The MET 2011 “Comte Ory” (Rossini) Liveblogging Thread

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Welcome to the White Shirt live comment thread for Rossini’s “Le Comte Ory” from the MET (2011), staged by Bartlett Sher and under the baton of Maurizio Benini.

The cast features

Diana Damrau as  Countess Adèle
Joyce DiDonato as Isolier
Juan Diego Flórez as Count Ory
Stéphane Degout as Raimbaud
Susanne Resmark as Ragonde
and
Michele Pertusi as Ory’s Tutor.

The production is officially available online via iTunes for the (rather steep) price of €20, if youaare looking for a single stream-on-demand. There is also a DVD/BR (and, in a pinch, there is the White Shirt network).
The libretto is available in French/Italian, French only, or German with switch to optional French tab – if you have an English version, please post it below and I will edit it in here.

372 thoughts on “The MET 2011 “Comte Ory” (Rossini) Liveblogging Thread”

    1. yes, and I think it interacts well with the staging – the whole “we show the tricks” aesthetic. For me, the evening works to well because it does not try to be more than perfectly executed fun.

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  1. once more Dégout in a role where he is pushing around women…
    (I wonder whether an older single woman enthusiastic about Dégout would rate as a Dégoutante, and I really need to lay low on the champagne already)

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    1. he carries this off extremely well, also the right balance in acting comedy, but not overdoing it.
      Damrau, at times, is overdoing it for me acting-wise, but here she is perfectly cast.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely, I also wondered about that, and he tells in the break interview he didn’t sleep, amazing, also to be able to slip into the role just like that

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  2. Degout is spot-on with his timing, too.

    And how does Resmark even move with this thing on on her head without skewering every…

    oh never mind HELLO ISOLIER.

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  3. I always love the physicality JDD gives him, that mix of swagger and nerves – if you compare it with most of her Romeos, those are much “darker”, not with this slight Cherubino breathlessness.

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  4. and I am realizing only now that I would not need to have worried about the libretto. Subtitles! Which I do of course notice over the Puritan tutor, while Isolier is out of the frame.

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  5. although it is another opera that olympically fails the Bechdel test – if the women talk at all, it is about men, plus it’s women talking to a man about their men, and then men talking about those women talking about men…
    also I am kind of overwhelmed by the headgear selection. Is it the season to bring out the blinking reindeer antlers already? Would fit right in…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gaggles of Girls who Giggle. I look forward to the day where I don’t have to see that any longer as a stage trope for romantic excitement.

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      1. apropos bicycles, last night’s Cerentola from Lille was sweet, magical fun. With a great color scheme for the costumes!

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    1. not protesting. will join you on the floor!
      she has such range at her command when it comes to the top – this take always makes me remember that she has repertory like Alcina, too.

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      1. also musically – they both have a vibrato that is more on the fast-and-dense side, and sometimes it stands out, but here, it’s a great balance.

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  7. I don’t know yet what #OryProblem Isolier on the floor will be, but it will be a problem. At least for my concentration.

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  8. and now for “Masked Ball, the comedy version”: Amelia comes to see Ulrica, and Ulrica tells her to fall in love with her… or something like that.

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  9. I’m not always on board with Damrau’s interpretational takes (or lack thereof), but the sheer level of her technical command is absolutely stunning. It’s like she can tie in EVERY. SINGLE. NOTE. And they ALL open evenly.

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  10. Damrau is really fun here, of her acting in other productions I can’t say so much, although, there was her Countess when she was still very young, and she was very nicely swooning over Bacelli’s Cherubino in that one.

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    1. oh, was that the Paris take? I will have to recheck that.
      And it’s not that she doesn’t act, it’s rather that, to me, at times it is too much (e.g. in her recent Lucia) – I would never question her commitment there. Probably just a matter of different approaches.

