White Shirt Monday: D{ash}ing


[Dream a little dream of me? – Gabrielle Joyce DiDonato (Cendrillon/Lucette) and Alice Coote (Prince Charming) in Massenet’s “Cendrillon” as staged by Laurent Pelly, London/ROH 2011.]

It’s got to be the bangs, but does anyone else see the uncanny resemblance to season 1-3 “strawberry blonde” Gabrielle here? Now Xena would probably scowl at any Prince Charming comparisons, but if the shoe fits…

I recommend the DVD to anyone who can squint away the bad wig the make-up department sprung on Ms. Coote (really, ROH? REALLY?!) who could have out-dashed the entire male corps du ballet if they had only let her go onstage in her own hair. Nothing wrong with a ponytail (of righteous justice or not)!!

So just squint a little (not too much, or you’ll miss the acting, e.g. Prince Charming vs. the princesses of all the lands – prepare to snicker!) and focus on the gorgeous singing – particularly the Act 3 finale duet with its Rosenkavalier trio vibes. Perfect.

The next time you’re PMSing and out of chocolate and don’t know what rom-com to settle on and are all out of new SwanQueen fanvids, watch this one instead an sail away on a hapy, fluffy cloud of heavenly singing and just enough heartache to pull on your heartstrings the right way (check out the trailer here)

Also, how many times to do you get to see one mezzo woeing another and getting the girl in the end?!

And as a special bonus, there’s Ewa Podlés as the evil stepmother, who steals every scene she’s in (which shouldn’t come as a suprise to anyone) and hits a few low notes that make memuch  more interested in Mrs. Stepmom’s phone number than in Lucette’s, but that’s a story for another post.

20 thoughts on “White Shirt Monday: D{ash}ing”

  1. So I’m back from Oslo and very happy with my first VK live experience! I was a bit unsure what to expect since I didn’t think she sang Romeo as well on the recent streamed Capuleti as on the recording, but now I believe that was mostly due to poor sound quality, because live she sounded wonderful. There’s this one high note that sounds quite strained or forced compared to the recording – might be deliberately added emotional expression but probably it doesn’t come as easily for her as it used to. Other than that it was absolutely beautiful.
    The Giulietta (Marita Solberg) sang beautifully as well. She had a richer, warmer, more pleasant voice than both Mei and Netrebko I think, less piercing high notes, but that also made her slightly less convincing and moving as a desperate teenage girl. Overall I think she focused more on singing beautifully than on vocally acting the part.
    It was a bit of a pity that it was a concert version and not a proper staging, but Kasarova more than made up for it by embodying Romeo in black jumpsuit, high heels and a very elegant French twist. All the other singers just stood in front of their scores, perhaps making some small gesture, while she sang freely and moved about on stage, going over to the Giulietta on the opposite side of the conductor and back again, addressing the other singers and the audience etc. It was actually a rather compelling illustration of the plot dynamics, the way the Giulietta remained still and confined while Kasarova’s Romeo approached her, reaching for her and begging her to respond in vain.
    The orchestra and choir were doing a fine job too, to my amateur ear. All in all not a dull moment (except perhaps when Tebaldi sang…)


    1. ah, thhhanks for your wonderful account! i was lurking majorly on Anik’s space last night watching for your comment :-D. also quite interesting how different your account is to the luke warm comments on VK i saw on internet


      1. Any links? I was curious about reviews etc and googled a bit but only found one blog post which was indeed lukewarm re VK – and instead praised Diego Torres as Tebaldi (whom my girlfriend thought sounded pretty awful – I’m too biased against tenors to notice). This blogger thought VK sounded like a “soprano” (?!?) and didn’t approve of her moving about on stage. Ah well. I’m a Kasarovian of course and no objective judge. Perhaps if I’d seen her more than once I could compare different performances. I actually really wish I could have just stayed on in Oslo for the remaining two concerts on Monday and Wednesday! Preferably in a seat even closer to the stage for a chance to feel directly addressed… 😉


      2. it seems to fit into the pattern we’ve observed over the years (and I don’t mean the part where one VK live concert triggers the wish for more) – there are singers whose essence transmits much better live. Apart form almost everyonebeing better live, there are those that transport perhaps more easily through recordings and those that seem to thrive exponentially on a live element.
        Concert versions: a fine line between acting too little and acting too much, and I’ve only ever seen VK balance it expertly. Usually, there is too little acting, a perfect fit for an audience who just wants to be laundry song softened and doesn’t want any emotioj to come up close and force them to deal with it.


