The Madrid 2015 “Alcina” Liveblogging Thread

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Welcome to the White Shirt live comment thread for Handel’s “Alcina” (2015) from the Teatro Real Madrid, staged by David Alden and conducted by Christopher Moulds.

Cast Listing:
Alcina – Karina Gauvin
Ruggiero – Christine Rice
Bradamante – Sonia Prina
Morgana – Anna Christy
Oronte – Allan Clayton
Oberto – Erika Escribà
Melisso – Luca Tittoto

The production is available via the Teatro Real’s “Palco digital”, and on YT via the Magic Channel (let us know if you need a link to join the discussion).

Libretto: CD booklet with parallel Italian, English, German French (pdf); Italian (pdf), Italian (html).

504 thoughts on “The Madrid 2015 “Alcina” Liveblogging Thread”

          1. My reaction was likely similar – I really enjoyed this, and the shifted point of view (also someone I had never seen this way before. Stuttgart does have a similar ‘ruined by the clutches of a convenience marriage’ vision in the end, but there, Bradamante and Ruggiero had less of a connection). At the same time, some moments were heavy with flashback to the Noble production for me, and to my own emotional response to that.

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          2. We really need to do the Stuttgart production, I think I have never seen it in one piece, might be needed to get a more global impression.

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          3. I would say right away, but perhaps not right this week? (still investigating whether I can get a hold of a smaller-sized Cendrillon edition (which not regie in any way, though), or whether thadieu has any suggestions (likely involving Antonacci…?))

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        1. that was a very beautiful aftershow party – I still have a photo of your laptop with the clip running on our table with the thermos in the background.

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    1. 😀 so far, no one is creepy. though Morgana is a far better dancer than Ruggiero (who reminds me a lot of Franziska Gottwald’s Ruggiero in image)

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      1. as long as there are contraltos/mezzos…

        Gauvin behind the curtain is also — oh, now she stepped in front of the curtain. Well, Ruggiero surely has interesting dreams.

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  1. If this is going to be a dancing and Fedoras kind of evening, I will be very okay with that. Especially if Gauvin gets a Fedora at some point, too.
    (and Prina can stay juuuuust as she is, thank you)

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  2. SP said in an interview how with Bradamante in disguise she had to be reminded by a director she was supposed to be a woman and I think it still shows, like sometimes overdoing the woman part it a bit. And that changes when she changes clothes to a dress later.

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        1. No, no I meant the opposite, her performance as a woman in suit sometimes feels as if she had to struggle a bit not to be too comfortable as a “man” (probably as told by director), in the dress she’s still very strong of course.

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          1. yes, that is what I meant – she could be easily read as masculine in the suit (stance, hands in pockets, enter o gravity), and of course I have to ask myself immediately why that is necessarily masculine (occupational hazard)

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    1. yes – she clearly is used to carrying suits in male roles, though I would take that effortless confidence also while she wears a dress (again with the question of ‘how do we codify femininity?’)

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    1. yes, especially as of other middle, very clear. Also nice glasses.
      and the overall looks – I remember ladies in the 30+/40+ in the queer scene in the late 90s who went with exactly that kind of book nerd charm.

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      1. With the test box, I now think Oberto is a psychologist in training, those always have to do the testing and I think he did run after Ruggiero with some equipment I think?

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        1. Poor Oberto really does not escape from anything (though I would argue that the clutches of Alcina are not the worst scenario imaginable, but consent is not clear here). Perhaps the intern? Would have liked more of a link to Melisso then, or is Melisso only an imaginary guide to Ruggiero?

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    1. really nice tone!
      (and so Ruggiero can juggle a bit, Morgana can dance, perhaps this actually is a circus. We even have lions!)

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  3. this is what I love about Gauvin – effortless scope!
    Moving, even when the production isn’t planning on giving her that much depth (since it is not her perspective, but Ruggiero’s).

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    1. really lovely “Sì, son quella” (though I hear this and I still have the standing room breeze in my mind, and sky blue sparkles, and those chairs…)

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      1. she has that broad kind of tone (not really big, per se, but many colors – that thing that Norman did to perfection) that automatically seems to prevent shrillness or thinness or dryness.

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  4. Is it too soon to root for an unexpected turn of events in which Alcina dumps Ruggiero and seduces Bradamante instead because you bet she hasn’t limited herself to guys in all those decades…?

