The Paris 2016 “Mitridate (Reloaded)” Liveblogging Thread

liveblog_header_n1.jpg

Welcome to the White Shirt live comment thread for Mozart’s “Mitridate” from Paris/TCE 2016 *excited fangirl squealing* as staged by Clément Hervieu-Léger. Emmanuelle Haïm conducts Le Concert d’Astrée.

The production is starring a lot of sopranos, a counter mezzo and two tenors: Patricia Petibon (Aspasia), Jaël Azzarretti (Arbace), Myrtò Papatanasiu (Sifare), Sabine Devieilhe (Ismene), Christophe Dumaux (Farnace), Michael Spyres (Mitridate) and Cyrille Dubois (Marzio).

The production is available via ARTE, but has the sound slightly out of sync – this is a different cut than the version aired by ARTE in February. This new version comes with a choice of French or German subtitles that you will be able to read even without your glasses.

A libretto in Italian and English can be found here (you’ll have to read around the cuts, namely in the beginning, that the Paris production makes).

The dignity and poise of your hostess can be found – well, likely nowhere tonight. You have been warned.

479 thoughts on “The Paris 2016 “Mitridate (Reloaded)” Liveblogging Thread”

    1. it is SO GOOD. Just the overture, I mean. When we watched the Brussels take and were a little “meh”, I compared to Rousset to David Niven and Haim to young Marlon Brando in a wifebeater in relation to energy and sensuality.

      Like

  1. that windmachine war trailer goes well with the supposed setting (Great war?) that I always forget about. The staging is so much out of time.

    Like

    1. Just wanted to drop my comment from 20.Feb.2016:
      “while at arte.tv/fr site, do check out Emmanuelle Haïm conducting Mozart “Mitridate“, it was live today 20.Feb.2016 at TCE in Paris and now available for viewing for some time… ( i don’t know th opera at all.. but it’s E.Haïm! and her orchestra! and there’s also P.Petibon)”

      how time has changed…

      Like

      1. yes, you started it all. And then you sent me that *grasp* ™ screencap, and the rest, as they say, is history. History with many, many screencaps.

        Like

  2. the sound is on the verge of backfiring, with the warmth and depth nearly gone and the cembalo all but turned to ice metal… who did this?
    (please, Ag`nès, get me a coffee too!)

    Like

    1. yes, a lot of sidestage angles. (which, from the one scene I have watched, misses out on the energy that is of course projected out front)

      Like

    1. in the beginning – this being the first thing of *someone* I ever saw, not knowing anything about acting/work stances – I wondered whether some sopranos refuse to spend the overture on the floor in the dust. But I think it makes sense scenically that with the change in overture pieces, you have someone step in with the new tempo.

      Like

  3. oh, we ge a little bit of exasperation by Sifare who likely also wanted to complain about the lingering shots of Dumaux and Dubois (who are great, but, you know – there is the matter of priorities).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it’s the work with axis and balance all over again. all this careening back and forth around an invisible center. (or not so invisible center, aka PP in this instance).

      Like

  4. ….now would be a good moment for those smelling salts.
    damn, that bit still gets me EVERY TIME.
    nice new close-up at the end, too

    Like

        1. yes, i noticed some shots are too abrupt – frame skipping.. to get sound matched i think, if you merge audio from 2 nights as they can not sing on identical time..
          (i also noticed the little “crack” in MP’s voice as she ascended from p to fff in the recit of her first aria, which got me first notice that she was not afraid to do phrasing and using p .. has gotten filtered out)

          Like

    1. as did we all.

      at the wider angle, we see that in the end, it is not just that nice body turn/stumble of Sifare towards her, but she is also straining towards him.

      Like

  5. That’s different applause than the original cut. The audience didn’t know what to do. Like… “Should we clap? Yes, okay, clapping, haha, well done… Okay, no more clapping.”

    Like

      1. perhaps the opening crowd had better understanding of delts and swagger and, you know, damn good singing of a really tough aria.

        Like

      1. WTF?
        not cool, ARTE. with the promo thadieu does for them…
        (also: your clips are all of the first take. I argue that they can keep their newish take and police that!!)
        (I am really sorry to hear that, though. Your channel is so important for so many different people worldwide!)

        Like

  6. that Aspasia/Sifare/Farnace bit is entirely chopped by individual zooms. Just from this, i would not get the logic of the scene at all.

    Like

  7. so, the aria that was NOT CUT HERE THANK YOU UNIVERSE.
    but just listen to the violins in the beginning – who took out all the warmth? Le Concert d’Ástrée does not do this kind of metal, they don’t deserve this.

