White Shirt Monday: “Vesti il gilè…”


[Joyce DiDonato as Romeo in Bellini’s”I Capuleti e i Montecchi”, RICHT NOW (Munich 2013). – as Photo Credit: Joyce DiDonato/Facebook, alert by HM]

The curtain is about to rise on DiDonato’s Romeo in Munich.

Oh shirtsleeves, white shirt sleeves, wherefore art thou rolled up like that? And combined with a vest to boot?

Good thing Lacroix didn’t add a tie to this (although what is that on her left shoulder?!), or I’d be dead on the floor already instead of just withering away with envy at all ticket holders (Anik. Green. Ugly).

Apropos DiDonato:

O tumblr, there is this phenomenon called “fake film meme” making rounds, where people design posters, cast, taglines and summaries for movies they wish existed. So many things I never knew I needed! Now it has expanded to “fake opera memes”. And I need THIS opera to happen.

“My name is Iñigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

And Westley always struck me as rather white-shirtish…


29 thoughts on “White Shirt Monday: “Vesti il gilè…””

  1. saw this on fb today and just…well…my oh my.

    and yeah, that princess bride opera would be most amazing! somebody get on that immediately!


  2. someone uploaded the radio broadcast of her Romeo on yt too, i listened through the whole thing last sat… think i’ll have to have a 2nd run coz during the 1st VK was occupying too much of my brain to formulate a fair opinion…


    1. especially after having heard it 5 times live! 😀

      those two portrayals are so different – both passionate, both emotional, but still, so different.


  3. This may or may not be my desktop background right now… 😀

    I watched the Paris 2008 DiDonato and Netrebko straight thru on Sunday while reading my Electricity and Magnetism textbook. Now I have to watch it again with the score and with the libretto and then with the libretto/score combined. It’s a lot of work being an opera fan; fortunately, the rewards are great!

    I am also wondering about the symbolism of the glove here. Looks rather like chain-mail, which– I would think– is not ideal for tender caresses but does lend a certain military air to the outfit. Any thoughts?


    1. because of the Tebaldo/Romeo duel situation? And because Romeo is slated to be the military leader of the entire Montecchi pack, and often comes off a bit emotional (consisten contralto hero tradiiton oin the mid/late 1830s), directors love to butch him up with gadgets. That would be my guess.

      Magnetism and Electricity – a most fitting title to go with this opera! 😉


      1. Oh my word, I didn’t even think of that as I was wading through the math, but you are absolutely right!

        Your analysis of the glove makes a lot of sense. Joyce tweeted about dueling with Joseph Calleja tonight, and he responded with “Just realised I actually have to battle Joyce DiDonato in a sort of ‘iron clad’ fist fight,” so yes, I think the military leader aspect must be prominent in this production.


        1. they circle each other with menacing glances and coloratura swagger (very abstract production in that regard, although there is sword-drawing earlier in the evening – or perhaps they changed it?). A vocal smackdown with Calleja? A worthy opponent, that must have sounded FABULOUS. (still dying with envy here!!)


        2. Have you seen this production then? And yes, Calleja is amazing. This morning I saw that JdD is performing La Donna del Lago with Lawrence Brownlee in Santa Fe this July/August. I would DIE if I could see that, but I would have to fly almost all the way across the US, and I don’t know if I really want to do that… but Brownlee! And DiDonato! In Rossini!


          1. oh, that sounds indeed very good (Elena or Malcolm?)
            The performance was live broadcast with Kasarova last year…. wish I’d seen it in person! Thadieu holds the international record in that regard.


        3. JdD will be singing Elena. I’ve heard her “Tanti Affetti” on YouTube, and it is brilliant. Yesterday, I was thinking how much I’d love to hear JdD and LB together (preferably in Rossini), and now I could… if I can get the money/time for a cross-country flight.


          1. ah, those persky hindrances, money and time!
            I wonder whether Santa Fe might join the free live broadcast club like Munich and La Monnaie?

            Also, Marianna Pizzolato singing Malcolm. White Shirt=extra points.

            And yes, more Rossini love! More more more!!!


