White Skirt Wednesday: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

[Since, clearly, this deserves some more spotlight than just a fleeting line in a comment discussion: “Tornami a vagheggiar” from Handel’s “Alcina” sung and acted by Patricia Petibon (Kristina Hammarström’s Bradamante is not putting up much resistance), Milan 2009. – Clip with thanks to Gudrun74]

The discussion about this clip started on this week’s White Shirt Monday post, which was actually covering another “Alcina,” but the more, the merrier.

Morgana qualifies for the “White Skirt” label, I would argue, in that she actively negotiates desire and makes her own choices. And tries to seduce Bradamante/Ricciardetto/hot-shot-in-shirtsleeves-and-mezzo-range-why-care-about-gender (depending on your perspective).

I’ve said it in the comment discussion, and I’ll say it again:

Petibon’s Morgana is so endearing here because Petibon gives her the nerves and the giddiness and the “I can’t believe I just did that!” of actually falling for someone.

For comparison, there is Natalie Dessay likewise wonderful 1999 take from the very same production – very different in energy, even within the same scene blocking:

[The only French upstairs maid scenario I will accept (well, that and Beaumont skinning a rabbit, but that’s a post for anther day) : Robert Carsen’s well-toured “Alcina” production. Natalie Dessay (Morgana) and Kathleen Kuhlmann (Bradamante) in Handel’s “Alcina”, Paris 1999. – clip with thank to Dominique Rousselle]

And then to make it three, take a look and listen to Anna Devin in the 2015 Moscow concert performance where Morgana flirts the hell out of Patricia Bardon’s Bradamante, who at this point has left the stage already (watch the preceding recit exchange here at minute 52’00) – can you seduce some who is not even there, by musical proxy? (uhm – yes?)

[Anna Devin (Morgana) putting a new spin on ‘bedazzling’ in Handel’s “Alcina”, conducted by Federico Maria Sardelli, Moscow 2015. – Clip with thanks to marfushka48]

13 thoughts on “White Skirt Wednesday: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”

  1. At the moment, I am particularly smitten with that breathless gesture of “I can’t believe I did that!” at 1:53. It captures the state of attraction so well!


    1. i’ll be very disciplined and won’t go there until i wake up (in 5hrs!.) but just wanted to mention i also really love KH’s soft smile after the kiss just at the end of section B (i think, then she ran off..)


      1. 1:53, yes!

        KH’s expression after the kiss, yes, and also before (quite bewitched, exactly)

        And all this determined pulling and pushing (anyone else like the braces?)…

        I just hope we recover before tomorrow evening and manage to concentrate on Cosi.


        1. I have a feeling we will need this Morgana to return to after that rather gritty-looking Così.

          The braces/suspenders, yes, and I was also pretty impressed by the speed in which the tie came off, if that was an actual knot and not a snap-on. I am not that fast, and I do get a fair share of practice!
          KH’s expression there is exactly what I mean by “grey areas” – there are various undercurrents here and Bradamante being attracted Morgana, or to Morgana’s attraction to her, or simply by the effect she has on Morgana, adds another layer.


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