    Like

    1. I wondered whether they simply left the singers with their private rings? since it’s all about the acting here and not about making up charater looks (e.g. Sifare is not in a binder, either, Aspasia also wears a ring, I think?)

      Like

      1. same. Some directors did not even ask/care, and sometimes you simply don’t get the ring off any longer after a decade or two.

        Like

      2. i think singers are not asked to remove their rings (?). i’ve always noticed VK having hers on, as well as SM. I guess they did not anticipate the camera to zoom in that far.. and you’d never even think of removing them in the first place..

        Like

    1. I found myself really appreciating Spyres and Dumaux and even Marzio!actor (name?) this time through. Part of it is because I know the rest so well that I focused on something new, and part is because the chosen shots for this cut seem to include them all more. Not as queer, perhaps, but maybe more balanced for an ensemble cast?

      Like

      1. Marzio = Cyrille Dubois. Really enjoying him here! At TADW in October with Les Horaces under Rousset…

        To me, it felt more chopped up – cut frames, narrowed frames, and too many reaction shots. The only ones I found caught well with the additional zooms were Ismene/Farnace, but even there, it came by the price of overall movement/stance.

        Am still caught up in the dire task of which of last night’s screenshots to post for WSM later.

        >

        Like

  8. This is very interesting because I didn’t like Spyre’s voice so much at first and have since changed my mind (but now the sound engineers messing diminishes the effect)

    Like

    1. yes, I was about to point that out, too. It took me about, eh, many times until I noticed her up there (and we talked about where Sifare’s gaze is directed, but it goes to Marzio, he does not see aware fo Aspasia) – it’s that “So this is the man I am supposed to marry?!” look.

      Like

    1. yes, i did propose to put a 2nd audio track to the video but in addition to not having enough time i also fear it would just not work because there will be mismatching due to them merging pictures + audios . And I think that is the key problem: they merge audios from 2 nights, hence all has to go through a blender to unify + normalized + stretched (hence distorted) then fixed up…

      Like

          1. muffled, and chilled down like a really good red that should be served at 16°C and that someone put in the fridge instead. Blasphemy!!

            Like

      1. YES. I really don’t know how to read this if not… (but then again, I am gay. Watching this, I am so VERY gay.)
        also, if she has ears, she should be – that is some damn fine signing there.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. for once, the chopping up into close-ups works: the fight between Ismene and Farnace gets a lot more build-up through this. (and I know I am repeating myself, but: Dumaux is so good, both vocally and physically)

    Like

    1. yes, and Petibon’s scared restraint is so spot-on.

      Damn, the close-up was missing when Mitridate mentions Sifare for the first time and Aspasia almost betrays herself.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. oh, good, I am not the only one.
      really, for *once* I would like the side angle, and they cut it (for Sifare running forward and barely catching himself).

      Very nice though: – oh, audio glitch! – the close up to Aspasia when Mitridate starts singing and the way she almost turns around.

      Like

    1. yeeeees.
      this is like this bit on Much Ado where the Prince (=Paris) wants to marry Beatrice and she tells him, “Not unless you have another one for working days.”

      Like

        1. 😀
          but in truth, they can keep their fancy schmancy vampire instagram filter picture quality if they take away my favorite bits for it!

          Like

  10. the horn comes out different in the soundmix.

    (also, take those subtitles away. I would like to perish with unhindered sight, thank you)

    Like

          1. Maybe the same happened to your file as to mine. I also had an unsubbed version and when I processed it to share via DB, suddenly the subs appeared and I couldn’t get rid of them again. Also, thadieu checked the file and said the subs are embedded. Maybe some video players don’t recognize them?

            Like

          2. Agathe has the same version, I think, and then the embedded subs appeared during splitting. Thanks for looking!

            >

            Like

      1. yes, I wondered the same thing – also explains why Sifare rushes back towards the tables in the end in hopes of catching Aspasia despite his better judgment and her rule.

        Like

    1. Yes, I believe Aspasia’s full aria was intact (i had to watched it very closely some 20x when i was putting the radio-audio to original video, hence any change is distracting my brain.. <– which was the case everywhere in Lungi..)

      Like

      1. the intermission cut is in the middle of Act II – and I think after that Nel grave tormento, everyone is out for at least 10 minutes!

        Like

      1. I have been asking myself the same question – wondering whether my brain simply has adjusted and taken to replacing things that it knows should be there.

        Like

  11. look, repeated tries by Sifare to get to Aspasia. Much clearer than in the previous take.

    And how Spyres just tosses out the aria – with the verve of the pit…

    Like

  12. in the original take it was not half as clear that the whole aria long, there is a fight between the goon and Sifare about getting down those stairs or not.

