The Aix “Trionfo” Liveblogging Thread

opernglas

Welcome to the White Shirt live comment thread for Handel’s “Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno” from the Aix-en-Provence festival, starring Sara Mingardo (Disinganno), Sabine Devieilhe (Bellezza), Franco Fagioli (Piacere) and Michael Spyres (Tempo).

Emmanuelle Haïm conducts Le Concert d’Astrée, the staging is by Krzysztof Warlikowski. Further production details can be found on the Aix festival website, the video stream of the production is available through culturebox.

The libretto is available in Italian and German; in English, I could only find the libretto for the 1757 rework (here and here – the overall gist is the same) – if you have a link for the 1707, please add and share.

289 thoughts on “The Aix “Trionfo” Liveblogging Thread”

  1. The one time I’m not working during one of these, but I have a dentist appointment! Maybe I can join later on…

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  2. i like how she’s singing this aria, it’s got this internal feeling to it, a bit stoned, a bit philosophical (to the audience) . i’ve only seen this seen in the flirting set up and really like this variation

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  3. Da capo, and here we are with the dazzle – nice messa di voce by Devieilhe.
    (Overall, I find this aria take a little less rounded than her Paris Ismene, but it’s just getting started)

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    1. and I guess my vision of perfection would include something along the line of coming home in the morning to a contralto making me a coffee and singing Handel.😉

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    1. i thought it was already taken off from the start! i listen to lots of version of il trionfo… i’d say more now the storyline is really un-folding.. and you see more of the character (through both their vocal + visual actings)

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  4. my favorite thing so far perhaps that the Haim reflection is constantly visible. That’s some nice fanservice

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    1. oh yes, i noticed that through Lang’s clips too!! that the ENTIRE range seems low, and then i head E.Haïm described it as “baritono-tenor” or something like that

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    1. is that Breslik on the recording? Completely different, and both very good.

      WOW, that melisma Spyres just did.
      (makes one wonder – this whole aria – where he will go. I’m thinking Troyens right now.)

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      1. the older Haim? Yes, I think that’s Prina.
        I don’t have the covers here – it’s on my kitchen forever CD, my own burn mix.

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  5. eh…are they trying to add an abuse angle?
    Is Bellezza supposed to be pregnant, too, hence all the sickness (not the sea this time!)
    — also, I don’t get the set yet. Why the theatre/cinema?

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    1. for Fagioli? I don’t think so.
      (fo the moshing dancer, perhaps)
      (And Devieilhe looks better in his jeans anyway)

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      1. oh, that was his jeans! i don’t mind the dancing.. they look a bit like these indoor people i see on the treadmills on my walk home.. and now i see hime dangling on the pullup bar too, see! advocating exercising😉

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    1. Lang mentioned that Devieilhe is pregnant. I’d guess about 4 months?
      (hope she’s past the nausea part. Because all that fake throwing up and curling up on floors… ugh)

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  6. One, Spyres does have a certain foxiness in this role. Two, damn, those trills(double beats) right now! (if I am not distracted by Greek sopranos in his presence, I am really impressed by how good he is)

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  7. SD, who looks far better in those maternity jeans than anyone should.
    And yes, this one – it’s a duet?. Also, Fagioli as a flamboyant drug dealer does have a weird Conchita vibe to it. Not bad.

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  8. I am wondering whether I would buy Hallenberg as the drug dealer. She would act the hell out of it, I’m sure, but her voice is so different – so much “this is why you can still believe in humanity”, and not really fitting in with flamboyance or camp.

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      1. Silla was so different, though – much more even, controlled, and the whole approach much more lyrical. He gets to try out wilder things here.

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  9. Intermission – should we keep it running, or rewind something, or fast-forward to pt. 2? Agathe has the early schedule tomorrow.

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    1. you tell me how you’d like, i’m flexible… (currently seeing SM intently watching SD singing, she just sighted slightly… you’re gonna have to drag me off staring at her…)

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    1. just done rewinding 3rd time… i’m reading to roll whenever Anik is. (but will come back for the quartet again, *love* the music + mix of voice. SD is sooo good in singing this)

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      1. so, is Tempo still the father figure? Or an other father figure? Or another version of it? Or the ghost of Derrida?

        (And another beer for the oboe!!)

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    1. i recall Lang mentioning passing out or something…
      (just to repeat what you said.. but i reallly love her way of singing this.. part of the staging of the character, but revealing a troubled youngster with original view of “beauty” in life..)

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  10. I love this Piacere aria. Hnnng, the drive from the pit!
    (I am THIS CLOSE to starting with my young Marlon Brando comparisons again!)

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    1. [i have a theory: i think our brain is prone to a certain “oscillation” and mine is really to FF’s frequency , so i can not hear his musical expression because the only thing i hear is the pronounced oscillation]

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    2. his has no uniform sound, but I don’t mind that.

