White Shirt Monday: In A Time Of Ancient Gods…

sestoxenamashup12.JPG[And today in “wait, I’ve seen that Xena episode before…”: Elīna Garanča as Sesto in Mozart’s “La clemenza di Tito, NewYork/MET 2012. – All images: click to enlarge considerably. Thank you, dear MET, for HD!]

I know, I know. – Xena? Again?! – Well…


What would you call this, then? (other than a prefiguration of “Stride la vampa”?! – Which brings me back to the Bacchae episode. – We need a Xena Opera Drinking Game, stat!)


I could swear there was an episode where Xena had to dress up as a young Roman nobleman who has to try to keep Vitellia (a previous incarnation of Alti, obviously) distracted so she won’t employ her evil scheme to kill the Emperor. Or a certain Poetess (hm, how much of a strawberry blonde is Servilia, I wonder? (in this case, it was LUCY CROWE. Alongside Kate Lindsey’s Annio. I really wish I could have seen it in its entirety. It may not be Troyanos chewing up that detailed Ponnelle stage, but the lady quartet (Garanča, Frittoli, Lindsey, Crowe) would definitely have been worth the while!)


Back to said Xena episode, which is probably called “Just For this Moment” or “No More Flowers”, and is also quite possibly another, lost musical episode…


…featuring at some point the famous aria “Scratch my nose, will ya?”


Well, the gauntlets could be a little broader… but bonus points for those icy blues and the decisive jawline. Battle on.

And since it’s late and nobody has had the wisdom to take away my screencapping tools , here are the operatic Xena/Sesto credits (with apologies to everyone not familiar with Xena. Just skip the rest of this post, or at least ignore the captions and focus solely on the pretty pictures):


“In a time of ancient Gods…




…and Kings…


A land in turmoil cried out for a hero.


She was Xena (Xelina? Xesto?)…


…a mighty princess…


…forged in the heat of battle.


The power…


…the passion…


…the danger.


Her courage…


…will change the world.

Okay, shoot me now. (Or come back tomorrow for the next dozen that didn’t quite fit into this post – no Xena references, I promise.)

37 thoughts on “White Shirt Monday: In A Time Of Ancient Gods…”

  1. Doesn’t Lucy Lawless actually have a trained voice? If I am not incorrect she was actually embarking on an operatic career before she went into acting. Now there would have been an Octavian/Geschwitz to die for!!


    1. I wouldn’t know, but didn’t she do broadway? She definitely has a trained voice, but I don’t know whether it’s primarily musical/broadway/belting, or also with a classical background.


  2. I couldn’t help comparing this to the Salzburg production. This one lacked fire: It was smooth and classy and circumspect and somehow unconvincing. I still think Kasarova was the best Sesto ever.


        1. Oh yes. We considered going to see this in a movie theatre as it was shown in Sweden, but decided against it since it was “only” Garanca and snow storm outside (scary to drive). Seeing the pictures and comments I don’t regret that decision – I like the outfit but Sesto looks mostly angry – what about passionate/desperate/in despair? And no pictures of Annio – perhaps tomorrow? I’ll probably have a look if it gets available online.


          1. I didn’t get to watch it, either – just the 4 HD clips available on YT, and they’re of Parto,parto, Deh per questo istante solo, and one of the Tito arias. No other footage available (yet).


  3. That was awesome! Xesto, LOL. I saw this on Saturday in HD, Garanca was quite quite good, affecting. Kate Lindsey nice too. Production a bit less so…gave them so little to do besides run back and forth across the stage, (or up and down the stairs) which after a couple of times just seems silly.

    I would say I never would have thought of going to see this if it hadn’t been for this blog!


    1. I hope that’s a good thing…

      The excerpts looked pretty much like tableaus vivants; I guess one could occupy the mind with counting the frills and folds and curls (and stairs)?


      1. Yes yes, a good thing! I liked it. Story gave me something to think about, and uh well there’s the mezzos and sopranos to uh occupy the mind…even though the production was static, the singers were uh not (especially in my head…). (of course, nothing tops the Salsburg, which I have only seen in youtube clips and screen shots galore…) 😉


      1. Do we get Baroque toasters for this? 🙂
        (there is ALWAYS a reason for more Tito. two trouser roles, each with a soprano. Tenor, what tenor?)


  4. Now it IS official: I do live in your head from time to time! I bought the first season DVD of Xena on Friday, a spur of the moment thing…. this creeps me out a bit. 😉


    1. how did I not know of this blog? – Thank you, Eyes! (I have to watch at least “Ah perdona al primo affetto” 😉 )


          1. and a breath of fresh air in that Ponnelle Tito!

            I watched the thing last night – and after seeing Kusej’s, this reading (Ok, it is from the 80s, isn’t it? 80s and MET…) simply doesn’t do it for me any longer.

            Lindsey is wonderful, though, and Garanca is musically very, very good, even if not as exciting and gripping as, say VK (IMHO. I know I am biased here).
            At some points, I was drifting off, but the costumes of the choir ladies jarred me back awake – what was that atrocity??!! Lohengrin meets the recent Comte Ory sans the irony?!
            Frittoli absolutely not using her full potential acting-wise (then again, when standing around in fancy robes in that orgiastic scneery is everything she’s asked to do… not really her fault). Filianoti sounded strained to me, especially next to Garanca, Lindsey and Crowe.
            And dear God, Lucy Crowe. I haven’t had that genuine, blissful smile in reaction to a lyric-slanted soprano voice since Maria Bayo. I last heard her in Purcell, with a whole lot less body to the voice, but throughout this Servilia, I was thinking “I want to listen to your Contessa, I want to listen to your Contessa!”


    1. The full version is still on my to-do list but it’s interesting what you observe about Lucy Crowe. I last heard her last year in the concert version of Der R with Twyla Robinson and Daniela Sindram and thought her future was looking rosy. I have to admit to fastforwarding Filianoti!


      1. Hot damn, where did you catch that cast? – Sindram is one of my favorite Octavians (haven’t heard her in a few years, though, and she’s done quite a few Brangänes and Frickas in the meantime) and what I’ve heard of Crowe’s Sophie was perfect – musical, textures, bright without being too airy. In fact, I kind of remembered her as in ideal Sophie, but yesterday, I caught myself thinking (next to all that “Contessa! Contessa!” shouting going on in my head) whether she’d move on to the Marschallin eventually. Her voice has gained more hef tin the past two years, there is lyrical weight to her phrasing and the tone has become rounder, a somewhat more layered prism than just brightness… not sure if I know how to put this into words very well.



            first I wondered how I could have missed this as a regular reader of yours, but then I checked the date… and, okay, I do have the only excuse that would count in face of such evidence. 😉 thanks for pointing me to your post.


        1. love your expressions Anik! interestingly that concert made it to cd . too bad the closest library is Brown Univ… but may be u can locate one near you if you’re keen on listeining. i spotted a clip of the concert on YT but it’s only w/ Twyla Robinson singing the monologue


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