Liveblog Forecast: Semiramide Me

Uncasual reminder that we have a high-octane White Shirt Liveblog Date com Feb. 26th, 5 p.m. (UTC+1)

Semiramide is judging you.png

#SemiramideIsJudgingYouAndICannotWait

#That’sHowYouWearAnOversizedGoldenHairpieceBTW

I can assyre you that I am no no way, at all, calm or collected about this. – 17 Days until Double Mezzo Glory in HD!

The opening night, hwoever, is this upcoming Sunday, Feb. 12th, and will be broadcast live in audio on BR Klassik (livestream via the bar at the bottom of the page) – the show starts at 6 p.m. (UTC+1). Production info and interviews as of 5:30 p.m.

(also, @OperaLab just asked for captions, if you’re on Twitter:)

(this was mine:)

(but it’s probably only funny if you are aware of this. I particularly recommend the original entry of the Netherlands, and the one of Switzerland.)

76 thoughts on “Liveblog Forecast: Semiramide Me”

    1. well, we all know where YOU will be! (you may have to get a temporary Twitter account for that, our you’ll get to comment live on the liveblog thread From Da Haus!)

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        1. We’ll take a selfie with the program book in front of your face, with the simple caption of #Aaaaaaaaah! 😉 (Just kidding, in house first, we can always compare notes in the days to follow)

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            1. There’ll definitely be impressions to share and discuss afterwards. Ehm, thadieu you have this “machine” don’t you, maybe you could switch it on during the live stream? :-))

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            2. i will try to! am on travel on that exact date, an oversight on my scheduling.. the good news is i will be in California where we are 9hrs behind, but it is a long opera! and i might need to turn things off to catch my flight. anyone with a mac and would like a tutorial from me on how to switch the machine on?

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            3. i have to say though, that i uninstall every mac-related thing possible and use almost exclusively only the terminal to run commands like in ubuntu :-). the major diff is the ability to use adobe illustrator which is a must for producing scientific figures, and the fact i can just run it in parallel with terminals. that, and the battery life 🙂

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            4. It probably should have been a backslash in there… Not that I know anything substantial about coding or scripts or command lines, MS DOS or anywhere, but there are about 5 commands I know, and one of them is ip_config.

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            5. I’ll throw that into discussion next time 🙂 (actually I have windows installed in parallel because I insisted on that for office use which is a must in my area)

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            6. same here, or dealing with publishers is such a pain when it comes to paper formatting. Which is what I should be doing right now.

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            7. okay, that’s…. true. (I always say I’ll switch to Linux eventually, and it will probably happen when I lose my access to all this Mac world when my contract runs out)

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            8. i will be your consultant for 1 yr, if it helps with the switch ;-). My younger sister had fun with it. it’s true though that MSwords and collaborating with coauthors… i am alsways maneuvering “tex to word” as well if i am the first author…

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            9. 🙂
              sadly it doesn’t work on ubuntu, though i did spend a whole weekend on that project once. You can read in details here in the “comment” section, how i tested the various tools and operating systems, and ended up using now a $20 software for mac.. it’s quite possible there’s an equivalence for PC but i don’t have one to try out..

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            10. Mac is only at the office, but perhaps I have to head in on a Sunday “Yes, Mr. Security Guard, like the people from Biochemistry Dpt., I have an important, uh, experiment to run. Right now. Today. Must be at 5 p.m. absolutely…”

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            11. Darn – then I’d have to talk to our IT person: “yes, my current project needs digital recording… From Bayerische Staatsoper… Because, uh… Assyrian Pottery… Of Assyrian Queens… And the cultural significance of clay industry… As linked to vocal ornaments? Could you please just install this?!”

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            12. Towards the Adhesive Properties of Double-Mezzo Ligations in a High-Soundspace Environment: A Case Study in Assyrian Field Research

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            13. 😀 thanks! I’m sure we can add in some aspect of Affective Policies or related field to make room for your branch.

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            14. Hmm, thinking about it, that would fall in the area of forensic psychiatry. Killing husband, then attempting relationship with own son? Interesting, how we usually don’t see such stuff in it’s full dimension when part of a (historic) opera plot. I’m really curious on that aspect in Alden’s staging, it seems he attempts to set it in a somewhat modern context of different totalitarian regimes? Let’s see if he addresses the more personal implications. Here’s another picture:
              http://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/musiktheater-macht-durch-mord-1.3370122

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            15. It’s Alden?!
              He can be good with the political and the pathopsychology aspects – but with the Madrid Alcina fresh in mind, I worry a bit when it comes to the interpersonal relations and the individual psychologies (although that’s something DiDonato thrives and that may simply be there when she is there)
              oh, and just for “DAMN, DiDonato is looking great” reasons:

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            16. With the star power, I would be very surprised if it didn’t turn up at the magic place or the faraway place. But better safe than sorry!