      Looking at him act – and the grace he had when it comes to movings his hands and his head here – I wonder if he has ever been cast in a female role; I think he could sell it, voice included. And it is completely different here than his Silla, which was much more sober, much tighter also in physicality. INteresting.

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      1. yes, i really like his acting. the non-uniform sound, i guess if one is a fan of VK one is not having so much issue.. again i think it’s the bit coming in and out of audible range for me.. but enough on FF.. SM is now arriving for the “family” gathering while SD is singing more heartbreaking tunes to viola da gamba

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    1. i’ve been thinking about her character, she’s constantly smiling “happy with herself” , sort of this “disconnection” we have in life when our immediate surrounding is passing us by with their content and not understanding what troubles one’s specific mind..
      (oh trhahreexcuseme she’s singing…) omg, that loooooow “O” to the rose…

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  11. so basically… the dead boyfriend went commando underneath the sheet just so Piacere could pull it up for half a second?!

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  12. I think with the complete change of looks for Tempo, and a bit also for Disinganno, I go with “imagined assortment of parental roles”, as thadieu suggested.

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  13. Also, I’d say SD is past month 5. (which is not relevant at all, I’m just trying to remember the stage of that)

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  14. And if this a lecture hall: why does it have cushioned seats, and mine do not?

    OH, QUARTET SINGING! (but he he stole that one from himself, too)

    Overall, I find the staging – unless there’s a big final reveal – too much on the illustrating side. Yes, drugs are a logical analogy to translate the plot to today, but I am missing a stance on that.

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    1. I fully expected SD to sing it and then remembered that it’s for the mezzo.

      An we are used to hearing so much as an earnest lamento in the Cleopatra version that it’s really a 180 to have it set up as some leisurely seduction.

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      1. in contrast, i’ve only heard it in this before… just done dangling off the pull-up bar to it, i did enjoy his singing there. i guess when it’s *very* slow it works for me

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  15. I wish I’d finally graps the placing of the extras in the auditory.

    Also, who is going to propose to whom with that ring?! Do the parents want Bellezza to properly marry her (formlery?) drug-dealing boyfriend? Is Disinganno reminiscing about her how marriage to Tempo, or about to pop the question to Bellezza?
    …hm. okay, it’s not a ring. Again with the “mirror” and the jewels? Ah je ris de me voir…?

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  16. so…Bellezza is dressing in a communion dress and Piacere is pissed? Who cares, when the otehr two are dueting like this!

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      1. 😀
        (That time you get to spend 5 months in two pairs of trousers and nobody will say anything! – Though I never looked this good in them)

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    1. his (Spyres’) voice is very nice, but i think it’s not as light as Breslik? it’s got this darkness to it and he’s taking it very “light” in texture/heft here to match well with SM… (ahhhhhh, the violins rising…. ahhhhhh.. hellp…)

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  17. oh, i must have missed something drooling over the duet.. she’s now being committed to the monastery? (what’s the equiv for the version with the cross?)
    (and i think she’s about the sear my hair off… oh not her, him!)

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  18. …and Bellezza is breaking up with her boyfriend and entering a cloister? Or marrying him?

    Oh, COME NUBE! This suits his virtuosity.

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  19. So, Bellezza just slit her wrists? …but why? Not getting it.
    (but hey. as long as she keep singing, I won’t ask much about the staging.)

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  20. Or is this supposed to be a comment on the impossibility of gaining access to truth and reason in today’s superficial, hedonist society that is so much focused on physical “beauty”?

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      1. then you’d have bourgeois institutions (like marriage) killing Beauty, and forcing Beauty away from enjoyment, perhaps? Also an intriguing idea. But then, what is with all the zombie beauty queen extras?

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      2. i still see her as a lonely individual with imaginary “figures” .. will need to work Piacere into this somehow as to whether he’s real or also part of her “friends”

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    1. yes, and being unable to connect or feel, and being trapped in “beauty” ideals, perhaps? Including the boyfriend ghost who is the only one crying? (and who got replaced by the drug dealer?)

      I’d love to hear the initial pitch for this, what the core idea was. Because I am not sure I am getting it. (if we are even supposed to get anything beyond associations)

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      1. we can continue the analyses with time! there were some videos of explanations but i can’t say my french is good enough to understand fully. there’s 1 video with EM explaining the music..

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  21. i don’t understand all the nuances of the staging but i really like what i can work in my head. really love the “dark” atmosphere to the story, works much better for my mind than the “flirting” version typically seen

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    1. 🙂, i’d like to report i was not distracted at all (except when SM is arranging the table.. and her facial expressions..)
      I really like it. and while you both now go zzz, i’ll let it run again the whole thing…

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    2. I’d like to hear it again without the images, to only focus on the sound.

