All Souls’



It’s (nearly) out.

It’s on.

Though really, Sony, if you try for a *dramatical* release in early November and it’s “Don Giovanni”, you know that it has to be Nov. 2nd. Communion with those beyond the grave and all. #HistorianProblems

(yes I’d also be excited about this if it weren’t for the female cast (but Gauvin and Papatanasiu, come on!))

There are five kinds of wrong going on with this review (starting with “Giovanni’s women are…” – excuse me, did I miss the property tags?), but least it gets the excitement thing right.

God, I hope it’s not sexist wallowing. Well, at least I don’t expect there to be much wallowing. And in need of antidotes, there is always this recent feminist panel to rejoice in (and if you want more Bonnie Gordon after that (or after this), check out her Monteverdi book).

So I guess this will go as mp3 download onto the mobile device for my weekend conference – I guess I won’t need that much caffeine to keep me awake.

20 thoughts on “All Souls’”

  1. Can you write about this recording? I wouldn’t trust the Spiegel, always giving the impression of being “objective”, but once you read an article about an area where you have some deeper background knowledge it usually turns out it’s all about a fancy story. Well, opera is subjective any way but I would trust your subjective impressions more…

    Very interesting articles on opera and sexual violence (the streaming is also available now). And Baranello’s excellent article was in the NYTimes, so reaches a wide audience, much needed!


    1. Sure, will report back (yeah, SPON and classical music…)

      I was intrigued and impressed by Figaro and Così, but I expect Giovanni to work best with Currentzis’ approach, so I am really curious.



      1. …got stuck this evening, listening to Currentzis’ Cosi and Figaro, which I didn’t know before, thanks for recommending. Striking orchestra sound, the accentuation and super fast tempi are exciting, at times nearly a bit too much, I felt. The fortepiano should become default in playing Mozart! But based on those two recordings I really wonder how MP will fit in with Currentzis’ style. He seems to go for light voices and very restrained vibrato, Gauvin makes more sense in this context. This Anna interpretation will certainly be interesting, maybe we will get to hear MP quite different from her usual sound?


        1. Yes, after Kermes for Fiordiligi and the Countess, this really is a change. Gauvin is as agile, but far more dramatic, and Papatanasiu has that lyric veneer and is also a bit more sizable and darker.
          I enjoyed Figaro and Così more on an intellectual level, but I think his abyss concept might work out best for Giovanni. And it looks like he has gone for heftier voices this time. Curious, curious, curious!


          1. „enjoying on an intellectual level“, that fits! Listening to Cosi again, I constantly had the feeling I should like it more, it’s fresh and energetic but somehow, for me, it was all a bit too perfect, lacking heart overall. And it seems he let’s singers step back a lot, to not „stand out“ of his approach, but for me it takes too much of role characterization away. However, I very much enjoyed Malena Ernman’ Dorabella and Kenneth Tarver’s Ferrando, who seem to bring in a lot of their own (but maybe I’m kidding myself and I just go for these special voices). But maybe MP is really just what that Don G needs, she’s so strong in character portrayal!


            1. Yes the having voices “stand back” was odd for me to… still dind’t listen to Don G., issues wiht being on the road and iTunes and only having the tslet along


      2. i just read that German radio MDRcultur has just picked this as one of the best 6 recordings of 2016. I haven’t pipped through translator yet but seems all about Currentzis? oh wow, K.Gauvin is there too!! and Tarver, who i have heard live as prince charm to V.Genaux’s cenerentola.


        1. Oh, that reminds me of a delivery I still have to organize.

          Yes, the German-speaking world is big on Currentzis, probably also due to a cultural history big on the lone genius figure. I still need to listen a bit more to come up with words – it’s a change of register when you are used to Harnoncourt or Jacobs. Gauvin is a dramatic gift, of course, though I have the impression she is even better in live concerts or on stage.



  2. The idea of a self-aware DG is intriguing – knowing that he doesn’t truly experience love at all and diving into self-destructive physical pleasure as a way of filling a void of self-hatred could actually be a way of having a conversation about toxic masculinity (as long as it didn’t devolve into yet more aestheticized man-pain). There’s a nugget of something in that idea that reminds me of some reading about narcissism and attachment styles that could be more psychologically interesting in a DG, than just straight up self-satisfied privilege.


    1. OMG, did you see the promotion clip on YT? Excuse the comment but this guy is really insufferably arrogant. And I have the feeling we will have to hope for a self-conscious Don G in another production (but still, this cast is intriguing).


      1. No!! I didn’t see it! That’s too bad about the guy. I have no German, so I was relying on a browser translation to read the review (which of course does nothing with grammar), and my understanding was fairly limited. There was just a line in there that got me thinking.


        1. ..but it’s a very interesting thought, so one good thing “inspired” from the mistranslation! By “the guy” meant the conductor, not the interpretation of Don G, but the conductor certainly has a lot to do with the interpretation. From the short clip, I did like the singer of Don G, though.