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  11. now THIS is how you take off a wig.
    (also loving Damrau’s reaction. Too bad there is not much more comedy repertory for her in belcanto, she is so good with the timing and that commentary-level)

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        1. Okay, we can arrange ourselves with that – lavender marriages, pink marriages…

          True story: my wife and I once were asked whether we share a husband. To the person who asked, that seemed less absurd than the notion that we might be married to each other.

          >

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  12. if this were a long-lost Alban Berg piece, or a Brecht/Weill collaboration, Mother Ragonde would run a shady nightclub with upstairs separées, and Adèle would be the star escort. And the costumes would be pretty much the same.

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    1. yes, it’s like Rossini sat down with some champagne, too, snickered, and said “I’ll just throw that at them, too!”

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          1. well, not us so much, but still enough people if one does look at the things unearthed in this election.

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          2. yes yes. you could do some transgressive stuff with this opera and have it speak right back to the misogyny, but they’re not doing that here at all. Other than Damrau’s raised eyebrow…

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  13. if I want an all-male cast looking religious, I can tune into “Palestrina”, but at least this one is a bit more fun.

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      1. just Ory’s – Isolier may be his page, but he is choosing Adèle over his boss in a heartbeat (plus he is the official candidate for marriage here, not the tenor!)

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  14. so… the staging plays it as Adèle already in the know. Probably the only way to counter the —-

    what was I saying? That Isolier look just threw me off-

    -ASDFGHJKL whydoieventrytokeeptalking.–

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  15. #OryProblems: when you’re finally orchestrating to get the page out of their leather coat, and then you forgot to lock the bedroom door. #tenorterror

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          1. that probably depends on the staging and the casting and the interests of everyone involved, but vocally, my vote would likely be for Ariodante/Polinesso/Ginevra.

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        1. yes, that bit is icky, depending on the staging. E.g. it should absolutely be Adèle’s impulse here to go through with this, no prompting by any of the other two, then (and only then) it might work as “how about we all agree to this situation”.

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          1. yeah, that’s what i mean. simply for show rather than having thoughts to the flow, why is Ory not reacting when realizing there’s a 3rd person? what the hell is Isolier doing telling her to keep pleasing Ory, then slide out? to me it’s really just so the audience can have a good time seeing Florez and Damrau, then playing with along for a godo time. urgh, it’s really rubbing me the wrong way.

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          2. yes, that point of Isolier telling Adèle to play along is really tricky. How do you do that without taking away her agency, and without making Isolier/Adèle something that needs a third wheel?
            (I will have to think about this some more, too. It never bothered me this much before, but it’s really this week, I think…)

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          3. i think even before this week i’d still have problem. to be honest i’ve always had problem with the photo of the production of 3-some, hence i never got into it: it’s playing to the male-dominated audience. If we ignore for a moment JDD is singing the role and sub in a tenor (or even a CT) i think they audience might even complain. but that’s not the point, it’s more that Isolier here is then just a typical male as well. perhaps somewhere in line with Oktavian? youth + love, but behaving not very different than typical male before him. Particularly jarring again to me is the suggestion to Adèle to please some other guy, regardless of the ending. i understand why it has to be done (though not really entirely, besides that it’s in the libretto perhaps) but again it’s just using the female character as a vehicle to achieve male’s desire.
            (i was quite bothered too during that scene of Romeo getting on top Giulietta in Munich and this old guy sitting next to me was super excited nearly jumping out of his seat, urgh, URGH! — again, for context, if you have two tenor going at this, even if 1 is playing the female role, i’m very sure his reaction wouldn’t be the same. it’s about objectifying women. gosh i was quite irked by that guy, clearly some deep issue here🙂 )

            Liked by 1 person

          4. While I ind of addressed this in my latest reply to Agathe, you are bringing up another very important aspect that I want to underline, and what also relates to Michelle Obama’s charged speech of this week – how difficult it is to erect borders of respect if others keep tearing them down and that woman are so often not allowed to define their own borders. It’s the guy ogling you from the watercooler, it’s the guy whistling after you in the street, it’s the guy in the opera seat next to you who perceives the story as something to be objectified for his own pleasure, with the added horror of this pleasure being solely derived from objectifying female bodies (blatantly disregarding the narrative and the human being involved in it on- and offstage)
            And that is horrifying because it is nothing the attacked one can change. No matter how I see myself, if someone objectifies me, I cannot put my fist into their (mostly, his) mind and squeeze out the sexism. And the worst is – and that is perhaps also that has us so livid – is that culture in this situation is more often validating the sexist objectifier than the human being whose self is attacked.