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      1. …Ruggiero could get Oberto?
        (Rice’s voice really works well, as in there may be more perfect tones for a single of the arias, but I think she might actually be able to pull off all the aria well. Looking forward to Mi lusinga!)

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      2. Ruggiero can hook up with Morgana who will teach him some more nice dance moves. Oronte, with his impressive footwork, will stay. he might teach Melisso! (or i’m fine with 3-some w/ Morgana too, his footwork is that impressive.)

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    1. *lol*
      (though – Gauvin vs Prina, that is difficult, with the singing and the ability to move and get things across…)

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  5. Okay, still not sold on Morgana’s tone, but yes on the attitude.

    Also on Prina in yet another Fedora (beause I don’t think that’s a Trilby…?) – and, hey, that smirking at Morgana is NOT making Bradamante look very straight.

    (ambiguous Bradamante is my favorite anyway)

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          1. Isn’t that the weekend known as “Anik and thadieu celebrate their first soprano crush anniversary”, anyway? 😉 (no, I think that is the 18th/19th)

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          1. i like his voice. I tend to have problem with both the “blurriness” of Melisso and King of Scott, and i like the clarity in his voice in both. I think he can resolve the range well without making it into mud? and he has this facial expression with the nose and wrinkles on forehead 🙂

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          2. Really, the guy who suddenly looked to attractive in the trailer with Piau? (That was of course a scene with no Polinesso in sight or I woulnd’t have noticed)

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        1. yes, the energy is the key. Also, they put her in a dress that works with her energy here, something sober and a tad on the cool side, no pink frills.

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  6. this “conversation” in recit highlights the difference i think between SP’s use of color and Christine Rice’s “less use” of it.
    HELLLLO, Vorrei vendicarmi
    (sorry, i also notice, nice legs! (and tattoo) )

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    1. Could also have to do with register change in Prina happening profoundly lower than in Rice, that’s why Prina’s higher notes differ quite profoundly in timbre and heft from her lower. Rice sounds more uniform, still I think it is a sensitive interpretation.

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      1. Prina is also a unique case i how she works with register change – I was struck again by that yesterday (still cannot quite believe I actually heard her LIVE!), how she gains so much in expressiveness in not trying to make thins uniform and gloss over notes that do not respond as fully as others. Rice is really very good here and I find her Ruggiero very well thought out, not just going for one affect, but trying to connect the dots (a bit untypically for an Alden production, so some of this might be her own stance?)

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      2. no, i finally figure out what it is :-), by going back to re-listen to Kasarova. I think the key in these slow arias for me is the “pauses” and the pull into pp, very very short pauses, elongating a line / note, or making a line into short wave-like ripples instead of singing it all the way through in uniform density (even though perhaps that’s what written ?) Especially for Mi lusinga and Verdi prati, they (the shaping, pauses, elongation) signify “processing” of thoughts somehow in my head. Otherwise they always sound to me like one is simply singing it through, *especially* when they’re done with the same tone and speed all the way across certain important sections (phrases in the music).

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        1. That is a really good explanation. Will have to go back tonight and compare to see whether it adds up with my hearing, and then will have to compare a few more Ruggieros with this concept in mind.

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        2. Had to listen ot the Kasarova take again (of Mi lusinga) to reply to this. Yes, I can absolutely follow you regarding her delivery, also varying phrasing as the piece progresses, nicely displaying progress of thought. It’s an extremely skilled and stylish approach, yet, I also notice how for me, personally, it is a bit too much, in the sense of how it is a bit at odds with this piece being perfect in itself, not requiring so many “extras“. Just my very personal preference of course, but it also explains why I like Rice’s interpretation so much.
          Put differently, VK’s Mi lusinga gives me a more playful, extrovert impression while Rice’s is more thoughtful, better fitting my own perception of this piece.
          But in the end, both versions are very good and, it’s also the beauty of opera how the same character can have so many varieties in singing and acting approaches.
          (And I still need to get behind this strange mocking sensation I often get with VK, although it’s also connected very much to her acting I guess)

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          1. When I wrote my longer portrait entry on Kasarova, I called it the space between the music and the take on it, how she works with making conscious choices that are comments as much as embodiment.
            It’s not really something that goes with the more commonplace aesthetic “but the singer is supposed to disappear behind their role”. Personally, I enjoy it, but I can see how for others, it might be too much because it really is shifting things to another layer that can be perceived as a disturbance of flow.

