The Brussels “Mitridate” Liveblogging Thread

opernglas

Welcome to the White Shirt live comment thread for Mozart’s “Mitridate” from La Monnaie Brussels, starring Myrtò Papatanasiu as Sifare and Lenneke Ruiten as Aspasia (because let’s be honest about what we’re here for). The cast ast also includes Michael Spyres (Mitridate), Simona Šaturová (Ismene), David Hansen (Farnace), Sergey Romanovsky (Marzio) and Yves Saelens (Arbate).
Staging by Le Lab, conducting by Christophe Rousset. Full details at La Monnaie; libretto in Italian and English, for those who would like to read along, available here here.

353 thoughts on “The Brussels “Mitridate” Liveblogging Thread”

  1. wow, that’s some serious fontsize! hi everyone! i’m in. also, i captured the program in its entirety in anticipation that we can run it in parallel w/ the streamed version and not having time mismatch issues. This means it includes two 15-20min intermissions.

    I propose in the first intermission we can rewind the first 20min of the opera for those who might miss the beginning, since, let’s admit it, it *was* the first 20min from Paris that got me completely hooked! 😉

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        1. yes, a very strong-will Aspasia! VERY strong orchestration, *lovely* (non)subtle acting! here comes “Soffre il mio cor con pace” . MP’s voice sounds quite more warm here than in Paris!

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          1. i have no idea, might have been how sound is recorded? very much like her first aria!! the dynamics with Aspasia is working… and now the coat is off into the B-section of the aria

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  2. Just logging in at minute 30 – sorry I am late. My valkyries are finally asleep.

    I cannot believe I missed Al detin che la minaccia and the shirt aria!!!!
    Was there a shirt? Was there any kind of *grasp*?

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    1. and we definitely need to replay the first 25min, it was greaaat singing from MP! (i was amazed by how warm her voice is here!) . very strong take from Aspasia too

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      1. Oh, darn it. I cannot believe I missed all that!!
        I swear, when my wife is home, they go to bed a lot more willingly. *sigh*

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        1. no worry, we’ll rewind during the intermission. i impressed by both acting and singing. now enduring the tenor (or bass) Arbate? why did they replace the soprano?

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  3. Oh, nel sen mi palpita, and someone is having a signature stance next to a lady in distress!
    I like Ruiten, but it is completely different sound in color than Petibon. Hard to believe it is the same role.

    …D.H. sounds distorted to me.

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    1. I think you need to see Ruiten in her first aria to get a feel for the character.. otherwise this is quite a jump. (i’ll HAPPILY rewatch with you during intermission)

      I really like the orchestra, has a drive when needed

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    1. Actually, can I switch this aria against the one the brother did not sing…?
      Sound is somewhat more rleaxed here than in the recit, but parts come across garbled when he has to get across the orchestra.

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      1. Yeah, looks more like a casting glitch – he is not bad in scene presence and acting, but I am not convinced vocally here (and I liked his Rivals album).

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    1. i saw him live *three* times last year in Boston when he was the feature poster-CT in L’Incoronazione di Poppea and Agrippina.. and have really really mixed feeling (more on the can not handel side.. but i might be very biased..)

      oh, here comes Sifare..

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      1. Please excuse the beginner question, but you guys have mentioned that both Farnace and Arbate can be played be mezzos, and I was wondering whether how fluid the boundaries between vocal ranges for roles are? I was under the impression that roles were generally assigned to a specific type which are generally stuck to?

        Anik replying (sorry for editing it right into your comment, but otherwise it might get lost in the slew of comments tonight):
        usually, the roles are assigned to rather specific voice types, depending on range. Some singers can bridge gaps, though. For Sifare, you generally need a soprano, for Farnace a mezzo. Arbate is different case: the part was written for a soprano and has been transposed an octave done for tenor here.

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    1. Spyres looked better without the artificial white in his hair. But that aside, he really has good phsyical presence for the role.

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  4. oh my God they were not kidding with styling Ismene after Merkel.
    (not that I think Merkel would ever have been a coloratura soprano)

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    1. yes, definitely older and also a power player, more an equal to Mitridate?

      (God, I hate it when people clap into the music. And I still am miffed about that missing Sifare aria.)

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  5. Spyres is a lot softer and more controlled in this aria than in Paris. Not as much barely contained menace. Also works well. And *those* are some cultivated lines.