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          5. Yes, I had the same thoughts after your comments last night. Isolier initiating the threesome is very tricky and let’s face it, he’s actually a total jerk to do that! He’s supposed to be in love with her for a long time, so in this context this takes away the credibility of their love story. In fact Isolier is worse then Ory here, because he pushes her into it, using his influence on her, while, otherwise she probably would have said no. To Ory’s credit, I believe he finally would have accepted a No, I didn’t sense any physical violence with him throughout the piece. Would it have been different if Adele initiated the threesome? I’m not sure, in that case Isolier would have been the person possibly abused.
            If seen separately from the background I don’t think showing this is a problem in general.
            The libretto, yes, I agree, fumbling in the dark without knowing would have been much worse.
            In general this also might again be a case of opera characters from former times not acting the way we would find logical from a modern perspective.

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          6. yes, the time change is another important point here – and look at us, we meet for an evening of pink fluffy fun and end up knee-deep in discussing rape culture and sexism. I also enjoyed the scene (and feel guilty about it now) because it just SOUNDS SO GOOD, but I don’t think I will ever look at it again as easy fun.

            To my modern day sensitivities, I would not care whether it is Isolier or Adèle to suggest a threesome (or Ory, for all it takes), as long as it is clear that all parties are informed and enter into the situation of their own volition. If Isolier and Adèle, as a couple, decide they want some added action? Fine. And I think one could stage that around he libretto lines.
            But of course there is cultural context, and that is also what thadieu points out – because no matter who wants what in an individual situation, we live in a context, where threesomes are usually staged for a male gaze, and where it is usually following a dramaturgy about two female bodies framing a male one. Crude bottom line in that message: women can’t get it on on their own, and they can’t even sing it on their own.
            And thadieu has a point also in that it is a different message if you employ two male and one female body and the male bodies also interact (as a notable difference from the straight porn violence fantasy of two men channeling all attentions at one female “object”). Yet despite two of the roles in this Ory scenario being male, it stil comes down to two female bodies, and perceiving these bodies as female bodies in our current cultural context, so yes, this is largely purporting the same tired, sexist cliche. And while it could have been much worse (no interaction between male characters, not putting Isolier in the middle), that does not mean it was okay
            (sorry, this is kind of replying to Agathe’ and thadieu’s latest thoughtful inputs, I was not sure where to put it)

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          7. Your latest comment (and others here) and how you feel so strongly about this is making me think further, and I’m really wondering of how difficult it is to produce something that is not offending from any perspective in this scene (and I do feel a bit guilty because I find it quite pleasing, so is that OK from my perspective?). Interesting discussion.

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          8. 🙂
            no judgement whatsoever on your interpretation or any within our nice group here. From our various discussions on here I know you, Anik, and others are always very thoughtful and aware of the various issues we bring up.

            I think in general when any of us suddenly reacts very strongly to some thing, i think there are some aspect in our (past,present) lives that are affecting us more than others. My reaction to this really fits my profile of strongly disagreeing with eye-candies and objectifying women for male pleasure (my impression of a certain situation in general). But i now agree with Anik that perhaps it’s likely much heightened given all these negative things we’re being bombarded with here in the US during this election. I’d even confess that i’ve already shied away from these kinds of productions in my past (i saw the photo of the 3-some everywhere and already had a biased opinion of eye-candies).. but i thought i shouldn’t let my prejudice hinders me from enjoying something that almost everyone else seems to enjoy. And indeed the picture alone is not the issue here, but rather the combined effect that i described in my previous comment, and the current political atmosphere, just set me off.