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          2. Maybe that’s it. While I wouldn’t say I want singers to disappear behind their roles, I admit, I would probably enjoy VK’s Mi lusinga interpretation even more out of context, as a piece of it’s own.
            Her Sta nell’Ircana on the other hand works really well for me within the role, because it fits so well with her more extrovert approach.

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        1. It is interesting, isn’t it? I also always ask myself how you both can listen to music while working, while I can’t do it, either I wouldn’t get anything done (apart from stuff like laundry) or I wouldn’t notice the music at all when really caught up in a train of thoughts.

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          1. True, when I am really working on something thought-intensive, I don’t hear the music any longer. But if it’s admin emails or coordinating appointments or grading entrance-level exams, that leaves enough brain capacity to engage with music.

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      1. the dynamic range works for me, and the timbre is shaded a little differently through the registers, but perhaps that is it, that it’s the same “tone” for all the arias?

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        1. oh, please read my new reply above, it answers this question here :-). But since i’m the only test subject for my own brain, i can not exclude the possibility that my brain clearly clicks automatically with certain “voices”. i’m, however, still defending (myself) that it is more the delivery approach. Of course we’re still talking about whether it can be the *same* delivery but that my brain can only hear 1 due to the texture of the voice.

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  7. hand me the popcorn, I am in line for Gauvin burning down the stage.
    (I will have forgotten about the popcorn in a minute)

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      1. ja, i’m left a bit shaken!
        she has this way of phrasing that works just from her voice alone, you can see everything unfold. I’d even say the less she moves the more powerful the take is!
        (and on this note, i think you both call it “tone”? i’m not sure about terminology, but that’s the huge difference i hear in what Gauvin and SP have that C.Rice lacks at times.)

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        1. yes, she does not need movement, though I never get the impression she tries to do ‘voice early’ – she has a lot of physical presence, as in not being afraid to throw herself into a mood.
          (she also reminds me of a literature professor I once had whom I might have had a crush on)

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          1. yes, “presense”. and I remember noticing her use of vibrato. I really love how she used it here. Here comes Ombre Pallide’, recit, AND movements!!! and phrasing of recit!

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      1. the gorilla was a little lost on the coloratura, but from the high top notes at the end, I’d guess he’s not an early music singer.

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      1. No I mean the tour with Bicket I think, (SP later jumped for some concerts I think and posted fangirling pictures of herself with JDD, which was very cute I thought)

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    1. the continuo is really good, anyway!

      Also, lovely Verdi prati, very inwards. It’s also clean and even, and the timbre is very pleasant, and it’s intelligently phrase, too. – perhaps a little uniform for me?

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      1. yes, i was also looking for something to get out of uniformness, to take the mind to the next level. But that is small quibble, because she ‘s really good and convincing, both vocally and visually.

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        1. I am still impressed that she could bring across ALL the arias is well (though to be fair, she could put in a bit more energy because there were a lot of cuts). If I had to say whether she falls on the La boca vaga/Sta nell’Ircana side or the Mi lusinga/Verdi prati side,I’d really have to think.

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          1. Yes, that’s what really impresses me the most, because it points to a versatile singer who can portray (vocally) various aspects of the emotion spectrum.

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          2. I can absolutely not predict what that would turn out to be, but it would make for an interesting combination of energies (but who would be Bradamante, then?).

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          3. I think the energy was maybe consciously held back a bit for the interpretation of the melancholy dreamer? In Sta nell’Ircana it’s suddenly there (and making Bradamante smirk at him in delight).

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          4. yes, perhaps that’s the reason – perhaps there’s a break in the concept at that point? BEcause vocally, Sta nell’Ircana doesn’t work as a Dreamer aria, so Rice has to unpack more of her energy there, and that ends up changing the tame?

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          5. Yes, that’s what I meant, although I wouldn’t see it as a change of concept. It’s more the point when he starts to free himself from his dreamt up world and returning to reality. If this is really a psychosis, as hinted it by the psychiatric props, then it would make sense as the beginning of healing.
            Haha, you know what, I like our alternative interpretations better.