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  1. wish i could join in but the parents are arriving in just a couple of hours. i look forward to reading the comments, because they’re just as good.

    JDD for the WIN, holy cow. I hope there’s video of this at some point.

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    1. The Munich livestreams, at least the more popular ones (still looking for Frau ohne Schatten with Pieczonka!) tend to appear after a little while 😉

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  2. If Something needs Doing and macs are in short supply in the community, feel free to send me some instructions. I’m not the most tech savvy person ever but I’ll likely be here icing my knee for the weekend, with nothing to do but binge-watch operas on youtube and dig into the Books For When You Are In Traction tbr.

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            1. Thanks to Stray, i now currently listening to the radio broadcast. I quite like how lean the orchestra is! the choir is as muddy as ever. may be they make it their mission to always sound so muddy. Oh WOW, here comes a wwwwwwarm Semirade!! i looooove how her music enters, right after the bass.. (and we remember green-ness coming off the ladder…). wow. I wonder if they wear mic? (oh, this is a radio broadcast, how do they normally do it? mount microphones hanging in space? I’d say the voices are somehow a bit distant.. more distant than the orchestra.

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            2. Ah, just seeing this now, so you’re set. Good! Am still debating whether I want to go fresh into the vid livestream or not, but whom am I kidding, I’ll have this running as soon as I enter my office. Not sure about mics – whether they have a fixed set, with all their radio broadcasts, or whether they tape the singers?

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            3. FF was superfast, I have a DBox Link I can share as soon aus I get to the office, if you’re still without an audio file by then.

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            4. i have to say i really miss Zedda 🙂 . something about the pace.. and perhaps getting used again to the style. So i think it’s a win-win for you to listen first to readjust as well? or perhaps you don’t get affect as I do.. after all, i was indeed camping for *months* on green.. but in my defense i really like the take in Brussels by Zedda too, with Tankova and Podles.

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            5. yes, I do believe that a lot of the magic there really came from Zedda channeling it all (even with voices certainly less Rossinian than those of last night!)

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        1. It sounds like ambient mics, it’s a bit too “live” for body mics alone, and there is a lot of extra noise body mics tend to screen out (vehement score-page turning! and possibly the most discreet prompter ever recorded…)

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  3. “Killing husband, then attempting relationship with own son? Interesting, how we usually don’t see such stuff in its full dimension when part of a (historic) opera plot.” (Agathe, above) — Very glad to see this point made. It bears constantly on the effect of productions in radically altered contexts, for audiences whose education is different from that of the original audiences. An EU Mitridate, for example, loses touch with the character known to Mozart’s audience as the organizer of the “Asiatic Vespers.” What presents itself as heightened engagement in fact often feels like a reduction, depending on one’s point of view.

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    1. and so much of staging it is trying to pin down a point of view that can work for many – of course Mitridate is a different character for people who know what mithridatization ist, but then, is that translatable? Should that be translated, so that it make not the same effect, but an effect within the affect culture and identity designs of the time where this is staged, often with public money, and where it is supposed to move people and make them grow?
      We do not have the same ears and minds any longer: we cannot pretend that we have. We can try to approach with knowledge (personal take: we always should), but we will never actually get there, which is not to say we should not try. But now how to balance the new and the old?

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  4. Afterthought: drama since the Renaissance acts, in many ways, to impose the family model (romantic love, emotional conflict, small casts) on history. As historical events become “objective correlatives” for the intended emotional effects, historical actuality grows detachable, and an audience not familiar with one context needs another set of images to help it feel the thrills it has paid for. Tension develops between groups of consumers, concerning the nature of the desired effects and the means to obtain them. Who would be a dramaturg? Easier perhaps in a few decades, when history will have become simply another fiction. Like Semiramis.

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    1. oh, fitting consumerism in there, that is a good angle, I will have to think more about that.

      Renaissance, or enlightenment? The entire surgeof “new” stage works as of the renaissance, are, of course, owed to a different handing of identity and emotion, but isn’t the bigger rift between the family/society macrocosm and the self an 18th century happening, when the macrocosm, and the larger narrative (History) falls away and all the stories are supposed to happen through the micro level of personal emotion?

      also, “…what one has paid for.” – is the loss of the macrocosm in parallel with the loss of the sacred?

