[Looks familiar? – Yes, but not quite. — This is a service announcement for those who would like to watch or rewatch the Brussels “Mitridate”: Take the cleaned up copy from the La Monnaie website (and not the ARTE video) since it has superior image quality. It also has has some different camera angles. – Not seen quite like this before: Myrtò Papatanasiu (Sifare) and Lenneke Ruiten (Aspasia), “Reverse Grasp”, in Mozart’s “Mitridate”, Brussels 2016. (La Monnaie copy)]
So at risk of sounding embarrassingly familiar with the ARTE video take (to write my analysis, I sat through quite a few rewatches – huge sacrifice, I know), I had the Brussels take running in the background earlier today and suddenly blinked at footage of Mitridate strutting into the theatre for his first aria. It looked unfamiliar.
Naturally, I thought “I probably missed this bit earlier because there was no soprano in the frame” (not that absurd a conclusion giving my focus in this particular production). But then I went back to the start and listened to “Al destin che la minaccia” and thought “No, wait a minute, that stalker close-up of a breathing Farnace behind the glass door looked differently… or didn’t it?”
It made sense when I arrived at “Soffre il mio cor con pace” and thought “I don’t know what my issue with the blocking was, it’s clear that Aspasia is somewhere between taken and embarrassed by Sifare taking her hand. …Wait a minute. Didn’t we puzzle about what happened there because of the frame cut?”
So I finally went back to ARTE and looked at the same scene there and while it’s the same night (I think? Miccing everyone and setting up the cameras for two different nights would be a bit of an overkill, wouldn’t it?), and most of the same angles, some bits are apparently different. And the image quality is truly much better.
I didn’t go about actually comparing takes, but there are things that feel new in the Monnaie website version, so if you would like to take another look (or a first look), check it out. It’s still available for stream on demand until June 13th (*hearteyes at La Monnaie*).
PS. I stand corrected, it’s a different take after all. Just check Aspasia’s wig during the above bit in comparison, and also the accent timing around the first cadenza ornamentation for “Soffre il mio cor” is a little different (now this should make for an interesting comparison rewatch – figuring out the variants between two nights of the same production in a shortly spaced time interval).