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          6. me, too.
            what irks me about concept stagings at times is that sometimes, we seem to give more thought to how a concept would pan out plausibly within the given plot than those actually paid to do it.
            I cannot blame a director for approaching a work intellectually rather than emotionally, I would probably expect that, but there are ways to do that without being overly dismissive of other aspects – and I have mixed feeling about this because I do like concepts hat are innovative even if they don’t add up 100% (what does, really?), but if I get attached to things, I enjoy if the story plausibility has also been considered.

            Healing Ruggiero it is, then – ending up with Bradamante 🙂

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          7. Storys not adding up 100% yes, I’m fine with it if it’s people not behaving in a 100% congruent way, that’s rather realistic isn’t it. But here, with Alden’s ending you feel you have been totally deceived regarding the character of Bradmante all the time, like a 180° turn. Although, again, in Alden’s defense, maybe Bradamante was not supposed to be anything other than a bourgeois housewife all the time and it’s just me/us who can’t be convinced of that fact. (Still, that concept is rather cheap I think)
            Actually, thadieus interpretation is really a lot more interesting because it’s about internal struggle without adding a clear element of „social circumstances“.

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          8. as a concept, “bourgeois housewife (who is oddly at ease in a suit)” isn’t really as sychologically deep as it could be.

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          9. or may be he was thinking of rescuting Alcina :D, we’re rather passionate in our dreamy world.

            But you are right, i do see it as him working himself up to break away from the dream world, only in the end to have doubts

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          10. it’s like the studies about the frequency with which people think about sex (I think it was done to prove a gender divide?) – something like every other minute? Sounds just about right for how much/often we think about Alcina, in one interpretation or another.

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  8. THAT is the Gauvin I had in mind when I put in the Currentzis and…
    heh. she is LITERALLY burning down the stage. Ombre Pallide may be her best one yet (but Sì so quella was also very nice)

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    1. there’s also “ma quando tornerai”, somehow these two goes hand-in-hand for me. And only a few Alcinas can handel both these and the slow-burning with balance, Gauvin being the prime candidate.

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    1. perhaps that’s it. Because the timbre is still kind of piercing and upper-range heavy, but the shrillness is barely noticeable now.

      (also, I’ve never seen Morgana beat Oronte in this aria, but whatever Freud deems fit…)

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        1. The chaise aria!!!!
          (but also the “ancora placar mi puoi” in this one… where I always expected Ruggiero to change their mind)

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  9. In unsurprising news, I have a thing for Gauvin here – this aria also showcases her very well.

    (though everyone else seems to be doing the hippy things while she does not…?)

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    1. read above 🙂 .
      (after her Vagaus, we all know she’d be *brilliant* at Ombre Pallide and Ma quando tornerai. and knowing her, we also know she’d be brilliant in Ah mio cor, otherwise known as brilliant as Alcina)

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          1. yup.

            Also, I didn’t expect “Sta nell’Ircana” to be THIS GOOD here – usually, when Verdi prati/mi lusinga are strong, this one is not, but here, it absolutely is!

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          2. i kind of expected it, because of the heft 🙂 , and her “attitude” , not “over-bragging” “over-macho”, but just enough strong back. and how she took the first 2 arias. As you said, there are sets “Verdi Prati /mi lusinga” versus “la bocca vaga/Di te mi rido/Sta nell’ircana. Same with the sets for Alcina

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          3. yes. the heft really makes the difference – allows her to take it on more relaxed, too (Sta nell’Ircana).

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  10. Welllll, that is certainly one way to get onesel fueled for “St nell’Ircana”.

    (Rice also does this one well, she really managed to find a working approach for all of them – none too whiny or too weak, none to strong)

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    1. Absolutely no complaints from my side (btw. just noticed that the box is apparently supposed to contain a standardized psychometric test, but no wonder it took me that many rewatches to notice that)

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        1. would he imagine a little homemaker to settle down with while also dreaming of some overpowering femme fatale in black negliges?

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      1. ps- here, the slow burning aria, i’d say her “movement” is not as strong. Also, I think this whole take, Ah mio cor and now this, both taken “faster” and stronger. So this gives quite a different feeling.. oh, nice ornament by Gauvin to start the 2nd A.. i’ll need to re-watch again because i jsut can’t get scotch and chaise out of my head…

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        1. me too – the speed make a difference, also the whole take as in not being from Alcina’s POV and about her heartbreak, but more about Ruggiero and Bradamante? But both those slow burners come across angrier, not as crushingly heartbroken.

