White Shirt Monday: “Sorry, dear, but I fancy your mother your sister.”

[Ann Hallenberg (Agrippina) and Elena Tsallagova (Poppea) sharing a “Belle Maman” moment in Händel’s “Agrippina” as staged by Mariame Clément, Gent 2012. – Photo Credit: Annemie Augustijns for Vlaamse Opera]

Agrippina, a soap opera. Thank you, Mariame Clément. And thank you, artistic management, for casting the two leading ladies and the two leading lads with an all-female line-up: Ann Hallenberg (Agrippina), Renata Pokupic (Nerone), Elena Tsallagova (Poppea) and Kristina Hammarström (Ottone).

My Agrippina Hall of Fame is growing: Kasarova. Connolly. Now Hallenberg. You’d like to have dinner with their Agrippinas, but you know each of these Agrippinas would have your bones on a plate before dessert. Not that we would mind.

Not this this Poppea seems to mind, either!

Meanwhile, this blogger fancies Kristina Hammarström. In a leather jacket.

Or that leather jacket, and dinner with Hallenberg’s Agrippina? –  I am not sure.

Also, apropos soap: doesn’t this Agrippina – the sets! The lightning! The poses! – look like a “Verbotene Liebe” opera pitch?

Why yes, it’s the original Clarissa (Agrippina), scheming to drive Marlene (Poppea) into the arms of her ambitious protegé Tristan (Nerone), while  doe-eyed Rebecca (Ottone), complete with her leather jacket and motorcycle, pines for Marlene in the shadows – and gets the girl in the end. (which is kind of what happened on the show. Well, I guess it’s called soap opera for a reason.)

The evil matriarch about to pay off the unwanted suitor, with her own boy already lurking in the wings? – Check. (bonus points for the helmet)

Apropos evil scheming matriarch – you can leave your hat on.

Rivals for the lady’s affection in a duel? – Check.

Press conferencing with both suitors? – Check.Leather jacket and secret glances? – Check.

Evil handyman sipping evil cognac, worried lovers in a dangerous spot, plus flannel shirt? – Check.

…leather jacket owner gets the girl in the end? – Check.

[Photo Credits: all images of Agrippina by Annemie Augustijns/Vlaamse Opera; all images of Verbotene Liebe ARD Das Erste/Grundy UFA]

22 thoughts on “White Shirt Monday: “Sorry, dear, but I fancy your mother your sister.””

  1. Thanks for sharing! Nice to see Kristina Hammarström in a more butch role than Bradamante. I must check out Agrippina – an opera I haven’t yet seen or heard despite my love of Händel, Kasarova, Connolly et al.


    1. I’d argue that Bradamante is more butch than Ottone as a role (up until the domestication with Ruggiero, at least), but yes! Anything that means more Hammarström in trousers..


        1. I always wonder what would happen with her Bradamante with another director, though. The way she carries off Ottone, she could do a far more masculine version of the role, but perhaps that’s not her vision of it.


        2. I have a feeling directors tend to “feminise” Bradamante, in order to distinguish her from the “proper” trouser roles I suppose? Like Hammarström who is less flat-chested than Kasarova and a kind of clumsy/embarrassed in her role as warrior, or Schneiderman with her lipstick and chignon going all sexy librarian, or Kuhlmann who looks almost as butch as her Ruggiero (Graham) but with a waist-defining belt on her suit to define who’s who… Bradamante does have the butcher voice, the butcher coloratura, but it’s like they always have to work against this!


  2. darn it, there WAS a radio broadcast of this that we all missed! was on radio.clara.be , i tried to navigate the site to see if i can find archive but didn’t manage too well with dutch…
    i found it! here! have a listen!


    1. made it to end of act 1, in that whole maze, think i sort out everyone except Pokupić . here’s libretto in multiple languages for anyone who wants to follow along. loooooove Hammarström’s run, fits very nicely with leather jacket _and_ jeans above 🙂


  3. Having no clue about “real” opera but being very familiar with the soap opera you’re referring to, Anik. The similarities are definitely there, even Clarissa’s hat although I have yet to see Rebecca in a flannel shirt 😉
    The leather jacket owner gets the girl in the end, of course. Maybe the chemistry between them is better on stage then in TV…


      1. Thank you for the cute picture 😉
        It seems to me that the Trittleiter-Effekt is lessening in the last episodes. Let’s see what happens next…


        1. as it’s a soap, probably more drama,but I really hope they write them off into the sunset eventually. Especially since the trittleitering seems to lessen! (eh… not that I’d be watching this or anything *cough*)


  4. o.k, so where is the dvd? I listened to the broadcast on Radio Clásica, but now my eyes want to catch up with my ears.
    And speaking of broadcasts, tonight (right now) I’m listening to Kasarova singing on SW2 – Brahms, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and Schumann. Found it just stumbling around!


    1. oh, that must be the much discussed Schwetzingen concert – one of the most interesting exchanges we’ve ever had around here!


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