      I don’t get all bits of the staging, I think – I find it a good analogy overall (which may not carry an entire evening), and I also want to rewatch the second part to see whether I can figure out a few more things.

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    1. good night! (i wondered if you might be a bit too influenced by the 1st edition of EM’s recording? i have heard sooo many diff versions hence *really* enjoying this! )

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      1. You may be right here, but I also definitely enjoyed this! (actually I would spontaneously even prefer SD over Dessay) Maybe the staging didn’t have such a distracting effect on you because you had heard the radio broadcast before, so you didn’t have to process so much new information?

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  22. And I guess now we have to bid Agathe goodnight? (I am yawning already, as well)
    It has, again, been a great pleasure to share an opera evening with you. Thank you for playing along.
    Perhaps we can figure out a date for Così next week in the next few days?

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    1. sounds great! just done eating breakfast here. guess what will be playing while i debug the code for the afternoon?😉
      yes, Così planning sounds good! (i miss PP with her leather jacket, fantastic hair, gum chewing, and bike helmet!)

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      1. perhaps we have to start doing “vintage viewings” as well – for that Così, or also for Paris, which we did not watch together

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      2. Oh, and not Paris, but Brussels: Tomorrow, I’ll post the last part of the “Bond” Mitridate. There’s one shot in there especially for you, I’m sure you’ll recognize it.😉

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      1. How’s your social calendar next week, Agathe? Any preferences? I could probably free up most nights as of 8:30 p.m. And thadieu? May we impose upon your lunch break / breakfast again? I’ll also check in with towanda, she mentioned she was up for some more Ruiten.

        >

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          1. Perhaps Thursday again? …thadieu, how are your meetings next week? (Also, towanda – interested and any preferences?)

            >

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  23. i put the radio broadcast here. it contains 2 very nice interviews at intermission, 1 w/ EM, 1 w/ SD, (and i think 1 with the director too, haven’t gotten there yet tonight..) . watch out for the strange Spyres’ evil twin brother competing with him singing just before the quartet… at first i thought i had 2 things running.. but it was a glitch in the original radio broadcast (their stereo system went truly stereo😀 ).

    SD has very nice things to say about the director and about EM.. and EM has some very nice things to say too about him, as well as about SD and SM..

    (my french is a bit too broken to hear what she said the director asks her to do toward the end of the interview..)
    (if i hear correctly she said EM contributes with the da capo.. which also makes me think of the Paris Mitridate..)
    (and indeed the “good news” as Lang report, and this is the last on-stage opera she will perform for the next few months..)

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    1. If you add in the Da Capo sections like this, it points towards a series of visions/imaginations instead if one coherent narrative. Thank you for putting it up, I am looking forward to the interviews! It is so different when you are part of the development or even just see it grow over a longer period of time before it’s all done. What I truly appreciate is that it wasn’t just pretty and the flirting approach – it made me think, and I am still thinking, also about the issues that Lang just raised. It felt more like something was at stake – a little ham-handed in the imagery, perhaps, but do we start thinking if we get not jarred out of the lure at some point? More food for thought.

      >

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  24. Seems to me you guys had a great Trionfo night, took me some time to go through the tread! Yes Anik that short film for sinfonia was quite a jolt, seeing SD dancing and seeing them tongue-passing the pill gave me a mixture of no-I-don’t-want-to-see-this and oh-but-the-heartthrob! I’d watched it many times ended up cropping that part out. I think four of them did pretty good job as actors, especially FF and SD. Is Krzysztof Warlikowski more of a film director than stage director?

    Yes I also like the idea of Haim’s reflection on the front surface/mirror of the glass casket.

    I agree with Agathe on distraction of the stage action, especially the extras, reducing their number and appearances wouldn’t hurt, for my liking. It is perhaps only me but what’s with that drug taking boyfriend’s re-appearance time and again? Isn’t he supposed to be dead? He gets on my nerves. If we need an image of indulgence and seduction, FF’s Piacere is always there, why an extra.

    For the singing four of them are all good, although I do have to warm up to FF. As Anik said it, sometimes he is just too much of a Bartoli! SD and SM are both very, very impressive. As I said before, the “Un pensiero nemico di pace” stunned me, hearing her flying, diving, descend and ascend from it, with such a bold da capo. Normally “Un pensiero” gives me excitement, but this was so intense it struck me with tension, and I liked that tension. Isn’t that what “nemico di pace” is for?

