The Amsterdam 2016 “Le nozze di Figaro” Liveblogging Thread

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Welcome to the White Shirt live comment thread for Mozart’s “Figaro” from Dutch National Opera Amsterdam (2016), staged by David Bösch and under the baton of Ivor Bolton who conducts the NEtherlands Chamber Orchestra.

The cast sports Eleonora Buratto as Countess, Christiane Karg as Susanne, Marianne Crébassa as Cherubino, Stéphane Degout as Count, Alex Exposito as Figaro, Katharine Goeldne as Marcellina, Louise Kemeny as Barbarina, Umberto Chiummo as Bartolo, Krystian Adam as Basilio, Jeroen de Vaal as Don Curzio and Matteo Peirone as Antonio.

The production is available via ARTE and via The Opera Platform, the production info is linked above. The libretto in Italian, English or German can be found here (space to swoon at Crébassa as Monocherubino Bleu can be found below this this post).

This event is closing out our Eye Bags Liveblog Summer Festival of 2016, but we’ll be back for select events throughout autumn – starting next Saturday with Rossini’s “Semiramide” from Ghent (2011).

369 thoughts on “The Amsterdam 2016 “Le nozze di Figaro” Liveblogging Thread”

  1. nice prop list. I once interned at a production that included “1 fish, 1 whirlpool, 1 egg spoon” (not in the same scene, though)

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    1. well-prepped for having kids, then. (there is still a dinosaur zoo under my desk which I could have sworn was not there this morning)

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    1. for the revolving stage, or for other reasons…?

      it’s an old shtick, but i think it works well here.

      The little bit of fighting between Count/Countess and the casual violence already makes me think that this will be fun, but light on the emotional investment with those two.

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    1. but also: big on comic elements, the “my big idiot” type. But like this, hopefully without the violent edge? We’ll see in Non più andrai.

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    1. that one’s good!

      Susanna has a pretty steep standard of eyerolling already and we are only 15 minutes in – “I manage this big oaf I want to marry, plus my grabby boss and his champagne-happy wife, oh, and the puberty smurf in his cabinet under the stairs, too.”

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  2. Figaro, that bed looks already horribly uncomfortable. don’t make it worse. I sure hope you are not planning on spending your wedding night on that fakir mat.

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    1. oh, that’s Chiummo? ( i know his name from the famous Capuleti in Dresden..)
      the sound of the orchestra is very robust, while the singers sound a bit more “distant”, i was wonering where they’re recording.. do they look like they’re wearing mics? (must be?)

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    1. I think so – F/S treat it as their wedding day in the first duet already? even though they still wait on the final okay from the Count.

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  3. It’s easy to be sympathetic with Susanna, but I really, really like Karg’s energy so far – good timing, and she does the comedy bits without laughing at her own character or turning her into a parody.

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  4. well observed and genuinely funny moments/poses so far (Cherubino emptying that laundry basket over his head!), but not really an overall gripping arch or approach beyond that yet.

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          1. oh, I would love that. let’s see if we can get thadieu into it – she chose the Rossini for next week, so we get to choose the next Rossini?😉 (okay, I kind of choose both)

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    1. I was about to ask what’s with the bicycles… but I’ll accept “Dutch” as an explanation.
      (Exposito’s Figaro so far still making too much of a joke of himself. Missing the balance, though he comes across more varies in interaction with Susanna here)

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  5. Loving the small bit of Cherubino trying to defend Susanna against the Count’s graps there – stupid, hopeless and brave and honorable. Very much in character. VERY good. Have not seen that before.

    Also that Cherubino is not cocky for “Feci per non sentir”. This gets depth in the power dynamics here.

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    1. yeah… the old take of symbolical castration through cutting off his hair – plus two against one.
      At first, it seemed as if Figaro was just putting on a show for the Count, but this turned into sadistic hazing pretty soon.

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    2. The count lighting his cigarette on the ironing iron – snort – but at this point I’d not be surprised if he snuffed it on Cherubino. Ugh.

      (Cherubino’s suicidal final shot clearing out Act I is oddly reminiscent of suicidal Fiordiligi at the end of the Aix Così.)

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    1. yes, that’s the thing – it works well, but where is the special spark? (not that there has to be one – I am happy if I have nothing to complain about)

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  6. again jealous Figaro – interesting angle, but doesn’t add up on the whole for me yet. he likes his own jokes too much. and his own opinions.

