not his Ensemble Matheus.

Other than that, I hope to be back to blogging regulalry soon, but that Granaca-esque gigue is still keping me busy and will continue to do so for a while. At least the White Shirt Mondays should continue pronto. I also hope to still get the annual mezzo gift guide out before Christmas. Otherwise, we’ll have to pay tribute to my current Spanish state of residency and make it Reyes (Jan 6th).

3 thoughts on “ARTE Alert: A for Ambrosio”

  1. I loved that Tragediennes concert. Gens is awesome. This reminded me of Hallenberg’s Farinelli concert. Even though the repertoire was completely different, the technical perfection and emotion were similar.

    I’m glad to see the attention given to the obscure early classical composers like Salieri and the others that were featured here…that period was so rich, anyone less than Mozart is barely remembered. This is an exciting “new” repertoire.


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