White Shirt Wednesday: Ties That Bind

AN_TROV-slzb_forster1[Have a guess: what is wrong with this picture? – Anna Netrebko during a performance of Verdi’s “Il Trovatore”, Salzburg 2014. – Photo Credit: Salzburger Festspiele/Forster]

In rehearsals, the scene apparently still looked like this:

(we can play Before/After here: Do you notice the difference? And no, the glasses are still the same)

AN_TROV-slzb_forster2[Anna Netrebko in Verdi’s”Il Trovatore”, Salzburg 2014. – Photo Credit: Salzburger Festspiele/Forster]

Think about the museum staging What You Will (I liked the concept idea, but was disappointed with the execution from what I’ve seen), but what does it say if, apparently (I am not sure whether those are separate scenes, I have not seen the whole production, but I could not find any photo of Netrebko with the tie in the official photo folder – those of you who had time to view the Arte streaming or have been in Salzburg, please weigh in), shirt and tie are out for the sake of cleavage?

And even if it is not the same scene, but two different scenes or different stages of the same scene: Isn’t it telling what ends up in the official photo folder? (using the tie photo would have offered a bigger contrast with the later renaissance garb)

Not that I would mind either of these photos on a shallow level, but I do mind in what it says about operatic culture, about what images we cater to or are being catered to (and Netrebko is a very good example of this circus).

Of course my stance, predictably, is: When in doubt, go with the tie. But even beyond that, even beyond searching for White Shirt visibility (and I mean that in the broadest sense of genderqueering costumes and stances), I find it worrisome that even the idea of using masculine-associated costume tropes where it fits into a narrative may be disregarded in favor of hammering home the Hooters aesthetic of women only being possibly attractive when falling out of their shirts.

I suppose I should be thankful that the nerd glasses are still in place?

10 thoughts on “White Shirt Wednesday: Ties That Bind”

  1. Hi. She starts out with the tie, but throughout the opera she is constantly changing back and forth between museum outfit and historical costumes. Later changes don’t include the tie.


    1. thank you for clarifying that!
      Perhaps it was just owed to the quickness of costume changes, then?

      Still, I would have chosen one *with* tie for the press folder 😉


    1. back, last spam from me i promise.. if one survives “tacea la notte placida..” and the first shouting match by Azucena, the rest is very nice. AN brought her absolute A voice to the big run in act 4 scene 1. i even like this quite Manrico than Kaufmann! it confirms also my impression that AN brought it only for video broadcasts.. i listened to this same show on radio 1 week before video stream and she reminded me a lot of what i heard in Munich when it wasn’t live stream..


    2. now that, Dr. T., is not even a question.

      I know I’m vocally not the biggest Netrebko fan, although I will not snob her sound and her accomplishments because e.g. this Leonora is beautiful and luxurious and no, that outfit does not hurt, either.
      But. BUT! The comparison to Harteros is not even a comparison (and it IS difficult to compare, with one coming from a more spinto perspective, and the other from a far more lyrical one). Which is not to slight Netrebko, I just click with Harteros’ voice and style far more. I’ll even suffer through that dreadfully boring Stein production again for the Worldy and Otherworldly Reigning Queen of Legato Line.


      1. Am so down with that. Trebs is at her best a dynamic performer with a rich gorgeous, sometimes masterfully deployed voice. But, HARTEROS…❤️🎵🎶❤️🎵🎶❤️🎵🎶


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