    The staging so far looks like the Vienna “Agrippina”, but feels, while more flashy than Paris, not played for quick laughs.

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    1. I’d sign up to be sung against the wall by her.

      But yes, I agree. Perhaps he works better with earlier repertory on stage? Not sure. Then again, the ladies are really strong in this. (god, just imagine Mary-Ellen Nesi next to this…)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. is it bad taste to look at the soprano in the blue suit (better in action than in stills, although nothing will ever beat gray heringbone tweed) while the soprano in the red suit is singing?

    Also, a completely different take vocally – voice much deeper and warmer in color. I listen more to the middle range parts than to the coloratura so far.

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      1. yes, it came across a lot more wounded, less confident. Also a very good and interesting take. I enjoyed it. Devieilhe has the more gleaming and effortless top notes, but this lyrical take? Also well worth the while.

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  7. The glasses and open shirt collar is a distractingly good look for Spyres. (though, hey, you know who else looks good in an open shirt collar…?!)

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  8. Mitridate here I found more controlled, more elegantly sung, a little lighter in stance – Paris was heavier, meatier, with more emphasis on the menace. (and TCE is the much bigger house, right?? And this is just the interim tent of La Monnaie anyway?)
    oh, the orchestra is nice here.

    and yes, it looks like drugs.

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    1. ok, i go make breakfast. when you’re ready to rewind let me know, i *want* to see the beginning again! 🙂 (i can let 2 running in parallel so as to not miss the timing..)

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    1. take the wine, Agathe!
      a) that’s a great excuse for anything we will post during Se viver non degg’io
      b) not sure all the GSS will be bearable sober 😉

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    1. if you don’t do any scrolling ti should jump automatically back to your just made comment after you posted.and no, there is not, really (we would have to move to a chat room?) – haven’t found a way yet. Sorry.

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      1. I believe there are some online chatrooms which allow the chat logs to be saved as separate files, but they would require reformatting if you wanted to post the transcripts afterwards

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    1. does not look bad, either. (not that testosteroney, either).
      (they should have gone with the sister plot)

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  9. how meta is it to have this Sifare describe Aspasia as “La bella Greca” ?

    – oh, I like the Aspasia take. Knowing smiles!

    Farnace when silent is good here. 😉 And here we go, Al destiiiiiiiin,,,,,

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      1. I will just flail a bit since I missed the first round.

        Completely different voice type, both less smooth and less fierce than PP, but it works.

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  10. niiiiiicely done cadenza.

    I don’t think I’ll ever be over Petibon in this, but this is a competely independent take, and it is really go—-

    WAIT, did Sifare just try to plant one on her?

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  11. Shirt Aria! Shirt Aria!!! 🙂

    (in three years, I will be blackmailable by what I say tonight, won’t I?)

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    1. it has just occured to me they might be putting this out on dvd.. b’c i keep seeing very good microphones in the pit and what seems like running in back of singers too…

      oh, here comes warmmm Sifare’s voice..

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  12. the accompagnato is very similar in styling to Paris. (not that there was a need for any changes)
    aria start is very differently colored in the orchestra and — wait, what did I want to say? – I get distracted when the soprano in question keeps staring into the camera –

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    1. okay, the staccato line is slower and broader here, brodering on amrcato and leaving the impression denser around the middle range. that changes the impression (less youthful/joyful, perhaps?)

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    1. I was wondering whether there was a glitch in recording?!

      I can already name you 2 first act arias where the plane would have annoyed me less!

      (and here, I really like Hansen in acting. A little strong, but I like the energy he brings!!)

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  13. I get the impression that Paris (also because of the multiple stage presence at all times) was more tightly directed. Not that I mind the lounging across all available chairs. I guess that is why they are called lounge chairs.

    Nice accent by the cembalo!

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    1. just saying i haven’t quite recovered yet from that rewinding.. 😉

      (Hansen sounds same to me as when i heard him live, i made comment at that time: his acting is much stronger than his singing, the low notes “disappears” and the high notes (not sure here but as Nerone in L’incoronazione di Poppea was a bit difficult for the ears) , and you don’t hear the vocal acting

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      1. having heard him elsewhere i’d even argue it’s not just which role, it’s his voice…

        ohhhhhh, Sifare has arrived and made eye contacts withe Lady Aspasia…. excuse me…

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  14. Tu che fidel mi sei starts completely different in accent by the orchestra – faster, strings much lighter… again, less with the sheer powerhouse, more with the suave politician.

