The Salzburg 2003 “Clemenza di Tito” Liveblogging Thread

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Welcome to the White Shirt live comment thread for a White Shirt classic: Mozart’s “La clemenza di Tito” from the 2003 Salzburg festival, with Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting the Vienna Philharmonic and in a Martin Kušej staging.

Cast Listing:
Tito: Michael Schade
Sesto: Vesselina Kasarova (bring your smelling salts for the shirtsleeves!)
Vitellia: Dorothea Röschmann (more smelling salts)
Annio: Elīna Garanča (bring new dyke on the block kit)
Servilia: Barbara Bonney (bring smelling salts and flowers)
Publio: Luca Pisaroni (#IfIHadToPickABassbaritone)

The production is available on YT (among the first search results for “Clemenza di Tito”).

Libretto:  Italian, English.

882 thoughts on “The Salzburg 2003 “Clemenza di Tito” Liveblogging Thread”

  1. Hello Anik! I’m not sure if this is the right moment to de-lurk, but I find this liveblog so interesting… so I thought it would be polite to make my presence known. I’ve always had a thing for mezzos, and I found your blog by googling ”white shirt opera”…

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        1. I so know the feeling. After “omg, this is how they’re doing opera these days?” to “well, good but not quite that”. Though some productions hit that sweet mark once in a while.

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      1. i know why i had such a hard time following this one in the past: i was such newbie, truly fresh off the boat, only focusing on “white-shirt” (that first “Parto”, *then* the look _and_ the pose, then the 2nd “Parto”!) . That, and not knowing the music at all. This one is heavily tilted toward phrasing + recit + Harnoncourt’s shaping of orchestra: you really need to know the music inside and out to appreciate!

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        1. maybe it helps if you’re already familiar but VK and DR will guide you through anyway if you let them. It’s such obviously fine singing/understanding of the material!

          definitely to your comments on the Parto moment 😉 every time I see it I think to myself “exactly!” Tonight I was thinking to myself if only Mozart wrote more roles like this VK would’ve had more material to shine like does here. Just perfect for her.

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  2. The boys, I really have issues with that.
    And apart from general issues, what is the director’s meaning, is Tito so over-tolerant he tolerates child abuse?

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    1. and here I thought Strauss was the first one with the whole “the action is happening during the overture, and all you’ll get when curtains open is people getting dressed again”.
      Clearly I was wrong.

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      1. it’s kinda funny how in some Tito production you have a feeling Vitellia and Sesto hadn’t done it yet (hence the promise in Parto) but here they make it clear it’s been going on for a good while and this is just Vitellia sinking her teeth deeper.

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      1. was just about to type how it is incredible that Röschmann is so immediately recognizable, yet has changed so much, and is fabulous.
        (but then I got distracted by OH LOOK THERE IS OUR BUS POSTER MOMENT — )

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          1. And the thing is that she still coul —-

            wait. udnerwear. my brain is getting derailed. Even more by the singing, though.
            Man, if I were Sesto, I’d already have killed Tito 3 times over to get back into bed. Or onto the floor.

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      1. that is not a wig? I could have sworn it was…

        (also, Agathe: ugh, now reminding me of a certain politician-demagogue!)

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          1. sorry. she just really stole the look there. but hey, EG is positively passionate-bordering-on-crazy in comparison, and I mean that as a compliment.

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            1. And EG, conventional or not, is also hopefully miles away on the racist as….le scale. I could have vomited at that party in Koblenz celebrating pumpkin guy. (And this woman just does NOT deserve that look).

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            2. she should give it back and just go for the appropriate crew cut, she is not allowed to mess with my EG enjoyment.
              (there was a pro-pumpkin party in Koblenz? You mean that nazi meetup? URGH.) – I posted you some lovely Crébassa in the WSM to make the day a little better 🙂

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          1. back in 2008/09 when the Whiteshirtery thing started? This WAS our starting point.
            and I am SO not over this.
            Darn, I miss Harnoncourt.

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    1. perhaps, but I think it is also one of the voices that carries very differently live.
      (still, it shows the DVD was done in the early 2000s)

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      1. it’s interesting how she sounds live in my experience. A bit too big – nowadays – for Wigmore Hall – but perfect at ROH. Also I suppose the way she sings/produces sound can be a bit unforgiving. Though I heard her at Wiggy once first row and she seared my ears, then went a bit iffy/took time to warm up or so it appeared to me at that close distance but on the radio broadcast which I listened to later it was all smooth and a lot more even/tame than she sounds live.

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          1. And she is one of the singers that dig in their heels and throw in their bodies and do that work. One of the core reasons I like her so much is her commitment.

            >

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        1. Yes, I’d say the same after hearing her Jenufa in Vienna – bigger now, definitely, and different in the house than on air or in the studio.

          >

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          1. Oh yes, but I actually wanted to reply to the suggestion of blogging Röschmann’s countess. Should we do the Berlin Dudamel Crebassa Figaro? I really like that one, not only for Röschmann/Crebassa (although, wow!) but also for Dudamel’s conducting. (Genius narrative, I don’t care, I really like this approach and it has good sound quality as well).

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            1. Yes, I was thinking about that one (the other obvious choices would be the 2006 Salzburg)
              And Dudamel is different – also hyped, but less as the lonesome genius type that comes with such baggage of abusive hierarchy, more as someone staged for being attractive, approachable and palatably “other” (OH!A Southamerican! Oh, from those poor youth orchestras!). Though again, someone who is no doubt talented, but gets hyped as the second coming, and not because of his talent, but because of looks/charisma/biography. Personally, I find his readings generally solid, but not spectacular.

