The Aix “Trionfo” – Aftershow Thread & Review

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[Still things to discuss about the Aix “Trionfo” production? Join in below! – Sabine Devieilhe (Bellezza) and Sara Mingardo (Disinganno) in Handel’s “Il trionfo del tempo de del disinganno”, or “All is good if tanktops and contraltos are involved”. Aix-en-Provence 2016.]

So that the discussion about the production doesn’t get lost underneath the liveblogging thread – below a few of the opinions voiced for reference, and to get us started:

thadieu on Disinganno:

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..

***

Anik:
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”?

Agathe:
Very nice interpretation. But maybe they haven’t thought that far and she is just totally fed up with her patronizing parents.

Anik:
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?

thadieu:
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”
***
Lang:
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.

Anik:
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?

61 thoughts on “The Aix “Trionfo” – Aftershow Thread & Review”

  1. (I had the culturebox link open for reference as I typed this up (and to find a suitable Mingardo screencap) – now rocking out to the overture (espeically the part as of 3:00) as I work, it is SO good!
    …now my office colleague walked in who was supposed to have left for the weekend already. I may have some explaining to do.)

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    1. i had it run 3x last night, with the last one on radio…
      will come back for more discussion later today. just done lots of swearing with them data. time to go look at Bond again for good dream…

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  2. Regarding Anik’s “you’d have bourgeois institutions (like marriage) killing Beauty, and forcing Beauty away from enjoyment”, good observation! I was thinking along this line too. The figures of Tempo and Disinganno seemed to push Beauty to conform while Piacere constantly tried to lead her astray. When she finally conformed, she died. So, contrary to the oratorio’s orginal title “La bellezza ravveduta nel trionfo del tempo e del disinganno”, it is “La Bellezza morta nel trionfo del tempo e del disinganno”……

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  3. And that abuse implication, I think Anik mentioned it? I get a bit of that too, from Bellezza’s sudden defiant kiss on Tempo, from Tempo’s occasional glances at Bellezza and the act of smell her toothbrush. A bit uncomfortable to look at. An unnecessary sidetrack, I think, Mr director got carried away.

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    1. I am wondering whether this is also a point literally – bourgeois institutions furthering abuse? And even their leftist antithesis with the 68 free love ideas perpetuating the same patriarchist power structures? Or is it a more abstract point on institutions economizing nonconformity and subjugating it into conformism?

      >

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  4. If you see it in the light of bourgeois institutions being the death of beauty this production certainly did a very good job in highlighting the contrast of young, carefree, dancing beauty versus the parental figures. The ‘mother’, as thadieu pointed out, indeed displayed an unnerving self-satisfaction and -righteousness, circling around her perfect table arrangement (no matter how broken the family, the main thing is to have them neatly arranged at the table). The ‘father’ is even more problematic, given his styling he is maybe using leftist Hippie ideals of sexual freedom to justify abuse of his daughter? Bellezza breaking out of this hypocrite environment by killing makes perfect sense. Could be that these figures are only in her head and ‘appear’ in her mind in the context of her pregnancy (which I think was also made part of the staging), because it makes going on without bourgeois structures impossible for her. So, in itsself this staging does make sense for me.

    However, as you pointed out, Anik, this interpretation is at odds with the beauty and sensuality of the music of ALL figures, including Tempo and Disinganno. This is an extremely strong point for me, and I think part of the reason why I found the staging so distracting at times. Quite often, what you see simply doesn’t fit with what you hear (the dancing is also an example, meant to be sensual, but turning out rather ridiculous). It’s also a very interesting question, Lang, if Händel worked out his music in favour or against moralist issues. Maybe he just detached himself from it? Because it is true, that Tempo’s and Disinganno’s music does not work well as a counterpoint to beauty.
    In my view, while the origin of this work included moralist issues, the main message on the transiency of life and disillusionment from dreams and wishes during the course of life is a strong and timeless topic, anyone who is not 20 anymore can connect to (as we did in this blog a short while ago in the context of Rosenkavalier). Seen as natural phenomena of life, Tempo and Disinganno are not malicious, they can make us sad but there is nothing to hate about them.

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    1. Yes to everything you said!

      The oratorios written during the opera ban were purposefully operatic and sensual, so the moralist libretto was also a flimsy excuse to indulge in lavish descriptions of “piacere”. So there is a double layer to it. And the overall theme of age and disenchantment – timeless, indeed.