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  15. But if we have Sifare at Aspasia’s feet at this point already, however will we work up to Lungi da te?

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  16. Sifare, I think you are holding these papers upside down. 😀

    This Sifare is much more annoyed with his father here and less devoted to him. (more “Modern” take?) also, ASpasia is distractingly cute here. I would totally carry her handbag for her.

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  17. “Non più, regina” —

    but yes, but yes.
    Just pass me the smelling salts.

    (the warmth also might be the voice carrying differently in the smaller hall?)

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  18. fine, I never figured that you could use “Lungi da te” to seduce someone, but JUST LOOK AT US IT CLEARLY WORKS LIKE A CHARM.

    Oh holy Mary Mother Of God.

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  19. and in case you wondered what the remaining 30 White Shirt Mondays of 2016 will be: it will be M. Papatanasiu TAKING. OFF: HER. TIE.

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    1. that was my first thought, too (when thought slowly became an option again)

      possibly, we may have to be chained to our seats in October.

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    1. me too, i quite like her take. I think the whole dynamics are different than Paris.. i was already able to unhook it by her first aria, i think the orchestra’s take helps to bring different energy, the staging flows, and acting (MP!! i’m sorry if i repeat myself here, her acting!)

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      1. *incredible* singing and phrasing!!
        so you all heard she’s much warmer here as well! indeed it might be a smaller house? orchestration is also a bit different, i noticed the “start” of Lungi da te was quite rhythmical.. and then (s)he slowed down… and then the jacket..

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    1. the flow also works very well for her type of voice – isn’t Rousset usually touted as a “Singer conductor”? This might be part of it.

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      1. yes, this is the first time i reallly get to hear his orchestration in something i’ve studied in detail 😉 (and really like his take! supporting the singers so well! <– but now i think i have supports for what i wanted to write re. E.Haïm's conducting post)

        here comes the CT… at least we get to see *someone* in red tie (that red tie should stay w/ Aspasia!! should have swapped out w/ her blouse "tie"!!)

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  20. D.H. comes across as uneven again – while orchestra does a very nice, sharp, beat.
    (and how often did I see that Paris version that I am kind of waiting for Sifare’s laugh to fit in and am puzzled when it does not come?)

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  21. someone really moves well in a suit. (they aren’t even in the accompagnato yet and I need to sit down already)

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        1. (oh i knew you were not talking about firefox , and i completely agree re. getting married.. but i was still ranting at firefox popping things–at least this was not as critical as my working email that popped in full of budgets + stuff.. and i had to scan through the whole video at fast speed to detect where it was and toss out 1sec.. so i did see some “action” at high speed related to Lungi prior at but it was in haste i didn’t know the context 😉 )

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          1. I was so entranced, I barely even noticed (and again, many thanks for doing this for us and making the video available!!)… now I finally finsiehd my review above and will continue there.

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    1. I mean, yes, it works n the idea is not bad, but it is a surface effect and cuts away from the tragedy streak.

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      1. might have been the marriage contract w/ Mitridate? i like it actually!
        But the sound was ruined , i think they both sound harsh due to some vacuum cleaner running in background washing out the “warmth” of their voices

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  22. I’m wondering what is supposed to happen to them in this staging, probably they are not going to be killed, do they have to resign form their political posts?

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  23. ok, intermission 2 – what do we do? Anyone in need of an ice bucket, a stiff drink, or both combined?

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    1. how is time running? we can fast forward to the 3rd part after a 5min break?
      (not sure how i can handel Lungi at this point… i think it will take a toll on me for the next 20hours… so best to forge forward?)

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    1. oh, let’s do that then! i was a bit disappointed by the duet.. due to ruined sound.. so let’s recover with MP’s Lungi indeed! we reconvene at the hour? clock now says 16:57, we reconvene at :00 ?

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  24. Sorry, I’m off to bed now, I’m not getting much sleep these days (guess where my children sleep or rather don’t sleep) and they will be up very early in the morning, so I will enjoy the rest and your comments tomorrow. It’s been lots of fun, thank you very much for organizing this and good night everyone!

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  25. The horn (the orchestra sound seems more fanned out here, too, but in a good way?), the coat, the looks — excuse me while I melt into my Scotch for the next ten minutes.