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      1. Somebody did a book arguing that the church’s ban on pleasure was to keep a paying monopoly on pleasure: music, art, drama. I first thought about 17thC French drama, then backed up to Shakespeare: Prince Hal and his disappointed father Henry V, Lear and his daughters. Don’t know enough to say about Monteverdi, but Poppea seems more soap opera than politics.
        Rosen argues that the Enlightenment-to-Romantic/democratic change occurs when the valet can share the emotions previously privileged to his master. Not so much in Voltaire, and a clear criterion of opera seria that this not happen; Figaro to Tito is retrograde. Fidelio in the servants’ kitchen is another story.

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        1. The monopoly of pleasure, but also the overarching monopoly of transcendence: if every true enjoyment is linked to a church-governed afterlife, people depend on the church, and don’t gain I individual access to it through art or sex. A lot of it is counter-reformation and employing methods and forms previously damned for the church’s own gain. Rosen is right within the 18/19 ctry structure, but likely didn’t look into 17/16. Poppea is specific to Venice (same as Giasone, see post tomorrow), oligarchy with economical power – dealing with a world view different from both later seria, Enlightenment and Romanticism.

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  5. Wow, JDD’s colloratura, dizzying! And JDD and Barcellona sound so great together, somehow their timbre is somewhat similar? Also Brownlee is so much stronger than the tenor in the MP/AH video. It’s true, the choir does sound somewhat muffled, but who cares. I can’t find anything wrong about the conducting so far, but than, I don’t have that much of intense listening experience with the Zedda-take.

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  6. …currently at the scene the press got excited about, Semiramide and Assur in bed, but I can’t say I’m overly excited about Esposito though (voice-wise), so far. But I do believe JDD doesn’t miss this opportunity for really strong role characterization.

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    1. She’s really going for the “corrupted ruler with a shady past to boot”, lots of power dynamic (and so different from the green ‘victim of abuse and distraught and actually a sympathetic figure and much more a lover than a politician’ version):

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        1. 🙂 Oh, that was so much fun!

          With DiDonato’s Semiramide, I would expect her to poison the cheesecake in further scheming (though she might have picked up that whole mithridatization thing).

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          1. (meanwhile, i also admit i miss mustard.. and am i correct the role sits just low for DB ? i don’t recall AH hitting her passaggio just there.) Also, just as Agathe says, JDD’s and DB’s colors are very similar.
            (back to my comment about JDD’s voice sounds a bit distant: i think her color, being that of a mezzo, is buried a bit behind the orchestra & the bass during that power it bed.. as if she’s singing standing way in the back of the stage… [more green image of course, including boxes and flexing].. )

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            1. by vocation, Barcellona is much more the typical belcanto mezzo – broader tone, bit more dramatic, darker timbre, denser and more powerful sound production… And she does the Malcolms and Adalgisas and Tancredis and Sigismondos, and Arsace is similar in range and style. Hm.

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  7. Hihi, did you see the trailer? (On the Bayerische Staatoper fb account). I don’t expect too much from this production staging-wise after the last Alden productions I saw and from the press opinions on this, but these costumes do have some fun appeal (this Robin hood gear on Barcellona, chuckle). And it seems from the trailer individual singing-acting might safe a lot!

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    1. That is one “Robin Hood dating the Evil Queen” scenario I can get behind.
      On the Alden front, I’m pretty much au par with your expectations – there’ll likely be a solid overarch, and then the individual psychology will come from the singers.
      Actual question: who wears the Gorilla costume this time and gets the banana? 😉

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  8. Just read a review from a major German newspaper (SZ) whose basic point was: DiDonato is very good but everything else (role portrayals, staging, everything) is pretty lame, mainly because the opera itself is outdated and the music is too jolly for the serious topic. Maybe it’s a valid point of view (and controversials can be fun), still I would have wished for a much more differentiated view on this. Seriously Anik, really no interest in commercial journalism to improve things there?

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    1. if I don’t get tenure, ask me again 😉

      Though I don’t think I’d be conservative enough for the SZ, and really, if someone understands so little of pre-romanticist music to deem Rossini outdated and “jolly” (hello, historically different model of affect staging?!), I don’t think I’d have much of a place there.
      Looking forward to making up our own minds on Sunday. Among lots of fangirling, too.

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