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  7. also a dynamic a like: Susanna and the Countess about the same age, both very young, divided only by class (end even there does not seem to be that much difference here)

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  8. okay, Crébassa’s Cherubino is unbearably cute.
    probably because of that honestly overwhlemed thing (he’s not a scheming brat here)

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    1. Susanna cried to? I missed that.
      (but yes, the idea of them being moved – particularly the COuntess: both of them sharing in the pain/yearning aspect of love)

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  9. oh, nice ornamentation.

    Also, to whom did that tissue belong? Too lacey to be his? But wanting to comfort the COuntess, to protect Susanna – very nice layout.

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          1. yep, exactly those keywords, first it shows some lunks i dont care for, the a list of “images” and i already knew which one was from your blog.. so hovering maus over = confirmed

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          2. “Dear Maite Beaumont, I regret to inform you that your artistic legacy according to Eye Bags will forever be the rabbit & the hatchet on the Haydnmodovar staging of Mondo della Luna. Terribly sorry!”

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          1. Also TADW again. And which mezzo was that golden prince again…? Or am I mixing up things? For me, this evening is always Beaumont’s warm sound first (and the rabbit and the hatchet)

            >

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          2. Vivica Genaux as there with the golden star on her head wooing the girls on the moon.. that was how i originally got into it.. but the image of Beaumont’s bloody apron and the hatchet + rabbit stayed forever

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          3. Then I think I have to give this a try (and maybe I will eventually adapt to Beaumont’s voice and style which sounds strangely direct and all “muscles” to me at first hearing, but I like her better in this aria).

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  10. In favour of this production I have to say that I had some good laughs already, some details are also quite funny, like the cheesy picture of the Count next to her bed

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  11. That is a lot of pink in that wardrobe.

    (apropos wardrobe: props to the costume department for putting that shirt on Dégout in that way. very good fit, and he looks really good)

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  12. Buratto’s eyebrow rise here. Too bad there is so little comedy repertory for sopranos of that ‘heavier lyric’ type. I’d love to see her do a part 100% comedy.

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  13. There are Figaros where at this point, you have a churning stomach and tears in your eyes because of the energy between Count and Countess. Not so much here.

    I like the Count’s insecurity here, and the Countess’ conviction. But I don’t fear for anyone here.

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      1. true.
        (We’ve had enough heavy Mozart this summer, we have space for a more superficial one. – though of course, it is always missed chances, too. With this cast, you could have created something still funny, but more moving)

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  14. Not really great emotions, but I really do feel with Susanna about having to deal with everyone and clean up all the mess (but that’s just me and the state of the house right now)

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  15. what’s with the bridal gown hanging from the chandelier?
    (at least in this staging, it won’t have any higher symbolical meaning)

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  16. rolling my eyes at “I’m a singer too” emcee and “channeling Bezcala” tenor laughing at “haha gay basilio so funny MY WIFE says so too!! Look how I am of course not gay!” Pu-llease.

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    1. the attitude fit for me – there are more insecure or more charming counts, but I found it consistent. . also, the way, the two reacted to each other.

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    1. it’s a well-done courtroom scene when the audience is actually laughing at the mom/dad reveals. (this is good craft work – hard to believe this is the same director who tanked Alcina so badly this spring!)

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    1. either everyone expects Susanne to sleep with the Count anyway, which would be a pretty cynical take, or it’s “it takes place in Spain, and the nights start later”, or it’s a realistic wedding day/night, where you see everyone except for your spouse and then fall into bed next to them with a backache from the heels and very, very late and immediately pass out.

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  17. okay, he first recit phrases of “Deh vieni” are attemping to copy the Countess in attitude… and then she is slipping? After she throws away the ring?!
    Or is the whole aria a calculated show?

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  18. Crebassa’s performance is absolutely logical in itself, even here, this stays in total a nice and harmless boy. Also singing-wise she interprets this differently compared to her Berlin performance

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  19. they really toss about rings in this evening!

    (Wait – did the Count just give “Susanna” the wedding ring that the Countess gave him back during Act II?!)

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  20. wow, this has got to be the most dramatic crocodile tears the Count is shedding.. i’d like to see the ending of this differently! with the countess packing his bags and toss him!

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    1. oh, i take it back.. actually i was already thinking she might do that! (may be b/c i live in the US and have seen this situation too often!)
      (but who was it that brought her the rifle?)

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    2. packing bags would have been an image with more impact.
      like this, it’s another moment played for laughs – fun, but not saying anything consistently about the Countess.

