White Shirt Monday: Godmother Romeo

jdd loy cap zu

[If this doesn’t make you want to revisit your fall ties collection (or to rip a nicely tied tie off someone) — well, then you’re probably not into ties. Then again, there’s always Bellini. And there is Joyce DiDonato, creating yet another Romeo for Bellini’s “I Capuleti e i Montecchi”, Zurich 2015. – Photo Credit: Opernhaus Zürich. – and I wish Opernhaus Zurich would finally leave clear photo credits with their galleries, so I could properly laud their White Shirt work (in case of doubt: there is never enough praise for Ritttershaus. In fact, could this be anyone BUT Rittershaus?)).


Christof Loy (the Grand Marshal of White Shirt Staging) did a 1950s Godfather “Capuleti” in Zurich.

With Joyce DiDonato.

Actually, that is all you need to know. Other perhaps than that it is online for streaming on demand at ArteConcert (and if it is geoblocked, you can still get to it), which does credit Rittershaus with the photography (ha!).

I haven’t seen it yet, since my internet connection is indeed at 100kbps max., plus I am now living in a geoblocked country and downlaoding the view would take about two days, but I am counting down the hours as I type this. Otherwise, I’d already be talking about the odd threesome with the handsome guy who’d make a very pretty lesbian (if that is Romeo’s lieutenant, let me quote another queer classic with “Herr Adjutant, Herr Adjutant, dann nehm’Se auch die linke Hand!”). And about vocal swagger (and ties, probably).

Let me know what your impressions are if you’ve already seen it (you’ll most likely download it sooner than I will, anyway).

PS. Do yourself a favor and check out the photo gallery at the above link to Zurich Opera. White Shirts and undone bowties and cuffs, oh my. (Or, as the old Julie ANdrews song so eloquently put it, “Girls in white dresses and girls with moustaches…” well, or something like that. I remember there was something in there about kittens, too).

9 thoughts on “White Shirt Monday: Godmother Romeo”

    1. Ah, thank you. The first thing I got was an odd Tadzio vibe (is it an Aschenbach thing to do, perhaps, among directors?); it also reminded be of the dubled Cherubino in Guth’s Salzburg “Figaro” — doesn’t quite reach the ingenuous placing of the Black Valet, for me, and it distorts the intimacy (visually, not vocally) between mezzo and soprano in a way that I will have to think about for a bit longer.
      The idea of a repetitive cycle of paternalist violence for Juliet – who, as I read it, is shaped by xperiences of violence as a child, then survives the death of Romeo and possibly turns into a revengeful widow? – made me think of the shadow as an allegory of the inevitability of the repetition. Either way, there are layer to peel away here (and I am not talking about the ties).


    1. ps- on yt now.. i was very impressed w joyce, she was absolutely impressive in musical phrasing and dramatic commitment, totally believable character. C.Loy dressed her superbly too! i quite like the staging, just dont get that extra character who s present in all the scene.. only time he made sense to me was just b4 the quintet when giulietta arrived alone in her wedding gown wondering if romeo had been killed after the previous showdown and questioning her fate, the the guy (still in dress if i recall) gave a very strong impression of how everyone was unsympathetic to giulietta s deperation. anywho, this is now my fav of jdd 🙂


      1. It’s my new favorite, too – she has grown so much in the role musically (and it’s not as if she was bad to begin with!), it is amazing – her control of phrasing, her tie-in of lower register, the small color nuances and DAMN that final high piano? Masterly.

        It doesn’t have the (also very captivating) youthful exuberance of the Netrebko show in Paris, and it feels less restrained than the SF retake of the Lacroix version – I think Loy’s dramatic approach suits her far better (though I liked the SF hair better than the Zurich echo of DiCaprio bangs ca. 1997)

        Yes, that androgynous allegory of death – it did not work as seamlessly for me as the valet in Losey’s Giovanni, which FF has pointed out above. My impression still is that it takes away from the intimacy (perhaps on purpose?) and as devastatingly pretty as his sculpted cheekbones are, sometimes I wished for more Romeo & Juliet instead of for another close-up of Joe Black.
        I also really enjoyed the Giulietta performance – very warm, very much more womanly than girlish, much more down-to-earth.


  1. Just watched this and I LOVED it – not only is everything extremely beautiful (singing and visuals alike), but that revolving set and it’s temporal shifts digging into the larger idea of a cycle of trauma in this generational feud – so interesting!


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