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            2. It may really primarily have to do with the singer cast and the sound quality that I like that take, but in general, I’m always quite happy already when the singers are well supported and given room by the conductor, but then, there’s the next liga, like Harnoncourt…. Inspired by Dudamel there’s even the whole TV series of “Mozart in the jungle” (really annoying how the young oboist buys into becoming the eccentric genius conductor’s assistant, constantly brewing his Mate tea, still it has some fun moments).

              Liked by 1 person

            3. *whistles* Uuuh… Nice weather today, isn’t it?

              (Bellucci doesn’t have the edge, or rather: no one has ever bothered to cast her in a part with an edge. But phenotypically… #AnikHasAType)

              >

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        1. nooooow i remember, i think it was you, towanda! a looong time ago, i can’t remember on whose blog, Eyes or Purity or Anik, i think it was Purity’s, of the aria “Deh, se piacer mi vuoi” screen cap, and the only thing i remember most was someone’s constant passing out over the red dress!

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        1. she was, what, 27 then? Her acting is much more seasoned now, much smoother, but I like this one precisely for being not as smooth yet. More openness without the polish.

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      1. Again with the office separating the person inhabiting it from humanity? (Well, this is the first perspective from which a recent appointment that should never have happened does at least not generate any losses)

        >

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    1. just totally unhinged, and given power?
      Schade does a great job, getting the craziness into seemingly insignificant gestures. And the singing, UGH, he was SO GOOD there

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  3. poor Servilia – first Sesto needs three seconds to remember “Oh, wait. She’s my sister.” and now Tito needs a moment to remember “oj, okay, I declared I will marry her later today.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. though if in his socks, stripping unasked before any dinner and then jumping on the bed? Not really boyfriend material.

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  4. Suuuper late. Stuff got complicated at the library. But I found my “unreturned” score in the stacks–victory! Now to return home.

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  5. and as if this could get any better, sopranos throwing fits. At each other. – Röschmann is so incredibly good with throwing saracastic shade and fuming while still singing very Mozartean Mozart.

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  6. sure, throw another image of glowering Vitellia in there, in that outfit, as if we wouldn’t all be pretty much hyperventilating at this point anyway

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    1. yes!!!
      Also, right here. Garanca. Not quite Röschmann in going all out and setting consonants (and fangirls) on fire, but then, what is?

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    1. the way to do it is watch Parto first about 45748357 times. After you cool down a bit you start from the beginning, get hot again and hope to survive the rest as you’re glued to the screen anyway.

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        1. it was interesting “seeing” it again “with others”. Sometimes there’s something you like a lot because of the memories it generates and you might think differently with others around but this one is still fresh so many years on.

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            1. Oh, don’t tell me there is actually a use for selfie sticks?

              Well, it is the route of money and conventional mainstream femininity, no matter how beautiful the material works in other repertory. Always reminds me of Anna Russell’s entry on Dramatic Sopranos…

              >

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            2. tells you how fond I am of selfie sticks 😉 is Anna Russell! Love her, must watch the videos again 😀 she’d love today’s scene, with the modern divas, the countertenors and the backfiring regie.

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          1. There is a long, winded post on this issue that I will never finish. It did look with the latest release as if she did relax a bit more into the new repertory, bit my principle enjoying her work more – and she is very, very good technically. No open flaws at all! – is that padding of control that keeps me from engaging. Personal choices and tastes, I suppose: I am more at the Röschmann end of the pool.

            > 23.01.2017 um 01:08 schrieb Eye Bags : > > >

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            1. maybe it’s maturity she lacks. In art throwing control to the wind is an achievement. Just trust herself and the music, people already like her, what’s she got to lose?

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            2. From my viewpoint, that would be my question!
              But it’s her choice – artistic and personal – that I respect. Though as far as styles go, it is not the one that draws my attention foremost.
              Of course you always need control when singing, the question is how much, and where you draw the line, and singers have different answers to that. It’s probably also linked to context and singing schools in that.

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            3. Sure, it’s her choice; pity it’s a boring choice for some of us. Great loss of much potential in a generation not blessed with as much talent as the previous one. Then again, I think this generation and the ones that follow have to deal with a very different scene and perhaps need to be more careful with their choices.

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            4. Still, we have singers today who go for a more involved approach and apparently don’t have it hurt their voices.
              Personally, I get the same impression that you do, of “but there would be so much more available and possible to her!” (and it tends to lead me back to this Annio), but again: not my call to make.

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            5. Hey dehgghi, if I remember correctly I have already seen you ranting obsessively about Garanca in some previous blog so, if you ask me, you have a secret thing for her.

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            6. Until the next time I start ranting about The Post I Will Not Write But That I Keep Returning Too. We should rant in private next time you’re in town for TADW. 🙂

              >

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        1. I like the way your interior decoration resembles mine. 😉

          (I still have that framed photo around my desk somewhere…)

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        1. Publio all “Sesto killed my boyfriend. So, Tito, how about that dinner now?”
          (How old is Pisaroni here? 25? – sounding great, too. I always like him more in Act II that Act I here)

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          1. I think the “even when creepy bonus” depends on actual physical strength for me, shouldn’t be clearly more than my own. (Oh no, now I can’t stop thinking about comparing contralto’s strength…)

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