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    1. i’m sort of interpreting it as Bradamante trying out the traditional thing.. while Alcina goes off with whatever available next, and Ruggiero not over Alcina yet..
      BUT WAIT A MINUTE! that trio is too short!

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    1. well, so Ruggiero got married but then he snuck off to the holodeck to escape bourgeois triviality, and Alcina is doing her best Tanhäuser Venus saying “I knew it, welcome back.”?

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          1. heading towards a nightcap – but since that one is under wraps, I will have to watch my downloaded copy of it.

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  11. I think I will have to watch this a few more times to see whether some more things add up (with Alden, they might, or they might not). Interesting to get it from a Ruggiero perspective, but I think it creates more distance to Alcina as a role/identification point.

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  12. that was very nice!! As Anik said, i might need to go back for another look (at some other time.. somehow i don’t feel as deeply connected (on emotional level). Clearly still hung over.. this is like an avalanche of a reminder.

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  13. I really don’t like the ending, it seems somewhat cheap to me and while the middle and pre-final parts had real emotional depth this is somewhat diminishing everything. And the overdoing the “traditional” could be fun but does not fit here.

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    1. yes, thanks for joining. I will also have to rewatch it. i think the staging can be a bit too busy at time and it takes away the “quietness” and reflection within the arias.
      (and i was constantly having flashback to Vienna..)

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      1. It was a pleasure, and the opera felt really short (again)! Thank you for company (and thanks Anik for the link).
        Good night! (or whatever time of day it is…)

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      1. 😀 Right, didn’t you marry one? And singers with a an involvement/commitment to social and political causes, and not keeping quiet about it… absolute keepers.

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    1. So, in summary, we would not just gladly watch her in another role, we would also invite her dinner to discuss climate change and women in science?

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  14. I’m still choking on the ending after last night. I think I had watched that only one time before and then blocked it out. I guess from the director’s perspective it would hint at Ruggiero’s dream world being the better variety, saving him from approaching conformist life (is this all 1950s?) and the ending being a kind of sad defeat of his free spirit. As such, the production would make sense, (if you leave aside that in traditionalist settings it’s usually the women who have to suffer much more from traditionalist expectations than men).
    So, maybe the problem spoiling the director’s concept in my personal view is really just Ruggiero and Bradamante being to convincing together in the middle parts, such that you wish for them to escape Alcina’s world together which is very hard to intergrate with the ending.
    Still, here’s my version: Bradamante had to ditch the suit and act really 1950s housewifey only to convince psychiatrists to release Ruggiero from dubious clinic (of course his psychosis had nothing whatsoever to do with any previous relationship problems). They flee from psychiatry, Bradamante will burn the housewife attire, as suggested by you, thadieu, and they will challenge family-home neighbourhood together 🙂
    (Could not come up with a version that would integrate heartbroken Alcina, sorry, I agree that this production is rather weak at that aspect).

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    1. here’s a (fragmented, even disturbing?, i spent the day protesting so a bit out of depth in thinking 🙂 ) idea: Ruggiero was looking for a feminine partner and Bradamante is transitioning into male. Ruggiero just couldn’t cope with it, and while Bradamante “tried” out the feminine take it is not who “he” identifies with. So this is not finished yet, whether Ruggiero will be able to sustain the mindset of supporting his partner or will eventually accept he can not do it and split. I might be able to even put Alcina’s “Ah mio cor” into this context, projecting his heartache and mourning the lost of his own heart / direction / Bradamante.

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      1. Oh, that idea would work surprisingly well for many of the scenes, although I’d really like a happy end for those two! (but wouldn’t Bradamante have enjoyed dancing with Morgana and the chance to show of his strength more?)

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        1. oh, good point – would depend on how Morgana perceives Bradamante, and at what point in their transition/self-journey Bradamante is? And if Bradamante really is invested in Ruggiero, perhaps they reject Morgana simply because she is not Ruggiero, not because of her gender? (I also think that this burlesque Morgana would be poly either way). And if Ruggiero gets his act together, there might me a happy-end in store for you, too.

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          1. OK, I’m fine with it then (but can Ruggiero really “get” more flexible when he has clear preferences?) . Actually I’m fine with everything that is a concept, because the more I think about it, the more I miss a clear concept here, apart from the (interesting) basic idea, but that’s somehow not enough. And I agree, probably a lot of the emotional depth is brought in by the singers themselves.

