Early Music Gender Carousel



[In the mail today – greetings from the Komische Oper, Berlin! I need more postcards like this one.
Roughly translatable as “Catfight!”, the PR department is marketing Handel’s “Serse” as it is. Or not. – Brigitte Geller (Romilda) and Karolina Gumos (Arsamene) in Handel’s “Serse”, Berlin/Komische Oper 2012 – Photo Credit: Karl Forster]

Of course, it’s also proof of putting body before gender again, since Arsamene, while sung by a mezzo, is supposed to be a man, but then again, that does not need any physical maleness, now does it?

In fact, how about a version where Arsamene is a princess instead of a prince, and Serse and Arsamene fighting over Romilda a much queerer take of brother and sister vying for the same woman than brother and brother. I am here for bi/pan Romilda! (Has this been done already? It must have been done. It’s so obvious. It’s even more obvious that a mud-catching “Partenope”, which is also on my list of “If I ever had to stage a Handel…”

Or perhaps this Herheim (!) production, of which I could find only trailers and snippets floating around YT, actually went there? (wasn’t this taped? I woudl buy that DVD in a heartbeat!)

The production has been running again this past month of March, but originally premiered in 2012. If you take a look at the production trailer below, there’s a bittersweet moment of seeing the original Serse, Stella Doufexis, being interviewed, a wonderful singer and passionately intelligent mind, who lost the fight against cancer this past winter.

2 thoughts on “Early Music Gender Carousel”

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