      Reading your point on the generational conflict really is another strong aspect of the concept, I think – the mother who cares about appearances and the morally corrupted “fatherly law” that tale the life and the energy and the ideals, no matter how wessy, away from the youth?

      Your observation on the 68 structures (like the Odenwald school cases) – spot on. I think it is meant to be uncomfortable, it eould not work otherwise. I know Warlikowski has done more opera, but my main beef with the evening would probably be that he has a good present-day concept for the story, but does not account for the layer of the music and how it relates to Beauty, Pleasure and Sensuality.

      >

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      1. Good points Agathe and Anik, glad we started this discussion thread and it clarified quite a few things for me.

        I Agree with Agathe on the contrast between the young and carefree and old and conformed can be seen as modern day metaphor of the relation between relentless and unsympathetic Time and Truth, and ravishing and transient Pleasure and Beauty.

        Anik said it, the double layer! Was the moral lesson the emphasis of the oratorio, or it had been used to serve other purposes – say, for the expressive, operatic music in an opera-forbidden Rome? The action was undermining what the text was saying. I think that is the intrigue.

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        1. That may be the double layer of Roman life at the time (Vatican governed) – having one thing that is forbidden, and then finding a way to have that thing regardless, with pretending to contemplate it for “moral” reason?

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  5. i’m lurking and reading these really insightful comments… and thought i should come clean and confess:
    1. i actually don’t know this story very well (but i do know the music from listening quite well!)
    2. i indeed was NOT distracted AT ALL during the show because i realized the only person i truly focussed on was S.Mingardo😉 . This is why i could offer insightful thoughts on her character. The 2nd person i really focused on, but i realized much more in her musical phrasing and how she fitted was SD (at one point i remember thinking her hair is really the 80s).
    3. indeed i didn’t notice all these other characters, though perhaps it’s also because i’m used to seeing them after viewing that clip Lang posted of SM about… may be 100x… but it’s true i never get distracted by other things unless they do something to “my” characters that don’t make sense. then i get quite passionately pissed (e.g., capuleti in Munich, or that shredding machine in Brussels..)
    4. Many of you pointed out here, that the “action” is in contradiction with the “music” (libretto)… Since i never really quite pay attention to the libretto i can see why i didn’t get bothered😀 . But if i can point to Brussels Mitridate or that nightmare Alcina in Genevre recently, when i do know the storyline then i can see why one can be quite upset with the “contradiction”. In this case i think it’s slightly different because I quite like the flow of the acting and potential hidden messages of the staging, and since i’m the expert in only digesting what i think i get and ignore everything else, it’s all good on my front…

    But yes, SM, when she’s on screen, i really didn’t notice anything/one else. you might be jotting it down as obsessive😉, but i was also very fascinated by her (intuitive) acting. and now to offer something very off topic, in case any of you did not know about this S.Mingardo, give it a glance. the first 7min is fully sufficient. (ok, sorry for hijacking the space to ramble, i just spent the last 2 days fighting and swearing with data… please proceed to ignore and resume your insightful discussions)

    (ps- i saw somewhere question re. Così, i can’t tell yet if i’ll be free next thurs, will have to wait until monday to sort some timing out with the secretary and will update you promptly)

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    1. Thadieu, no worries at all, we talk the libretto the metaphors and we also talk about the singers and the swoon spots😉
      Wow, Sara Mingardo in pants, rare! Like it.

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    2. I agree that Mingardo’s acting was impressive, but then, all four were extremely good acting-wise I think, and I found myself constantly torn between enjoying the acting and getting confused about the contrast of the staging with the music.
      On relistening, I had the overall impression that, compared to the older recording, Aix seemed a wilder, less polished, more emotional approach? This may be due to studio versus life recording or to a change in Haims conducting approach but also to the individual singers. Hallenberg and Breslik both have very beautiful, I’d even say ‘seductive’ voices, while Fagioli, by nature, has a very different sound (liked the mention of the ‘Conchita vibe’) and Spyres I find particularly strong in rough expressiveness. Regardig Devieilhe, I think, you basically said it all already, Lang, in your post about ‘Un pensiero’. I’m leaving out Disinganno out of this comparison (no objectivity possible), just saying that me still prefering Prina over Mingardo does not mean I do not immensely like Mingardo’s performance.
      In ‘Voglio tempo’ you can really hear the difference, with actual people interacting, getting angry, hurting each other in the Aix version compared to the more balanced version of the recording where it seemed more a ‘jointly project’.