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  26. only appropriate reaction at this point is dropping your shirt?
    Can’t say I disagree much with Aspasia here.

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  27. So Act II verdict: a little udnerwhelmed by Se viver non degg’io, completely overwhelmed by Lungi da te.
    Should we move on to Act III?

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    1. ok!
      (wasn’t the Munich Capuleti the one where they were not allowed to touch…? Well, there’s that, and there’s VK!)

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      1. yes, directorial decision and since it’s Romeo and Juliet, that came across kind of strung out
        (and like wasted opportunities)

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      2. it was director’s idea, but you need *very* good singing actresses to carry the idea across… i wrote a set of *eight* posts about this 🙂 , essentially when you don’t act well it looks like they’re avoiding each other like disease… and then you introduce VK (and Netrebko) and … o.m.g…

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      1. yes, i saw it yesterday on Arte concert. a must watch, very different energy. I think this one stands as a good staging but not *very very deep* in meaning like in Paris..

        Though i think we will several analyses on Sifare and Aspasia’s mindsets and dynamics i’m certain (i will, even if nobody proceeds..)

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      2. It should be. If not, we can help you out.
        and, God, you MUST watch Paris. Prepare to have your heart ripped out, but also it is SO good, and SO goodlooking. The Shirt!! (You’ll know what we mean when you see it)

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  28. Pallid’ombre is also deep here; but whereas PP is the sharp, bright pain close to madness, fearless in her honesty, this is melancholy and sadness and regrets…

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  29. at least here is properly saying goodbye.
    (at least kiss the girl before you rush off to get killed!)

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    1. still, this is my secret favorite
      If there is one aria in this opera that you just want to throw you up against the wall (and this is the most polite way I can phrase it): that would be this one.
      (here, I like the Haim take a lot more)

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    2. i need to read up on the libretto for this… it’s the aria i’m most unfamiliar with..
      also, Aspasia seemed to let Sifare off the hook way too easy there! it’s quite on the surface with no deep development of character…

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  30. sorry, Farnace – my first thought at seeing him with his shirt half undone and in a tank top is “…could we have that on his brother, please?”

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      1. better here, but sad to say that I am not really warming up to him; I find his vowels often too distorted and the sound not even or round enough. Then again, tastes differ.

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        1. as i said.. i endured him for the entire spring last year.. what upsets me also was they’re all plastering him all over the place for all the “big” male characters over the entire spring..

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      1. sadly i don’t think they’re release Paris on dvd… that would be the keeper..
        but me goodness.. this Lungi da te… i trust you will implement your screen-cap machine to full capacity 😉

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  31. Wellll.
    I think the White Shirt Monday arsenal for the upcoming months won’t be any less heavy on Greek sopranos.

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      1. “Mitridate” should be the next Mozart discovery, and it should occupy part of *someone’s* schedule in the next few years. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  32. Ladies both commenting and silent, it has been a pleasure to fangirl with you tonight/today.
    I’m signing out (office tomorrow morning, and it’s nearly 1:30) and am looking forward to rereading everything in detail tomorrow.Thank you for your company!

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    1. Thank you very much for hosting, and it was great fun being able to stream this with all of you! (And a special thank you to thadieu for the video capture 😊)

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  33. She was very strong here acting-wise. Somehow in Paris she got a bit into the shadow of PP’s more outgoing approach, here she was the driving force. Can I also say I liked her being less classical beautiful

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    1. what does it mean “classically beautiful” ?
      (as i said, though you know by now i’m quite biased, i’ve seen enough of her acting through Rusalka + Semiramide + 2006 donna Anna to say i ‘ve been quite impressed with her acting and vocal phrasing..)

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      1. As much as I like this scene 🙂 the second part of it didn’t really convince me. Exactly, PP wouldn’t have let him get up again and somehow I don’t sense that in Ruitken. It reminds me a bit of our recent discussion of actors not being able to entirerly switch of their daily personality. Also, the scene produces a bit of a strange picture of Sifare, why would he first try to seduce her and then suddenly leave (and letting her stand there in her bra)? But maybe I have to watch this more often to get a clearer picture of this 🙂

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        1. yes, that is clearly the most pertinent course of action 😉

          (I put up a post above for more coherent discussion, and this is one point where I am interested in the directorial choice, too!)

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