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  21. well. I guess if this were the Aix Così, she would have shot someone, and three people of color in addition, but here it’s a nice statement on not taking the Count’s attitude any longer.
    (accessorize your yellow meringue dress this season with a hunting rifle in oak brown!)

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      1. OK, I’ll give you just a short report, because I’m quite busy with the kids demanding attention after the weekend away…
        This was Don G at Staatsoper im Schillertheater, in the „wood/bus stop staging“ by Claus Guth, which was originally for Salzburg (2008?) and has toured since.
        My reasons for travelling to Berlin to hear this were (in approximately this order): Dorothea Röschmann as Elvira, Luca Pisaroni as Leporello and Olga Peretyatko as Anna. Although, in hindsight, Röschmann’s „Mi tradi“ alone would have been reason enough. Since, as always, my main focus was on the singing, the slight downside of this evening was that the acoustics from where we sat and also the staging itself were sometimes not optimal for bringing out the singers’ voices, which in the piano parts were sometimes were carrying so well. Still, in total, it was a wonderful experience of hearing these three singers live, and all were optimally suited for their respective characters. You will all know Röschmann’s voice, it is not so easy to describe, I think, because it combines a beautiful lyrical, sometimes even quite dark colour with the most easily flowing lightness, singing perfectly on her breath. Her top notes on this evening were not optimal with some shrillness (I guess she was maybe suffering from some infection), but it did not matter in the overall picture and she was rightfully one of the most applauded singers of the evening. Her „Mi tradi“ was one of those moments when you really think it can’t get any more perfect (even more admirable since she had to sing parts of this lying on her side).
        Acting-wise I particularly enjoyed Pisaroni, who of course had loads of opportunities for an interesting and fun display of this ambivalent character. Also, his vocal delivery was very balanced, even under the difficult staging circumstances and always very well expressing the character’s situation.
        Of the staging you will likely have seen some of it on YT. For me, the very naturalistically displayed wood did make for a dubious athmosphere, which was well fitting to the music and story (they even had a living wolf running around). Sometimes singers were singing from the deeper parts of the wood which made sense from the staging view but, as said above, was not good acoustic-wise.
        Character development was less successful for most roles. Donna Anna’s display was again one of those interpretations where she is literally throwing herself at Don G in the first scene and was totally unnerved with unsexy Don O throughout the piece. Donna Elvira was quite hysterical, throwing in pills, and was sometimes even displayed quite ridiculous (when the audience laughs at Leporello and Don G cheating Elvira something is wrong in my opinion). In general, the whole thing was sometimes overdoing „shocking“ character actions, drifting into comedy which was distracting from the main thing (yes, I know, I’m a purist and always have the similar complaints about stageings).
        OK, now this has not really remained short, I hope you don’t mind me using your blog for this, Anik, but this is really not meant as a review but just sharing my weekend experience…
        P.S. I absolutely loved the Berlin opera audience, a bit overly hip maybe, but young on average and seriously interested and almost no coughing…

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        1. On my way to swim class to pick up one of my water valkyries – Rhinemaidens? – so just a brief THANK YOU for this. Wonderful to read!!
          (And sorry, Agathe’s kids, for stealing another 10 moments of mama’s time from you)

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        1. you have a hair artist in the family, and could probably pull it off. (hey, we have seen other people pull off that shade of blonde…)

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    1. loved – in this order – Crébassa – Karg – Buratto/Dégout.

      And it was a lot more fun (and well done, from a craft perspective) and less overt sexism than I had expected from stills and reviews.

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    2. Yes, I also liked Karg’s Susanna very much. Regarding Buratto, after this weekend, I think, her voice is really similar to Röschmann’s but she does not have the same easy flow (yet?) which so impressed me in Röschmann.

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      1. I probably need to hear more of Buratto. Preferably live – Röschmann’s sul fiato is a A whole different thing in-house. Must be all the more notable in Mozart!

        >

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  22. and i quite like Figaro here.. (and the Count too actually)
    the staging does “look” a bit frontal comedy but actually it has some deeper layers for all 4 main characters

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    1. I didn’t see them for Figaro here, also for Count and Countess only at moments… but if we compare it e.g. with the Aix 2012, both Count and Figaro come across as less violent (the Count more, Figaro only during his arias).

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  23. ok, time to rush to get boba milk tea for me, then start the day.. (actually just before intermission i had to pause to work so was a bit lost .. also during the bit Figaro discovered his mother.. but now i feel i need to go back to hear PP’s take in the garden again.. )

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