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      1. yes, I thought the same thing, Agathe – both Devieilhe and Fagioli weren’t completely in sync in the pit in the most demanding, longest runs (the other two didn’t have any of that kind), not that balanced: but of course, it’s a live recording with a demanding show concept to boot. I love the studio recording (had it running again earlier tonight!), where of course all these things are synced perfectly, and God knows how many takes it took them, but I would agree that the energy and emotion is much stronger in this live take.
        My biggest “Wow, this is different!” is Breslik vs. Spyres because they make it sound like it is a different role. But yes, Hallenberg and Breslik are much more on the “well-kempt beauty” side.
        (Ah, and Prina. I guess as a singer overall, I’d go with Mingardo, but again, they are so different, and both so good! – Although I am beginning to think you have a thing for Prina, in between the Madrid Alcina an that French Cesare I have still sitting on my harddrive, and now reminiscing on that recording…😉 )

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        1. The difference between takes is also quite striking regarding the quartett at the end of part I (‘Se non sei più ministro di pene..’), which is an awesome piece of music anyway but really took my breath away in the Aix version. Devieilhe is bringing in a desperate quality here and also Haim’s conducting is more accentuating giving it even more force. I wonder if she also adapts to different singers or if it was primarily her approach, maybe a mixture of both.
          (Yes about the Prina thing, and I can still recommend the Toulon Cesare, which, in total, I find quite amusing regarding the staging and very good musically).

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          1. interesting question whether the difference is more live vs. studio, or whether adapting to singers also plays a part – obviously, very different voice types manage to shine while working with her in this.

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    3. Let’s figure out a day on Monday, then – Agathe says she’s also free Tue and Sat? We’ll find a date!

      (that Mingardo Ottone: ah, yes. THAT is what I was missing in the TADW Agrippina (in the TADW Incoronazione, there was Dumaux, so I can’t really complain…)

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      1. thurs is good for me! i/we can make this a regular for the summer you know!
        (ps- this opera will be interesting given than i have no-one to drool over watch/listen to in particular.)

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        1. you might actually have to pay attention to the plot, then😉 And who knows, something drool-worthy might come up. (it’s Mozart!) I’ve heard from towanda that the evening is very controversial, so there will probably enough to discuss either way.

          Thursday 8:30 p.m., then?

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          1. sounds good to me, if the kids co-operate! later by 15min or 1/2 hr is also ok in case needed, i’m flexible (just need to set alarm). to Mozart we go! (please, may i put this photo here? i’ll keep it small?)

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          2. …yes. Oh, yes.

            (and I’m not even that much into biking, but apparently, 2016 is my “never say never” year when it comes to sopranos)

            8:30 might be better for Agathe? Let’s see what she says.

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          3. Thursday 8:30 would be good for me, but we can wait for all kids to be in bed of course. Thadieu, you make me wonder about your daily rhythm, isn’t that afternoon in US?🙂
            Until Thursday I’ll then have to do my homework and finally finish the Petibon Cosi for comparison, I only made it until somewhere after that funny stripping scene of hers so far.

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          4. 8:30 should work – my wife will be home and she said she’d bring the kids to bed so we could start “Così”. So unless we get a wild Batman episode in the middle of teethbrushing, we should be fine.😉

            I’ll put a post up later today with the time and links. Looking forward to some Mozart with you!

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          5. Wow.
            We have a homemade one, no muscles at all, but I fear at spome point it will be deemed “uncool”.

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          6. yes, afternoon in US, if i don’t have to comply with human meetings i think my cycle is 28-hr and not 24… but since i do have to comply bedtime is typically after sunrise 🙂

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          7. you started it!
            (and then lang came in with the Morgana and here we are on another Petibender. Ah well. Not that I am complaining)

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          8. …I have a feeling that we will be here all day (just writing up a separate Morgana post for proper spotlight)

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          9. Yes I did. By fur coat Aspasia, I mean one of Patricia Petibon’s Aspasias (I think we need to figure out how many Aspasias she has sung), in an Austrian production. I have an impression of her wearing fur coat, standing on a top of a pile of rubbles, a scene of a defeated city. And I remember a picture of Sifare, wearing a sort of military uniform, from the same production, I am pretty sure I first saw this picture on your blog, years ago! But now couldn’t find the post (and that Sifare picture).

            But guess what, I managed to dig out the information, the fur coat Aspasia was a Theater an der Wien production, and guess who the Sifare was?
            http://theoperacritic.com/reviewsa.php?schedid=kgbmitrid0409

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          10. Oh yes, the 2009 Robert Carsen for TADW, which Brussels initially wanted to import, but it did not fit onto their interim stage. …there was Aspasia in a furcoat? Guess what (who) had me distracted…! Thank you for digging it up again (especially as the TADW page is still recovering from its design upgrade – still not back to the old userfriendliness…)!

