Anne Sofie von Otter (Cornelia), making the jaws of alligators drop (no Tyrannosaurus this time, but I predict even that one would weep at Sono nata a lagrimar) Handel’s “Giulio Cesare”, Salzburg 2012. – Photo Credit: Hans-Jörg Michel for Salzburger Pfingstfestspiele]
It’s Handel live from Salzburg, or “your date with just about the whole mezzo range world on a plate” this Sunday: Anne Sofie von Otter, Cecilia Bartoli, Philippe Jaroussky and Andreas Scholl. And even a wink to the rather recent countertenor past with Jochen Kowalski (I remember the days when his recordings were the only male alto recordings available in Germany, unless you imported some Esswood or Deller from the UK).
And the best part: It’s 4h40min worth of Baroque glory available online for free. The ARTE tv channel airs the performance almost-live starting at 8.40 p.m. (GMT+1), at the same time, the “live” (the actual performance starts at 5 p.m.) web broadcast kicks off over at ArteLiveWeb, where the coutner so far states that the performance will be available for 60 days afterwards, which I hope will be true.
The production (yes, it even comes staged) is directed by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier, who also brought us the Zurich Rossini “Otello” aka “Mona Dee & Dr. (Te)no(r)”. Giovanni Antonini of “Sacrificium” fame conducts.
Now the White Shirt aficionado may complain thatit’s a “hot mezzos in skirts” night only, with no mezzos in pants – unless you count von Oter’s Cornelia in coveralls (I do) – since Scholl tackles Cesare and Jaroussky will take on Sesto, which would have been two fine mezzo opportunities, but then again, the casting is so stellar that even I don’t care. Add Bartoli’s Cleopatra and von Otter’s Cornelia to the mix, and I’ll be in singing heaven anyway.
To round ou the cast, Christophe Dumaux reprises his killer Tolomeo (I’ve seen him live in this, he is a riot!), the aforementioned Jochen Kowalki stars as Nireno, Ruben Drole as Achilla and Peter Kálmán as Curio cover the bass line.
In a way, it’s last year’s Paris “Cesare” revisited, but von Otter really ups the ante yet another bit. More deails (and photos) over at the official website of the Salzburger Pfingstfestspiele.
Also in festival news, Cecilia Bartoli, artistic director of the Pfingstfestspiele, has just announced the 2013 program, which will include her taking on Bellini’s “Norma”, something she has been working towards for years.
After listening to her “Sonnambula”, I am looking forward to see what she will do with “Norma” – especially since I love the iconic Callas take on the role. And Naglestad’s (holy God, Naglestad!). But to have someone look at it in a period manner, with historically informed performance practice and keeping in mind that Maria Malibran sang Norma, too (voice range similar to Bartoli, if not voice size), should at least allow another look at this work and its performance history and I am really, really excited about that.
Meanwhile, for 2012, it’s “Fly me to the Moon, Cleopatra”:
[Cecilia Bartoli (Cleopatra) in Handel’s “Giulio Cesare”
insert Anik trying not to make any rocket-in-pocket-Monroe-Who run the world? Girls! remark of the suggestive kind and failing, Salzburg 2012 – Photo Credit: Hanss-Jörg Michel for Salzburger Pfingstfestspiele]
See, the design even comes with the Pentecoast Dove included! Nifty. (although admit it, you didn’t notice the dove at all, you’re still stuck on THOSE BOOTS).
If anyone wants to live comment and share impressions, this thread will be open tomorrow night for commentary. I’ll make some virtual espresso, since 4h40 are 4h40, after all – now if someone could bring some cantuccini…?