        4. Ooh, web-streaming (live or not) would be lovely!

          I had not yet heard of Marianna Pizzolato, so I listened to some of her performances on YouTube. She has a beautiful timbre, but it is very feminine, so I’m not sure how convincing that will be in a trouser role. Her coloratura is fast, and I think it’s accurate, but again, it’s so fast that I’m not quite sure. Also, she doesn’t sustain the last high note at the end of an aria for very long at all; I listened to a few different arias with different conductors, and this was a common theme across the board.

          For me, the fiery passion of Rossini trumps almost any other opera composer (except for Handel and maybe Mozart). Gimme ALL the coloratura! 😀


          1. I wouldn’t peg Pizzolato for a Malcolm, per se (I’ve always thoguht of her as more of a pre-19th century belcanto type of voice), but I like to be surprised.
            I would generally go for a bigger voice with a heftier core (acuti nonwithstanding), but having a more feminine sounding/looking/acting Malcolm and an Elena who will no doubt exude power might make for a very, *very* interesting production from a queer viewpoint. 😉

            (on a side note, I think we’ve had a similar discussion when it came to Laura Polverelli’s Romeo – Italian mezzos and butch factor, and how Italian women generally get groomed into a different set of femininity, coupled with the stage-approach of especially Italy-educated singers. That doesn’t go for everyone, obviously, but it’s an interesting thing to observe in some)


        5. Oh my, fem!Malcolm and butch/dom!Elena would be AMAZING. Why do opera directors insist on doing bizarre productions in the name of being “edgy” instead of doing truly interesting work???

          I do not recall discussing Laura Polverelli’s Romeo, and I am curious as to what you mean by “Italian mezzos and butch factor,” “different set of femininity,” and “the stage-approach of especially Italy-educated singers.” Care to elaborate? 🙂


        6. When Liège live broadcast Capuleti with Patrizia Ciofi (belcantoswoom!) and Laura Polverelli, we had a live comment thread here and since many of us are Kasarovians, we talked about how Polverelli seemed less butch/more feminine on stage (part may have been the hair and costume).

          Over all – and while Sonia Prina and, in part, also Romina Basso are great examples to the contrary – it is my personal opinion that Italian mezzos tend to be a bit less on the butch side in trouser roles. My theory is a) that being raised Italian means being raised into a heavily naturalized gender binary that is quite unlike any other I’ve ever seen (which I say as someone who has lived there for a semester) and has a standard elegance/femininity set going on that offers very few exceptions. The only exceptions I’ve seen are women who identify as politically far-left/alternative. Then, b) there’s Italian opera staging, which often (just check the bicentenary Verdi edition from Parma getting out at the moment) still amounts to “front-and-center-in-supposedly-period-clothing” with a lot less emphasis on the phenomenon of the “singer-actor/actress”, hence more singing and acting of a different kind (not so Strassberg).

          With these two factors weighing in, I find it unsurprising to see female Italian singers who don’t put a lot of emphasis on the butchness – it isn’t prominent in social genderplay, and it isn’t prominent in the typically favored acting style.


        7. Astute analysis, as always. When I think of butch mezzos (on the stage at least), I immediately Sarah Connolly, Anne Sofie von Otter, and (of course!) Vesselina Kasarova. These singers are all from northern Europe, so perhaps over the centuries, the basic climate of Italy vs northern Europe shaped cultural expectations/standards for the aggressiveness of women, and we see that even today. How’s that for a random theory, developed in the dark night after a long day at school? 😉


          1. Kasarova is Bulgarian, but I do like the theory of a Northern social habit of differently staged femininity or another way of dealing with gender binary (and I say that as part of a populace where about a quarter of women looks gay to the rest of the world independent of actual proclivities).
            I can really just speak for Italy because I’ve lived there for a bit and really did not so much not fit in as be ignored in all attempts at masculinity. It was stifling, but also fascinating from an analytical viewpoint.


        1. *lol*

          Well, it is Dr. Hotpants, so that definitely applies here, anyway.

          (can we ship Doctors with Hotpants here? A mezzo for each PhD?)


          1. Oh, there would be a long, long queue before me, featuring, among others, Smorgy and Dr. T.

            But what PhD motivation! 😀


          1. see, HM, that’s what I meant with Dr. T: being waaay in front of me in the queue. 😉

            Moving oceans, definitely!
            I wonder if that’s in the small print when they start their studies – “possibly responsible for moving oceans some day”: Not to mention many other things. And people.


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