    Like

  13. not that the first close-up wouldn’t be ncie but it completely cuts o Aspasia’s motion impulse.
    It’s an overall fault of this new take: it’s too choppy, both in adding in too many reactions shots, and in cutting down frames too much (and the already mentioned issue of the side stage angles missing the energy that goes out front)

    Like

    1. yes, me too😉 . i didn’t see 1 frame.. but i can’t tell because the subtitle suddenly blocking the WHOLE scene.. i was thinking they could slide the subtitle vertically on the side

      Like

    1. that is unfathomable.
      it’s also a great story. (seems tonight we collect anecdotes for <pP signings "Because of your work, I nearly went to the wrongconference" – "It was just a footnote in a story, and then it was everything!" – "I spelled your last name wrong for years, and now it's Ant Colonies!")

      Like

  14. @Agathe: this here is a good example of purposefully shading a tone, and even ‘producing’ the lower ones, and yet not seemign at all forced, or fake or wrong.

    Like

    1. Oh, did you mean in the end of the poisoning scene? Yes, that was great (and maybe maybe not `faked` when done on the base of really solid technique plus real emotion?)

      Like

      1. yes, toward the end of the aria – it’s like she has a way of doing it that does not obstruct the sound or deforms it too much. Technique may really be the key.

        Like

  15. My day did not turn out at all like I had envisioned, and if I had thought better (it’s been that kind of a day) I could have joined in! Nevertheless it’s been fun to read through the comments. Y’all are great and funny. Enjoy the rest of the show!

    And Anik, I told you you’d want a whole new set of caps. Can’t. Wait.

    Like

  16. Another difference – I don’t see the Farnace/Marzio subtext in the Brussels version like I do in this one. He seems personally, rather than politically, motivated here. But I guess you could say the same for the majority of this production.

    Like

    1. yes. this is all politics caused by personal emotions/stances. Brussels was all politics and manipulation, and some feelings getting in the way.
      And this Marzio is so cute with his crush (I mean I liked the powermonger energy in the political context that Jaws brought to the table, but this is so much more touching)

      Like

        1. These extreme Close-ups seemed to me at times too intruding into the singer’s personal sphere. It’s just different for movie actors, where every shot that does not look so good can be just cut and repeated, but here I had the feeling I would not have liked that as a singer. (And sure, most audience wouldn’t mind seeing singers sweating but maybe they mind themselves).

          Like

          1. That’s an issue of the whole “opera in HD” on the whole – goes with what I think Ruiten said about singing for the last row or singing for the mic on your face and the camera – I find it fine, for both sides, but I think it depends very much on audience approach. Whether you go in expecting powdered, governed movie faces, or whether you go in accepting that opera is an athletic, physical craft, and that part of it will be like watching a sports match where part of the beauty is that people do not look perfectly polished and poised all the time, and where you should be humble about getting to witness such work. And yes, it is another issue entirely what singers think of it – your are right, some shots (not that much last night, but in opera filming in recent years in general) can feel “too close” and I fear they do not get much say in it.

            >

            Like

      1. yes, was about to say the same thing – perhaps we get a better look at the end that was never quite clear to us!
        (and we so want them to have a happy ending of sorts…!)

        Like

          1. at my computer because thadieu sent me a screencap and I shot a similar one and it is still called “ohholygod” – only 6 months? How did we live before that??

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I remember I was confused with all the people on stage but I did get PP’s energy and only with the grasp I figured out MP was her stage partner (well, can’t be any more obvious).

            Liked by 2 people

          3. ps- i think i missed the Ant Colonies ref somewhere back in Mar/Apr/May.. perhaps you can point me to which comment section (and an opportunity to re-read our many analyses)?

            Like

          4. I will have to search myself – I think it was me talking to Agathe about Petibon’s acting and how I was convinced she would bring justice to a male role as well, and from there on it went to aliens, the fifth star to the left or an Ant Colony as roles she could probably also make me relate to. I’ll let you know when I find that comment again!

            Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s just everything coming together, this exceptional cast, with every single role, down to the little ones, perfectly cast, then E. Haim and orchestra plus this very sensible and moving staging. Something like this just doesn’t happen too often.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. yes, i think so, looks the same to me. Same with Dumaux making face and grabbing Arizetti’s shoulders.. new (angle) was PP grabbing SD’s hand (the old video cut it), and same is PP’s reaction to the crowd, i really love her!

          Like

    1. oh, we should share. Just for, eh, scientific comparison.

      Thank you for making the time. It was great to have you around (feel free to check back on future liveblog nights!)