      2. I did not! And I guess I won’t, to not ruin it for me… half of the arrogance is probably show, too, but The other half is simply bad manners and I don’t have much tolerance for that. plus I am so over the genius narrative, which is also so f*ing paternalist and sexist…
        You do great work, good for you. But no human being is worth more than another.
        It’s a big reason why I stay away from stage doors and from artists on social media – it can kind of ruin their work for you if they are arrogant jerks, or airheads (“you just made me think very deep thoughts on humanity, and now I see your twitter feed is 80% cat content and you say your favorite hobby is shopping!?” should not influence the artistic experience for me, but at times it does…)


        1. Yes, better not look into the clip (also MP is only shown for about 2 seconds, so not worht it) and sorry, I didn’t want to ruin it for you. I completely agree that in many cases it’s best not to dig too deep into an artists interviews / social media presentation, and it can actually even hurt a bit, because if you’re really taken with a performance you assume a kind of connection with the artist, you assume to feel what (s)he feels interpreting that music and it can be very strange to find out the actual person is very different from yourself/your way of thinking. (had to laugh at your example on deep thoughts and„shopping“).


          1. thanks, I will skip the clip then (and the reason for my initial interest in it has been suitably transparent, I gather 😉 ) – I did download the recent ARTE documentary, but don’t know yet if I will brave it. Perhaps I will simply switch the tone off for anything that is not a musical sample. 🙂

            Connecting to artists… I am always very adamant about the fact that there is no connection to a person, just to the function of a person in a specific context (I have issues with fans who cannot respect privacy – I know I myself get very enthusiastic about singers, but I try to be clear that it is about performances, and that anything beyond is none of my business/Interest).
            Your comment has me thinking on and off for hours now – because you are right, we do assume a link of sorts, and it’s the enlightenment legacy of “the artist has to feel the music they perform otherwise it is not ‘authentic’ and cannot move anyone”. And that is not true. Yes, we do feel like frauds/cheated when we are deeply moved by something and then realize the person who has largely created this experience has not been moved much or at all (German example: it feels like having fallen for the Hurz hoax, in a way), and, yes, I tend to hope that people who make me think about human nature are equally kind and thoughtful. But actually, that is not necessary. It’s what we’ve been taught since the late 1700s, to have our feelings validated by the involvement of the performer, but aren’t our feelings valid either way? They’re there, no matter *how* they have been caused. They simply don’t have much to do with the person creating those feelings through their art (but it is such an instinctive reaction – and I do appreciate e.g. von Otter or Petibon onstage so much more through their intelligent interviews)

            I once cried my eyes out over a mezzo (no surprise there) who sang an incredibly moving French role, marvelously expressing the text in her singing. And I learned later that she spoke no French at all, had learned the whole role by phonetics, and had only a very vague idea of what the text even was.
            So I was kind of miffed, and felt stupid, but then arrived at the thought of “So what if she doesn’t get it, or doesn’t even know what she manages to transport: I got something out of it. So she did a good job in that, even if her perspective is very different from mine.”

            It is hard to keep separate at times – if I witness artists being unkind, callous or cruel or very ignorant, that does turn me off their work overall. But apart from that, I think I can learn to live with the shopping and the 80% cat content. I simply push it away for the length of a performance, and as long as everyone is serious and committed about the performance, I won’t complain. And whatever someone is beyond a performance – not my business anyway. But I know from myself that if I read an intelligent interview, I enjoy a performance much more. And there are performances that are lacking reflection, and that’s a case of ignorance affecting art, and I connect less to it as a result.
            I will keep thinking about this, I still feel there are things I don’t know to capture quite yet – thank you for bringing this up!


            1. Wow, thank you, much food for thought. Actually I’m not sure myself what exactly I meant by „connection“, I think my idea is very vague and had not thought it through in detail. Of course it’s not a connection to a private person, but maybe to the “singer”, existent in that precise moment?
              I would make a distinction between someone’s lifestyle or hobbies and their involvement in the music. If someone loves shopping I’m fine with it as long as she still cares about the music she sings, but I think I couldn’t cope with someone not being emotionally involved in their performance at all. Which luckily probably happens very rarely, or do I only hope so? And how can we really know? I do get your point that it shouldn’t matter for the result I get out of it, but I still think it would matter for me. Then, there’s the point that in any case you will never have the exact same experience another person has, no matter how similar you are, so there is separation per se. This is complicated, I have to return to work now but will think about this further, thanks.


            2. It keeps me thinking, too – and I think I said this in another comment last night, in reply to towanda: that the only thing really rightfully negative is a singer not taking the “ritual” seriously, as in “not being committed to their work”. I think that is the one thing (other than someone being a jerk) to really turn me off.
              And about it shouldn’t matter/it still does matter: I get your point. I try hard not to let things matter, but sometimes I cannot help it, either. I don’t know yet why (you are the psychologist, and perhaps there is something universal about wnateing to see one’s own thoughts/emotions reflected?)
              I know musicians are not trained to think like researchers or analysts, they probably couldn’t be doing the work they are doing if they did. But at times I am at odds with what contexts do get or not get thought about – take e.g. our recent discussions on sexism, which are so glaringly obvious in some works, and that some interpreations really make us questiona dn think about, and then you read some interview with one of those interpreters and see the same people who made you sharpen your view on sexist patterns perpetuate saying sexist things and following stereotypical patterns without even realizing it.

              Liked by 1 person

    2. We really should watch the Amsterdam 2996 with you, I am curious what you would think of that one – Giovanni as a kind of imaginary projection space of liberation.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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