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          2. perhaps he needs to figure out that his preference is really Bradamante, and not some superficial staging of gender, and needs to work through ideas impressed on him by convention? (free-styling here, but why not)

            This “basic idea” thing is an impression I had before with Alden – that there is one idea you can see, but it is less about consistent characterization.

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          3. somehow i kept having in head the idea also that Bradamante will first transition, *then* Ruggiero would transition! But I still have a vibe that even after transitioning Ruggiero would still crave for someone like Alcina…

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        2. but wouldn’t Bradamante have enjoyed dancing with Morgana and the chance to show of his strength more?

          well, Morgana insisted on leading, so Bradamante flexed the muscles and carried her off the stage 😉 . But since Bradamante was pulling out all stops to try to keep Ruggiero, i could see why (s)he was not exactly into Morgana (yet).

          I have to say i *realllllly* enjoyed the pairing of SP and C.Rice here, because of SP’s take on the female role, and yet reflects so much of “i’m ready to carry you off”, it gives a very interesting appearance, equal in stance / balance. In many instances one could even say Bradamante was strong while Ruggiero was more flailing with his mind / not sure what he wants / who he is.

          Though i haven’t seen this again, am still having a nice image of C.Rice with that little liner mustache. I never knew of her before, but she left a very strong impression on me. I’d say since VK in 2010, C.Rice is the first Ruggiero who is very convincing for me, fitting the role and the vocal portrayal. I’d fly in for sure to hear her sing Ruggiero if she’s ever paired with you-know-who as Alcina :-). (But really, she’s the best Ruggiero i’ve seen since VK for me. My minor “comparison” with VK’s vocal expression was simply sort of trying to figure out more things for me, as i tried to explain way above. but her interpretation alone worked so well, esp. now with my theory of the staging for my head.)

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          1. yes, the balance is great here, how strenght is displayed independent of gender.
            And while I also really enjyos Beauomnt’s more uniform Ruggiero, Rice is really impressive here in how she manages all the arias, and manages them well.

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          2. But didn’t you say you found CR a bit to uniform? I agree, Beaumont is VERY straightforward, a bit too much so for me, while the voice itself is really pleasant (more a hero Ruggiero I’d say). The more I listen to CR the more distinguished I find her performance with regard to subtle colour changes and overall differences of mood between arias.
            (Sorry for going on about it, you know how obsessive I can be with regard to voices)

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          3. I think you’ll send me into another relisten, and I still need to write out my Silla review!
            a bit uniform in that because she covered all arias well, she perhaps drew them into a spectrum where they were more similar on color (as you said, more work with small nuance, which seems to be the theme of the week!) – other than with singers who all onto spectrum where they can do 2-3 well and can give it close to 100% an but don’t really make it past 50% on the other 3-4.

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          4. Pairing SP/ CR, yes absolutely agree and am currently halfway into another re-watch… The only thing a bit disconcerting for me in SP’s role portrayal are really the elements that were likely added to bring out the character of „housewife-Bradamante“, like making a face at being approached by Morgana, or in the „stripping scene“. When watching this the first times I thought it was SP overcompensating her ease in the male role, but in relation to the ending it’s really more likely that this was just what the director asked for Bradamante in line with his concept.
            Interestingly, in the scenes with Ruggiero there is nearly nothing of that overdone „feminine“ body language (with the exception of the ending). Instead, as you both said, we see a truly strong woman, at ease in the suit as well as in the dress, ready to fight for her partner while truly heartbroken at being rejected (this was sadly diminished in the ending, where you got the impression her only goal is to get him to the altar, no matter what his feelings are). And it really is independent of gender, I see that more clearly now, also with Anik’s comment on „coded behaviour“ in mind.
            And Ruggiero/Bradamante working so well together in their common scenes, despite the weird staging concept, makes me think of how we discussed a while ago about singers sometimes just striving for what makes sense for a scene and in reaction to their stage partner (even if this is subconsciously done).
            With CR we have talked most about her vocal performance so far, which really is excellent (if we all say that, independently of individual voice type preferences that speaks for itself I think?) but I also agree, it is a moving role portrayal, especially for this more thoughtful Ruggiero .
            Btw. I don’t mind Prina overdoing „feminine-coded“ behaviour in general, I thought her Clarice was fun (even if that’s not really my cup of tea).

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          5. after seeing her glampunk femme look for Silla this past week (and that was for a trouser role), I don’t think I’d mind any of her portrayals.