      Like

  17. off to bed more me as well. where I will play the two videos side by side and swoon some more, and take the occasional screencap…

    Like

  18. Yes, thank you all, how great to watch this together (and we will still have to discuss on the best possible combination of sound and video, thanks again thadieu for creating this one!). I’m off to bed, good night!

    Like

        1. yes, i got the first shock when i was walking home with Aspasia’s opening aria 2 weeks ago (_the_ one that got me into the opera, so you know how i have every phrase memorized…) and then arrived home and did a quick sample on this new one.. nearly fell out of my chair screaming.. It’s one thing to do this to a modern orchestra perhaps? or a smoother version to start with.. but you simply do NOT mess with E.Haïm’s superb dynamics! i do not care for any additional higher res camera angles, not at that price!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Come to think of it, it would have been so great if they just release the 2nd night in its entirety! given that we already have seen the first night, it would have been great to see how the performance-to-performance varies. As we have already discussed: with how dynamics the orchestra and the singers are, the 2nd night would still make sense to us totally i believe, and the sound would be full of dynamics without filtering..

          I think it’s only because we care so much about this (for its many reasons), a patch-up work = messing up some of the greatest assets (flow, characters, music). All in the name of zoom-in/cut-out..

          (And now i’ve just made it to the end of the “new” Lungi, i simply do not see why the original ending was cut, it was muuch more dramatic! what’s the point of cutting the frame there to shove in the 2nd night coming off the X ??)

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I have no idea, but whoever made that decision was not one of us… And I cannot find a vocal or instrumental flaw in the first take either.

            For us, the raw feed would probably the most welcome, to follow the energy and the character motivations, and to have the movements we already know to look for NOT chopped up or cut by a to narrow frame. But would that work for a wider audience? Perhaps audiences are smarter than cutters think, at times – for me, this evening works so much through energy, and that transports between body angles and the pit, I don’t need a dozen close-ups to convey the moment to me.

            >

            Liked by 1 person

        3. Yes, to me, the whole thing made only half sense without the original sound and I would rather accept sound and video not fitting than making compromises there. But yes, your explanation earlier makes sense, thadieu, that they had to adapt the sound of both evenings.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. 2-part response, first is the technicality of why i think this patch up ended up in a mess:

            I’ve tried in the past capturing sound and video separately, or patch-up videos after someone already chopped it off into pieces (urgh) and even then unless there’s no dropped frames or unless you capture both at the same frame-rate you’d already have problem matching. So yes, it would require an enormous amount of work to match the original sound to this new one (I’d even say quite impossible). I was a bit puzzled on the “jumpiness” of the video (and that sound+video glitch during “Tu, che fidele mi sei” and now understand why: due to the tempo difference between the two nights, and that they sometimes wanted to keep audio from 1st/2nd night to mis-match with video from the next/previous, they drop frames (= jumpiness). One last thing related to the lagging of audio/video, which you often see on tube videos as well: once you start messing with the 2 tracks differently, the sampling rates diverge, so on 1 player it looks synched but once somebody else decided to “process” your video (like tube doing it, or ARTE during upload) the slight different rates will cause mis-matching start/end time = lagging.

            Since this is so commonly practiced now it seems (e.g., Brussels Mitridate, Venice’s Juditha Triumphans w/ Iervolio + Gardina), perhaps the main problem lies in the conductor! for “smooth” take (i automatically revert to Brussels with rather uniform tempo and much less dynamics) the blending is not a problem.. BUT there’s only 1 E.Haïm and her very dynamical + organic treatment of the music on each night individually wreak havoc to the blender (i.e., I think she’s not someone who would say I will set the metronome but rather go with the flow of the entire piece based loosely on a notion of tempo.)

            Liked by 1 person

          2. thank you for the detailed explaination, this clears up a lot – not just the ginormous sound glitch during “Tu che fidel mi sei”, but also frame cutting. I thought I was having difficulty to adjust to a new version of something that I know very well and hold very dear because I constantly thought I had missed something, like I felt perpetually out of breath. But if they cut frames, that would make a lot of sense as a reaction pattern!

            Like

          3. second part: on “making sense” of the flow:
            I completely agree with Agathe (I was thinking this exact thought independently after you all went to sleep and i re-listend to the “new” Lungi + Nel grave tormento + duet): that indeed the original sound is a significant contributor to making sense of the entire show. And to connect to what Anik said in the comment above, that this particular staging is based on energy and character motivations + movements. This is a rare case then that a zoom-out shot can be more clear because we see how everything flows. And the zoom-ins on the original video was very organic I thought, in revealing just the right details we needed to connect many dots.

