White Shirt Monday: Mi lusinga il dolce affetto

ALC_ME_CB_ZU260114[Shirt or no shirt: that is the question. Malena Ernman (Ruggiero) and Cecilia Bartoli (Alcina) in Handel’s “Alcina”, Zurich 2014. – Photo Credit: the one and only Monika Rittershaus for Opernhaus Zürich]

Yes, it finally happened.

Christof Loy’s new “Alcina” reading premiered in a feat of mezzo lore, genderbending glory and – of course, it is Loy! – white shirts in Zurich last night.

I could get used to the mezzo Alcina trend (re: DiDonato), although I know I will never be over Catherine Naglestad.

Also, I will never, ever tire of Malena Ernman in a suit – and the way she knows to wear it.

There are times, after spending too much time with late 19th/early 20th century repertory, when I think “Rosenkavalier” is just about the gayest opera there is, but then another “Alcina” happens and, with apologies to the birthday, nobody gets past Handel there.

The Zurich producti0n has three mezzos, two of them in suits (Varduhi Abrahamyan, so glad to see you back in a white shirt after the Carsen “Rinaldo”!) and one in the occasional negligé. Singing Handel. Also, they make out with each other and with the occasional soprano while they’re at it.

I think Christmas just came very, very early this year.

8 thoughts on “White Shirt Monday: Mi lusinga il dolce affetto”

    1. Thank you! I’ll edit accordingly; it really irked me that it wasn’t posted anywhere near the photo gallery (then again, indeed whom but MR should capture the latest Loy WS extravaganza…)


  1. Ooh I wanted to go see this and then it didn’t happen and now I’m severely tempted again… We have many Alcinas to choose from right now: Zürich, Oslo, Paris, but this is probably the best and steamiest one! The Oslo version has Hammarström and Semmingsen, lavish costumes and slightly worrying copy about being “exotic” (especially in combination with a black singer singing Alcina)


    1. Alcina and exotism seems to be a recent trend; I saw an indigineous ethniae vs. “cultured” society take in Halle last year – pretty naive, but also far too close to imperialist tendencies, even with an all-white cast.


  2. Her sweet smile, and her then majestic figure,
    Her plumpness, her imperial condescension,
    Her preference of a boy to men much bigger
    (Fellows whom Messalina’s self would pension),
    Her prime of life, just now in juicy vigour,
    With other extras, which we need not mention, —
    All these, or any one of these, explain
    Enough to make a stripling very vain.

    (Byron, writing not about Alcina but about Catharine the Great. Still . . . )


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