            I mentioned the production here: https://aniklachev.wordpress.com/2016/02/28/white-shirt-madness-bonus-sifare-caps/ — thadieu may have posted stills?

            Petibon has apparently sung all the Aspasia everywhere in the past few years. If “Mitridate” now finally becomes more popular, I am sure I could come up with a suggestion for a Sifare to join her in all those productions.

            >

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  6. Afterword: the libretto represents a high philosophical debate of long standing. The production represents the same questions imaged as the personal lives of people like a modern festival audience. This seems to me a reduction; if that reduction is an intentional comment on the trajectory of the debate since Handel and Pamphili, well, irony may be sufficient for a post-modernity ambiguous about its self-regarding separation from history. Still I prefer to hear the work more in these terms:
    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-wayfarer-8/
    (the last work of one who then went out and ended time by committing history)

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    1. but of course the debate will have to change, in light of enlightenment and individualism, and a less holistic worldview – We didn’t touch upon that strand in the liveblog, but what came up was the question whether this reduction, or modern illustration, was all there was to the evening, or whether there was a stance in this visible beyond that.
      I have to admit that I found myself thinking more after pt. 2 than after pt. 1m, and then again in the discussion here.
      And perhaps it is also a split in between being more emotional musically, and in directing, going for a more dissecting look? I thought of that reading the poem, how the perspective on the debate is much more Marschallin, and Warlikowski has some cool-as-cucumber pill-popping, and then high drama, but nobody just sits in the corner with gentle tears (and Disinganno – who might get close to that – is supervising the table layout, although that is a staging of the part I truly enjoyed) – more irony, less heartbreak?

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  7. Let me move my comments from the previous thread to here as I think it’s the right spot. This is in reference to the latest yt vid Lang posted “Se la bellezza perde vaghezza”.

    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.

    ps- to add a note after more staring at SM: she’s also taunting Bellezza in that clip. so not only the clip hints on physical abuse (Tempo) but psychological abuse as well that Bellezza was put under. At this point I see how things fit with the libretto now: Tempo and Disinganno are both hypocrites spouting philosophical “life lessons”. This now makes the ending fitting for me: Bellezza seemingly mind-trapped for life made a decision to exit.

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    1. Yes, that line of psychological abuse is there, too.

      As much as I think that the production has not really a conscious stance on the beauty of the music itself and focuses on the plot instead, I think it is not a simple turnaround of “time and disenchantment are bad, poor beauty is good” – beauty is also messed up, dangerous, self-centered… But I do find the point made, or at least the question asked, whether some of this is normal/necessary/possibly positive. What the production doesn’t do – and there we are with the postmodernist cool FF mentions – is a solution or a moralist message other than “it’s more complex, and more grey than black and white”.

      >

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  8. while you are all sleeping, i’m now rewatching the whole thing again with “live” commentary…
    I have seen strong evidence now that all 3 characters (Piacere, Tempo, Disinganno) are in Bellezza’s head. After the initial dancing sequence, we started with Bellezza standing at the pole with the mirror singing (philosophically) about beauty in life. Next scene she woke up, in what appears to me now the hospital, and that she’s a patient. All 3 characters appear. This highlights as soon as she wakes up these characters are surrounding her. The conspiring pair introducing themselves to Piacere (and to us the audience, this is only a formality for US, because she already know them and it seems they already know each other). She proceeded with the first thing one does in the morning, brushing teeth, and Disinganno is already at her ears (and taunting). She went back to bed vomiting and sick (here i’m still unsure due to staged sickness or staged pregnancy, i think we can just assume both for now..) and Tempo now appearing and taking turn with the “lecture”. Note that whenever she’s “talking” Disinganno is “pleasuring-ly” typing to take note, another form of taunting (check out her face + smile while she’s typing!). Then Piacere interfered to tell Tempo his words are hurtful, highlighting that these characters can exist all at the same time in Bellezza’s head. They (Piacere and Bellezza) proceeded with the duet about life and beauty while Bellezza is constantly eyeing Tempo and Disinganno’s at the corner, and Disinganno is gleefully typing again “taking note” of what Bellezza is saying to use as evidence against her for later lectures. Finally having enough of them all, Bellezza stood up and turn off the light. ALL three characters *disappeared*. Note the manner they disappeared! so in her head as soon as there’s daylight (or when she’s awake) they’re there to torment/seduce her. This transitions naturally into “un pensiero nemico di pace” as she constantly flicking the light on and off , keeping light-on short enough so these characters dont’ appear yet but enough time for her to vent…

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      1. Thank you! I think we were aware it happened and that it was aired on TV/streamed, but since the same night, the murders in Nice happened, concert-hunting on YT kind of fell to the wayside. It is strange to watch it now, even as I very happily listen to some Petibon in my summer.