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          6. The difference may be that the singer, in this case, deal with the axis of emotionality, and it is something that really echoes in your descriptions, and in your own viewing of the production – and it appears to me that that is an level that Alden, as a director, is not interested in. Which, to a degree, understandable: he may want to raise issues more than have people identify with characters or emotions.
            But opera deals in emotions, and there would have been ways to bring the same points across (go more into the doubts of the protagonists, have the end be a size smaller, don’t allow for a deep connection between R/B) without such a feeling of discontinuity in the end.

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          7. Yes, yes, thank you. It may not be a 100% fitting comparison, but to me it seems a bit like Booker price versus what is regarded as “valuable” literature in Germany. Booker price is not afraid of including literature that primarily deals with emotions (and that people actually like to read), while the latter is often about educating people, mirroring society to bring people to a new understanding and that’s valid, sure, but often just not something you like to get invested in if you don’t have to.

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          8. @B minor mass: Who is KG? CR is scheduled for performances 2nd-4th Febr. according to the website? you may have to go and hear it again then 🙂

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          9. Speaking of which: would you like to choose the Saturday program? I’m still working on downsizing my Cendrillon DVD to DB it, so that’ll likely be another week. We could do the Stuttgart Alcina, of course, but if you wanted some ACA or MP (*cough*) or whatever favorite…

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          10. If we want hardcore regie, we could do the Herheim Rusalka. If we want fairytale with two girls, I can try to hurry with the Cendrillon… ACA; I recently saw a bit of her Handel Rodelinda… we can settle on something tomorrow.

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          11. back, with a list, not in any pref order, just listing.., and i saw you already caught on to one on my list, and i’m catching on to one on your list 🙂
            (1) Handël’s Agrippina, Brussels 2000 (ACA, R.Joshua, M.Ernman, R.Jacobs)
            (2) Handël’s Rodelinda, Glyndebourne, ACA in killer dress and *killer* singing skill, a CT i can handel (A.Scholl)
            (3) Tancredi, D.Tankova & D.Barcellona
            (4) Herheim Rusalka, MP
            (5) JDD’s Capuleti in Zürich
            (6) VK’s Orphée in _the_ shirt
            (7) Stuttgart’s Alcina

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          12. I came to the same conclusion! Not sure I would deal with the 1930s aesthetics of Rodelinda so well right now. So, Agrippina! 🙂 Is it online or do we need to start the WS delivery chain?

            >

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          13. no no, i got her confused with CR 😉 . i went searching for both their calendars after this Alcina.. K.Gauvin is singing at the Boston early music festival this coming June. and you’re right, CR. is singing at Symphony Hall now.

            I’ve been sitting the last 4 days wishing she was our Ruggiero in Wien…

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          14. I’m trying to picture this and I absolutely cannot foretell how that would go. Some kind of well, but which? Would the chemistry work when it’s this Ruggiero, who is more stuck in his own world, and would heartbroken Alcina be able to feed of that? Or would it be another Ruggiero?

            (next season we’re all digging tunnel to Wigmore Hall, I guess – Hallenberg, Invernizzi, Piau, Prina with a residence… also DiDonato…)

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          15. and 1..5 km to ROH in the other direction. Needless to say it was both the most shabby as well as most overpriced flat I’ve ever lived in (if you can call it a flat), but so worth it (more sighing).

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    2. In that case, Anik will volunteer to buy this Alcina a drink or two and chat about setting stages aflame, while thadieu will keep the flutist entertained. 😉

      I recognize that I wasn’t as emotionally invested in this production, but you are right in that Bradamante and Ruggiero comes across here in large parts as honestly striving for a connection, and the sort of dismissive commentary in the end takes that back. The somewhat distanced commentary, and the jumping back and forth between very poignant scenes, and then again creating distance, is something I find very typical for Alden overall and it is a point that always keeps me from connecting to his works emotionally (which, arguably, may not be his intention, either), even if there are singers who work on that level for me.

      >

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      1. “which, arguably, may not be his intention, either”, maybe, but that’s a purely intellectual argument….

        …Was just about to start a lengthy rant about cynical staging approaches, then heard the duet and got off track. As long as the singers bring across the emotion I’m already happy, but still, to think of how many productions I have left with a slightly sour taste because the director had to show off their edginess and smartness in the ending instead of just letting it be.

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