    As for this stage production and its message, I will share my interpretation here and would love to hear yours. As we know the libretto of this oratorio was written by Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili and it was meant to be moral teaching, moral teaching it was, with allegorical characters. I can’t ascertain whether Handel wrote composed it for moral teaching or not but the music itself was as dramatic and beautiful as anything – would such expressive beauty of music (already very close to opera, which was banned in Roma) count as pleasure? And should that be refrained or given up, too? Was Handel’s music constructive or destructive to the moral of the oratorio? I can’t say.
    Anyway, that was that. Now translated into 21st century narrative by Warlikowski, what I get is not triumph of time and enlightenment, but rather, the tragic death of beauty. Beauty stifled by time, regulation and formality. Beauty was portrayed as adolescent, rash, and self indulgent, and of course, beautiful. But beauty is also self destructive. Disinganno the character is portrayed as quite sensible and detached (as amicable as SM the contralto can be), she tells truth as it is, under a cold light. Is Beauty enlightened by the end? Enlightenment or rather, disillusion? What I read, as a modern day audience, from this stage production is that order and formality (he made reference to religion too, with the IHS emblem on the front of the robe that Beauty was made change into) stifle creativity and beauty.
    But my question is: is drug, sex, delinquency beauty? Is death the destiny of beauty, Mr. Warlikowski?
    This is something I find difficult to swallow. Mr. Warlikowski added a bit too much of his own agenda to this oratorio.
    Nevertheless, I bow to the musicians: the soloists, the orchestra and the marvelous Emmanuelle Haïm.

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    1. Thank you for your insights, Lang!

      Perhaps the central question (or one of them) is whether “hedonist” beauty always comes with some self-distruction, with some self-centeredness, some self-indulgence… and whether that simply belongs to it? Is any form of beauty imaginable without a touch of this? (and is Warlikowski’s take to show this impossibility of beauty to exist within full rationality and regulation and (spiritual) transcendence to simply take it to the extreme so that one really has to stop to think about it?) Does beauty and creativity depend on a grain of cahos, at least? And what is beauty, even? It looked like it was a conscious point that it is NOT the zombie beauty queens.

      So perhaps death is always inherent in beauty (where Rilkesque, actually), to a point that has here been extended and made more visible, and perhaps not drugs, but giving oneself over to a mindless state, or letting go and giving in to pleasure in general (through drugs of choice, or sex), and following one’s impulses instead of rules is a necessary part of beauty/pleasure? Can it be balanced with civilized existence, or not, ultimately? (is this a take on the Nietzschean Appollonian/Dionysian?)

      And the counterimage really is not Time, but Disenchantment: removed from “beauty” and emotion and kept in shallow self-indulgence just as well, because without a bit of chaos there will be no real feeling and no real challenge…?

      But then all these aspact are tripped up by the beauty and sensuality of the music – e.g. Disinganno projects so much warmth and feeling, there is “true” emotion everywhere, so beauty can happen, and it can happen within a certain order…? Is it about the balance? And is the balance sonically possible and present, and philosophically not? Is it supposed to be an unsolvable contradiction of thought vs. senses also on this meta level?

      …should I open a new thread, if you’d like to discuss this more?

      (also: they were passing a pill in that movie clip? That detail must have slipped right past me…)

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        1. …just went back and checked it (possibly three times… ehm…)
          you were right. I must have been distracted!

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  25. Agathe says:
    July 28, 2016 at 21:19

    Oh, I just thought she would run away with the nurse
    ——————————————-
    Line of the day!!😀
    That nurse certainly has the vibe, and that attitude

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  26. OK, I put up another of Disinganno’s aria, with Tempo’s leers, and Nurse with an attitude (she looks Italian, and Bellezza was looking at her across the stage and ran after her briefly, or was that for the handbag……)

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    1. Did you notice Piacere staring at the nurse? And I agree with your earlier post about the male model. Piacere’s presence would have been sufficient (also, he’s a better dancer).

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    2. obsession on orange alert. i can not believe i did not see the nurse at all until now😀 . but did anyone notice Disinganno was fixing her lipsticks too? now i finally get Agathe’s comment of Bellezza running after the nurse..

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        1. no, she was completely off my radar.. i tell you, tunnel vision, works wonder in prevention of distraction😉
          (i still need to eventually locate this glass box with something happening in there that you mentioned..)

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    3. wow, now that i pay attention to everyone else in this clip, there’s soooooo much going on! soooo many layers hinting to the whole messy psychology! Tempo in particular is alarmingly perverted.. and this Disinganno is quite manipulative! at first when i noticed her smiling at the table arrangement i did think she was detached from reality and happy with these irrelevant things (a different psychological issue). But now i see her as totally calculated and manipulative.

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      1. Manipulative and focused on her idea of order, which also leaves her detached from anyone else, because when you’re too sure you’re right, you don’t try to comminicate to others, you jusr try to indoctrinate them?

        >

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