[soprano going 2nd Act Fiordiligi in 3…2…1…: Birgit Binnewies (Lydia) and Daniela Sindram (Wladimir) in Franz von Suppé’s rosenkavalieresque mezzo-sings-boy-who-dresses-up-as-girl operetta “Fatinitza”, Bremen ca. 1995. – Photo credit: Jörg Landsberg/Bremer Theater]
Recently, my-friend-the-dramaturg and I talked about mezzo experiences from the past and he mentioned an old trouser role performance he once saw with a very young Daniela Sindram back in the 90s. Behold, he even found a photo (I may have begged) and scanned it for me.
So here you go: a 40 Guns Award in the making! Although I’d say those are 39 guns already, even in that flower print dress (did you ever stop to think why the only moment Cherubino kisses or almost kisses the Countess in “Figaro” (depending on the director) is when he wears a dress?! #QueeRosina!).
I’ve always had a soft spot for “Fatinitza”, which rarely gets revived these days, but is the perfect mezzo trouser vehicle about a dashing young lieutenant who has to dress up as a country girl to sneak into the palace and see his crush – a crush whose uncle falls in love with said country girl in a very Ochsian way. The hommage to “Rosenkavalier” is intended and delivered with a well-orchestrated wink.
“Ochs” resigns in the end and the mezzo lieutenant gets to marry the princess. Of course it is based on a Scribe play (of course!), the melodies are dazzling, and I’ll be here swooning right along with Princess Lydia. Also, “Fatinitza” should be mandatory feelgood viewing for all fledgling baby opera dykes out there (imagine I had seen this first instead of “The Children’s Hour” – I might have dared to come out sooner!).