        1. Agreed. She definitely didn’t overdo it (re “mannerisms” etc). She was even a little more understated than I expected (I mean, I didn’t necessarily expect her to move about so much but I rather expected her to gesticulate and grimace more). All she did was sing with feeling and actually address whoever she was supposed to be singing to. She also responded to the other singers while they were singing, in the sense that you could see her listening to them and following what they were saying, which she always does so beautifully. Add a tiny bit of visibly enjoying the music and that was it, very tastefully done. Possibly she was embarrasing the Giulietta who might not have known what to do in response to her approaches, but I think she avoided any awkward situations by gracefully backing away.


    2. Thanks so much Tove, what a lovely account I can just picture her prowling about the stage. Sadly some of the other reviews seem to fall into the “mannerisms” cut and paste genre. Still, independent thinking can be hard for all but the most devoted Kasarovian after an encounter with the VK Romeo 🙂


      1. Glad you liked it! Any links to those other reviews? I know there are supposed to be reviews in Norwegian newspapers but not freely available online (yet anyway).


  2. I was lucky enough to see this production in vivo ( just showing off now) and from 4 rows back from the stage Prince Charming looked absolutely stonking! I agree DVD close ups of wig less good . 😋


    1. lucky, lucky you!
      Wigs/Make-up for the stage and for film continue to be two different things – it must have been much better in the house. Too bad that the DVD loses a bit through that because Coote is wonderful throughout.


  3. Oh, Anik, you are literally the best: Xena, ponytail of righteous justice, and Swan Queen all in one post. 😀

    Mentioning Swan Queen, S2 of OUAT has been AMAZING; I was worried that breaking the curse in the S1 finale would somehow hurt the plots, but I am very happy to be proven wrong! S2E01 got me completely into Swan Queen, S2E02 gave more insight into Regina’s back story, and S2E03 had Snow White being awesome, which was fantastic. 😀


    1. thank you! (but really, the Xena reference is entirely courtesy of the ROH wardrobe/mae-up department)

      OUAT Season 2 is canon Swan Queen – I didn’t see it that much iearly season 1, though I thought it was really good TV, then over the break tumblr convinced me of Swan Queen, and now it seems as if the execs have spent their summer in the Swan Queen tag to boot. And the argument IS true: if Emma were Emmerett, everyone would see the narrative logic of the pairing.


      1. Completely agree with your analysis. And true love between Snow White’s enemy and her child is brilliant storytelling, and it irritates me to no end that heteronormativity is squashing this relationship. Plus Emma/Regina share a kid; that’s what convinced me of Swan Queen! 😀


        1. I like the kid dynamics this season more – early in season one, it seemed so much like heteronormative “bio parents are better than adoptive parents and we all need our biological parents or we are damaged and don’t have roots”. I didn’t agree with that, but I like the current tone of “it’s complicated” and “I share him with Regina”.


        2. Tumblr spoiled the “it’s complicated” and “I share him with Regina” lines for me, but those were brilliant. I also saw a Tumblr GIF set that said that Snow and Emma met their mother-in-laws in the same episode; it literally took me an entire DAY to realize that Cora isn’t canonically Emma’s mother-in-law. 😀


  4. I saw the resemblance to our favourite amazon princess as soon as the post summary popped up on my phone. Too bad the singing on that show was mostly horrible. It had other redeeming features…

    I keep hearing things about this Swan Queen. I do not need another Tumblr addiction, however. 😀


    1. …but when did we ever end up with a tumblr addiciton because we needed it? (it usually happens when we don’t need it at all, doesn’t it?)


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