Trouser Tuesday: Triple Testosterone

[Since I mentioned yesterday that this piece warrants further White Shirt contemplation: here, have an entire “Juditha Triumphans”, conducted by Andrea Marcon, from Amsterdam, 2009. (subtitles are Dutch, but a libretto with English translation can be found here.)]

Imagine that: five parts in the soprano/mezzo/contralto range, three of them male roles, and no countertenor in sight. (and there are many countertenors I appreciate and quite a few I swoon at, but sometimes – well, sometimes, it’s Ladies’ Night) Ah, little Latin oratorio of the high baroque, I  ❤ you.

So, here, have some Karina Gauvin eroding the difference between opera and concert stage, some Manuela Custer (whom I didn’t know is Italian, too) and some Marina Comparato because it’s been a while since I saw her Cherubino, Mary-Ellen Nesi to add a pinch of Greece to another Tuesday on Eye Bags, and Romina Basso because it’s been too long, period.

I admit that the beleaguring/beheading plot around Assyria and Bethulia is giving me very present-day chills, and I do not want to leave that fact unmentioned while enjoying some wonderful singing of wonderful music and being aware that I am very privileged in being able to do so.

25 thoughts on “Trouser Tuesday: Triple Testosterone”

  1. i have this one “almost” memorized from the moments the women walked down the steps to the grand opening… but i reallllly have issues with Manuela Custer. Both here and on the performance in the previous post, she was really having a hard time (to my ears) navigating the low notes. more importantly in that performance she didn’t really add anything to the character except some really strange smiles and acting all afraid.. . Since you’re on a roll, you do know there’s also a full one with Galou as Holofernes and A.Hallenberg as Juditha?


    1. *gasping for air*

      okay, nevermind anything I said before.
      In this one, It’s Gardina and Iervolino for me – not sold on Custer, either. But now I’m off to find Hallenberg/Galou. I think I heard of it before in a Galou context, but let it slide again.


    1. and at 21min53 sec, one of my fav moment because of the orchestra! (and his hair 😉 ). but yes, A.Hallenberg did a superb job with the phrasing! that’s why i’m a bit surprised she’s doing Vagaus next year… and Nicky Kennedy is very good (i don’t know her) but she’s clearly no match for K.Gauvin! she brought the haus down (Gauvin) with Vagaus’ last aria, the WHOLE haus including all singers were clapping mad!


        1. i heard it live only once and Amanda Forsythe brought the hall down as Vagaus in Jordan Hall in Boston. She was the only one who did justice to the music i’m afraid to say.. and i don’t think i was snobbish in saying that.. the conductor was really treating Vivaldi like soothing music to put one to sleep (i was angry!), and the rest of the live cast i heard were either not knowing what this story is about or were mezzos who couldn’t go down! (whatever that means!)


          1. *snort*
            (this sounds like an assessment Purity would have made just like this, back in the day!)

            (see how I am NOT adding a line about sopranos? I am not. I am NOT.)

            Liked by 1 person

    2. and at some point in the future i’ll come back and put a link to the full live version (but audio only) with S.Mingardo as Juditha, also avail in full on tube. that was how i got started with this whole thing on binging proportion the entire year last year i think 🙂


  2. it’s interesting this coming season there’s a whole series of Juditha everywhere.. and yet not in one S.Mingardo is singing… and in place are mezzos of all ranges… though i think for Carnegie hall Galou will take over that role (i like her in Holofernes.. why oh why we can’t have SM)… What i also don’t get is Iervolino also not in any of them. At least what i learned from my live experience is the conductor and orchestra matter hugely! (oh, that reminds me, i think tickets for Carnegie hall is opened now! i better get in touch w/ Stray…)


    1. more Juditha is good news, though the casting choice at times remind me of what we talked about in the Così liveblog, of mainstream taste, at least at the moment, preferring even, lightweight voices in many cases 8and often, light-colored, too). Apart from that, the parts are somewhat interchangeable in range – also depending on the conducting approach (orchestra size!), but this was written for young women in a time where at the most, there was a distinction between soprano and contralto.


  3. I decided to sit through several concert versions to check if Abra is really making eyes with Juditha and what Vagaus is doing in general… So far I think only our ladies (and “gents”) from Venice were staying strictly within their team (with only Holofernes crossing). Actually here Custer’s voice has a bit more character (still issues with low notes + transitions) and she’s also acting/showing interest in Holofernes! (minutes 28-30). So not sure why she was not warm to our contralto in Venice.. definitely supporting theory of staying within team Juditha (and fully explains Abra’s eyes.. curious Abra shows no hint of jealousy, she was very sure Juditha would not switch team!)

    And to this show, wow, K.Gauvin *rocks* as Vagaus!! This role is probably as technical demanding as Juditha. you definitely need 4 great singers to bring justice to the characters.

    I’m getting M-E.Nesi as Holofernes in NY so we know she’ll be singing similar to this. Also we’re getting the same orchestra, might be the same conductor too.. Actually i was thinking perhaps it’d be better if Galou sings Holofernes and M-E.N does Juditha? doesn’t matter, we’re getting at least 1 contralto! Fingers crossed for the tickets.. we’re also getting a mezzo soprano for Abra..

    (might come back at some point to make more comment on R.Basso..)


      1. yes, that was my first thought.

        the second was: so… what else in here could she sing?

        (third: why cast sopranos when you have mezzos and contraltos?)


    1. Oh, good – so I’m not the only one currently mainlining the entire YT array on this. 🙂 Gauvin is a fantastic performer.

      But I admit I am very partial to Gay Venice now. About as gay as a Brangäne/Isolde vs. Kurwenal/Tristan take on Tristan & Isolde, but entirely with ladies, so even better. (Abra is really something here in making eyes. Reminded me of Anna Devin in the Moscow Alcina.)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. !!!!!!!

      In fair exchange, I do – thanks to the generosity of the WS aristocracy – have a concert recording of Basso’s Sephardic Song program I could DB. 🙂



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