            But i should also mention this is probably why my escape is always to *not* read the libretto/translation just so i can absorb the music.. Because going back in my history, it seems i have many cases in fact become irritated as soon as i understand the story (e.g., Tancredi, and the treatment of Amenaide! or Ariodante, and treatment of Ginevra! or Queen Dido, get a grip!!) I had listened often for 5-6 years to many pieces without understanding the story! This might be the only option given many of these opera stories are really not for my basket🙂.

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  16. this is SO GREAT musically.
    (and I find it less sexist to stage it as a threesome with everyone in the know than as that masked farce that has Ory be an utter creep)

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      1. but you are right, towanda – while the scene still comes across far too sexist, imagine how bad it would be with the soprano in the middle instead of the mezzo.

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  17. i have to say the staging is really hindering my enjoyment.. perhaps because it comes at really this wrong time and confirms many sh*tty things we’ve been seeing (not that it’s never there before.. but for the MET to also stage this, that’s too much for me really)

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    1. no, the MET is a conservative house – that sadly fits the pattern. And I don’t really think it is the staging adding it (the staging, with at various points putting people in the know – Adèle recognizing Oy and playing with him, Siolier and Adèle consciously entering into that threesome with him – is actually trying to kick out the worst of it, I would say) – it, sadly, really is the libretto, and it’s 19th century sexism, and an early 21st century audience that still needs to reflect more on sexism, and we see this more clearly and harshly than perhaps ever this very week.

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      1. i still think staging could have done more, it’s playing it all too cute, and rape culture isn’t cute. but agreed also, the libretto etc. and feeling it particularly harshly this week.

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        1. of course the staging is still glossing over much of it – far too much, especially this week. The bitter thing is how the educated/conservative audience (we shall assume the MET as a place where educated and conservative are not such contradictions as in other places right now) eat it up, and how this ties in so much with the mainstream aesthetic the MET plays and serves.

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      2. yeah, may be it’s that. and the fact i’m always shying away from these kinds of operas or stagings (though Tancredi, urgh). But staging 3-some for me, when not done with thoughts, is too much eye-candies, particularly for male audience gawking at a guy and 2 females, regardless of how it’s “supposed” to be

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        1. I give them points for trying – the fact alone they they also have Isolier/Ory go at it and not take that out, e.g.
          But yeah, some operas are really hard to do, and some roles with great music (Trancredi) have such sexist lines to sing…

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          1. i think there’s something, too, about JDF really playing it for the audience, that’s what really bugged me. DD/JDD really play to each other, but there’s this sense (to me) that JDF keeps winking at the audience, like, look how cute I am that I won’t take no for an answer, and we’re (well not us obviously) are supposed to laugh along at his antics.

            on the other hand, he disappears at the end which is its own kind of commentary i suppose.

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          2. oh, now that you point it out – yes, that is a good point. I wonder if that was the stage instruction (but it is also how he handles the camera. And again, gender divide: the two women don’t try to establish that kind of gaze…)

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    1. good night, Agathe! I am so happy we go you into Rossini some more😉
      And now it’s off to play the role of Ragonde/Adèle for you, as in “welcome home committee”, isn’t it?

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      1. (and lime green😉 , i might have something burried deep but this character, the way MP portrayed her, is really breaking me heart , which, of course, like Romeo, means endless rewinding..)

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  18. I’m off reread all the comments, as well, and to perhaps rewatch a scene or two (though then I will probably need my nightcap…)
    it was great you could join us today, towanda, I hope you had fun. Looking forward to the next time!
    Good night, everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. jeah, me too, so glad you could join! so much fun, and added voice to support singers who i ‘m not as familiar with😀
      more to come, at least we have 1 date right? 26/feb? (FOUR hours, JEAH!)

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