            I was wondering why the 2nd night of Brussels with more zoom-ins + close-ups works better for us but this new hacked up TCE’s Mitridate did not: It’s precisely because of the staging (simply repeating what Anik said). Which is to say for Brussels, the staging was not very well developed, shoving a side-story into the main one at the expense of the music, hence as we tried to understand the music we needed close-up expressions on the singers’ face (that “Che intendo!” with MP’s look!) . The complete opposite is true with Paris I believe, because everything was flowing based on energy + motivations and since it was already working, zooming in simply confirms it more but at the expense of the flowing of everything else in the big picture (e.g., transports between body angles & the pit, relation to items on the stage! that X! i want the original Sifare-getting-off-the-X back! either that or give me the entire 2nd night Sifare’s Lungi so i can see why (s)he got off differently. patching up simply does not transport the energy correctly = NOT MAKING ANY SENSE!)

            Liked by 1 person

          4. yes, this, all of this! Precisely! Only you found much better and detailed words for it.

            Thank you for taking the time to write it down like this.

            (The Brussels “Che intendo!” is a good example – it actually helped clear up things. Here, things got covered up and interrupted, much more so between the two nights. In Paris, you don’t need a close-up for “Che intendo!” because it is already clear by musical take and position. The zooms, for much of the night, felt like nice gimmicks for the screencapper, but did not really serve the story like the original take does)

            Like

          5. ps- i think you made this point earlier Anik, that perhaps someone from the stage-direction team took part in the merge job in Brussels (we even joked perhaps they read our original complaints regarding not getting the points and fill in the gaps for us). And the hacked up job in Paris’s Mitridate clearly did not take the stage-director’s input or EH’s inputs into account i believe, because if they do, i’m certain (i hope!!) we would not see this mess🙂.

            Like

          6. I think the merge job in Brussels had to do with it being the take La Monnaie put online, so there were clearly people looking at it who knew the production well. And the second take was really much more coherent.

            Here, it doesn’t look like TCE was involved? SInce there is half a year in between, it is also possible that this merge was down by someone not familiar with the show, or on the original recording team, and long after the run? It says Olivier Simmonet in the credits, who did e.g. Bartoli’s Sacrficium DVD, which works great, but this new take really looks as if someone did not know the production very well, or how it worked.

            Like

          7. we encounter this often in our profession. A fun analogy: we need to “write” a program to describe the path of an apple falling from a tree.. so we put the equation down on paper, tried on our own to write the program (being non-computer engineer), it works but so slow it’s not productive. And besides, we are not good with packing the product for the public. So we hire a programmer, and it comes back shiny and fast and gives you the apple on the ground where you asked! But a (very) closer look reveals the apple first “jumps” up in the air, then dances in free air at times on its way down. Programmer: it’s part of the optimized algorithm! You: i’m sorry, this makes absolutely no (physical) sense! But for outsider who does not need to know the details, it works, the apple is first on a tree, then the fancy display shows how it ends up on the ground!🙂

            Like

          8. So you could make apple sauce, but no airspace plan with that? And this production is definitely airspace material.

            Like

          9. Interesting, thanks for all these insights! I’m still stuck with the sound issue and how the quality of recordings is important, especially for the singing because voices are so unique in their qualities. Quite often a recording does not capture certain aspects of a voice but I guess a good recording can get very close to the live effect.
            I’m still quite hooked on that MET Comte Ory and one reason is, that it brings out the quality of singers’ voices so well, especially JDDs, in whom this recording captures a quality of voice colouring and expression I was not aware of in her before (and yes, the dashing page character does not hurt either). And I re-read your great article on JDDs recital Anik and you wrote how her voice was different live, so, Oh, dear, what’s still to come in a live performance?
            To get back to Mitridate, I think it is one thing, if a microphone can’t capture something, but even worse when you actively take away sound frequences by filtering (I guess that’s what’s done in this kind of sound engineering?) because by messing with Singers’ unique voice characteristics you may take away what is for me a large part of the essence of a singing performance.

            Liked by 1 person

          10. While I am excited about the JDD rioante outing next year, I am nearly as much looking forward to your report on hearing JDD live. That should be quite something.😉

            Like

  19. just woke up and wanted to report: inspired by close-up in the shirt aria, i dreamt doing 1 handed push up multiple times, switching hands, _while_ chatting with friends, piece of cake! (for the record i think i can do 2 total with 2 arms ;-))

    Like

      1. i’ve been waking up with her opening line in head! it starts at mid-range, then comes up.. then the male lines entered.. and she entered just in middle (while weaving through) , both vocally and visually , no arm yet.. but that tune is deadly sticky.. and as she started with that.. naturally i have to sit through the _whole_ next 2+ hours of deltoid and all…

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s