        >

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    1. Oh, thank you so much for these observations! Completely slipped past me both times, but that does add up convincingly and also fits with what I would expect Warlikowski to do. Reminds me of his Madrid Alceste with Denoke and her “imagined” grapplong with death.

      And that also changes the “message” (if there is an intended message) of the evening, as more starting from the subjective perspective of “how is a person supposed to act/deal with life today?” And away from the more objective/abstract moral discussion of the libretto – even though in both cases, Bellezza is the identifying figure for human life.

      >

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    2. Thanks for pointing all this out and I agree that she is imagining the other three, it doesn’t make sense otherwise. I’m also not sure any more, if Tempo and Disinganno are not meant more allegorically then I previously thought.
      Disinganno taking notes to later use against her, what an uncomfortable but fitting thought.
      Also, the light switching, I had wondered about that and yours would be a good explanation.
      Btw. I really liked Piacere’s protectiveness towards Bellezza which fits my constant impulse to make her sit down with bisquits and a herbal tea.
      Oh, and here’s one for Lang: If Piacere exists only in Bellezza’s head it’s actually her staring after the nurse…🙂

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      1. But Agathe you know what annoys me most? All the strenuous movements they make Bellezza to do, like bending backwards against the bed-end. The soprano is pregnant for Goodness sake!… And get into the male model’s clothing and shoes, puuuleeeaaase

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        1. But comfy pants and flat soles are such a plus when pregnant. (and she looked good in them, too) The singer probably told the director her limits – and here, as we remarked at various points, it seems as if the pregnancy was even worked into the “story” (or allegory).
          And from what I know, I’d say strenuous stage work is much more risky and uncomfortable during the first trimester, and I’ve seen stage performers more nervous then than later.

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      2. Heh. Good point.😉
        Piacere as “not all bad” for Bellezza (or, if Warlikowksi is trying to be provocative: not bad at all) is another aspect there.

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  9. In the libretto? There and in the music more so, it appears to me, human life and psyches comprise all four, tensioned in shifting priority. The Marschallin is a perfect instance, thank you.

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  10. My two more cents: It is philosophical debate rather than any “storyline” in the libretto. To translate and relate it to modern day audience (who may or may not be familiar with the oratorio libretto), using four (quasi) family members and cross two generations could be an easier approach. This loses some of the seriousness of the oratorio. And also, I think the director added his own message, he is more for the free spirit/conformity conflict and uses Beauty as his vehicle, whereas in the original libretto, it is debate between transient Beauty, or giving up instant gratification (Pleasure) and reach longlasting Beauty. I would say, it is a different interpretation, if not reduction.

    That said, there is still the intrigue of the Cardinal writing it wholeheartedly meaning the words, or it is just for the sake of writing a proper text then he could have it set to music, good music.

    But of course, the music is beautiful and deeply moving. I have heard many versions of it, this live one, albeit sometimes a bit rough and raw compared to EH’s own CD version, really moved me. Listening to Bellezza’s last aria Tu del Ciel ministro eletto brought tears into my eyes.

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    1. yes, that was a very moving rendition and I think it further feeds of the “darker” staging and the live atmosphere.

      The whole transcendence/religion debate is impossible to truly transfer into current (Western) societies, I believe: the belief systems have changed (or eroded) too much.

      Pamphili belonged to one of Roman’s politically ruling families, and being a Cardinal under those circumstances did not necessarily mean being deeply religious, but a second or third son who would not inherit the family titles and was put into a clerical career instead: worldly power and love affairs included.

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  11. Re “But comfy pants and flat soles are such a plus when pregnant. (and she looked good in them, too)”
    No no no, I have no complaint about the tank top and the jeans and flat soles, not at all! Only thing is her putting them on right after the male model taking them off…It is only me, and my OCD. -_-

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    1. Chuckle, but he didn’t look particularly unhygienic, I think? I was rather wondering how they could find a pair of jeans that looked good on both.
      Regarding the pregnancy I mainly have issues with the smoking she had to to.

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