White Shirt Monday: “Boots and zippers at an opera house with three hours to kill.”

[ Here, have some Saturday Night thoughts on Monday morning (and that’s as much tagline as I will allow myself at this hour). – Joyce DiDonato (Romeo) in the originally Munich-premiered Vincent Boussard production of Bellini’s “I Capuleti e i Montecchi”, San Francisco 2012]

While I personally find the Boussard production somewhat stilted and aseptic the more I rewatch it (especially in the restagings), there’s no doubt that a good mezzo can make a great night even out of the no-touchy-touchy approach (but imagine how if could have been WITH some touching to boot!) – an approach which did not work for Cuzco, and the only one it did really ever work for was Heiner Müller in his Bayreuth “Tristan”, but he had Waltraud Meier a Isolde, whom you could cast as a potted plant and it would be riveting night. (Yes, this post got about 3 pop culture references away from me already. Sorry.)

If I just go by the above screeshot, I’m still not quite sure whether it is a really gay 1980s Dutchman-meets-Phantom-of-the-Opera mash-up with synthesizer orchestration (and references to the Thundercats theme song?), or a new vocal portal the OUAT cast fell through to come out with a much sexier Hook who suddenly has chemistry with his female screen partners, or possibly a visualization of Francine N Furtner of the Rocky Horror Picture Opera (“Don’t dream it, sing it.”), but I would be here for all three of the above. Repeatedly.

[Also: seriously, how much better would OUAT be with a female Hook who respects her love interests (and their love interests) AND looks good in leather and guyliner)?]


If this Flying Mezzo Dutch(wo)man would invite you onto their Belcanto Love Boat after dark, would you really throw yourself into the seas rather than into her arms?

Rhetorical questions that truly matter on Monday mornings! – Is it time for a drink yet?

11 thoughts on “White Shirt Monday: “Boots and zippers at an opera house with three hours to kill.””

    1. so I guess all you need is … a boat?
      (I should truly have put in a comment a to change of perspective. I apologize).


        1. I take it back, THAT is the authentic Operatic Love Boat.
          We just need to get rid of the pesky tenor and recast – “…es hat auch einen Namen, Mezzoreich.”


  1. incredibly there was *1* mezzo who got it to work completely 😉 . without her i would be very lost… also in the theater the staging really is different and i really loved it, esp. the tomb scene (eagle view from 5th floor).


    1. of course! (live always beats out the film versions, with the sole exception of close-up screencaps!)

      For me, part of the issue with the SF film version is that while the concept is abstract, so much of the acting is supposedly naturalist instead of openly stylized, and it just leaves the singers out to dry (or really takes a VK type to pull it off).


    2. i was just discussing this same thing with a friend yesterday ;-), that there’s a way to stand apart but shows in body posture + *subtle* movements that you care, and for a certain mezzo it was extremely intuitive, to the point you don’t realize there was no touching.. in fact the problem is “enhanced” only when you get 2 people who simply do just that: stand apart.


      1. good point.
        I was frustrated in watching it (perhaps it is the filming) because I cannot see the reason for the distance: I see someone acting “Must be close” and then get impatient when it does not happen – I get bits of “I am close” with DiDonato (though she does not have the more stylized VK approach that worked so well here), but then I look at other moments and feel as if the Assistant Director in charge has gone all method acting, and it simply won’t fit what’s in the book and the singers have to pay the price.


        1. i was equally frustrated and very confused the previous year with Tara Erraught for the exact reason you mention. Actually Netrebko is also exceptionally intuitive, so watching her with VK was truly amazing. by the time Eri Nakamura swapped in you could tell it was VK alone who was doing all the work to get things to fit (she really spent her time watching how Nakamura would move, then adjusted hers to fit in, very dynamical).
          So in this sense i agree with you that the “conceptual” idea leaves the singers very vulnerable rather taking advantage of their strengths, and only very very few selective singers can get the concept across.


          1. Thank you for your input, It makes more sense to me this way and really echoes what I have seen via the filmed broadcasts.


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