Through Geschwitz’s Lorgnette: “Giasone” from Geneva

[So, on a scale from one to ten, how straight does this image look to you, with 1 being narrow naysay, and 10 being unicorns galopping across a rainbow?
If you said 12, then we’re in for a lovely reading of Cavalli’s “Giasone”, with the subheaders #PerfectlyPoly and #KeepYourBinaryOutOfMyBaroque.
– Mariana Flores (Alinda) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

Le Grand Théâtre de Genéve did not just put on that Petibon “Manon” this season, or Delphine Galou in a white suit in “Orfeo”, no, they went and had Serena Sinigaglia stage Cavalli’s “Giasone”, and if the director got one thing right, it is the relaxed pre-19th century approach to sensuality and sexuality as a nuanced hub of possibilities that can not be narrowed down to ideological boxes.
(this is not a review. this is just libretto queering in screencaps)
(all caps are tied in from Photobucket and will expand upon clicking. In case you need a closer look. For research.)

Giasone02.jpg

This is Giasone (Valer Sabadus, doing his best Imogen Stubbs). This is actually how he is introduced, with a languid air about his busy love life – queue “Delizie contente”.
He has sets of twins with two different women as a result, so it is understandable he has lost count and cannot remember with whom he has which kids, or not. Currently, he is very involved with Medea (Kristina Hammarström), but he is also kind of married to Isifile (Kristina Mkhitaryan). In between, he also has to get up briefly and go get The Golden Fleece, which is a far better pun than I could ever come up with.
Giasone can’t quite make up his mind about whom he wants  most, so he is making out with everyone under the sun instead. Actually, let me sum up the entire opera as more or less ‘everyone is getting it on with everyone, thank you, Venice’.

Woud you like proof?

Hercules The Beefy (Alexander Milev) complains about Giasone spending too much time getting laid, so Giasone all but adds him to his list:

pretendingtobestraightrequiresfarmorenergythanIamwillingtospendrightnow_zpszdttb1d1.PNG

[Baroque Opera, or ‘pretending to be straight is requiring far more energy than I am willing to spare right now’: #GreekMythologyBoyslash, which was an AO3 category in Antiquitiy, even before there ever was AO3.
– Ercole (Alexander Milev) and Giasone (Valer Sabadus) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017.]

Medea sends her old servant Delfa (Dominique Visse) out to Giasone to scare him off, yet Giasone lets her waltz him around instead:

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[Waltzing Giasone!
– Giasone (Valer Sabadus) and happy Delfa (Dominique Visse) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

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[Also, this Giasone has actually taken a waltz class – look at this nice open-up-fall-back promenade figure! The lady in the background spotlight, btw, is Medea. We will get to Medea in a bit (yes, look for those smelling salts meanwhile because Hammarström).
– Giasone (Valer Sabadus), Delfa (Dominique Visse) and Medea (Kristina Hammarström) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

Delfa2_zpsnpcejfhy.JPG

[Delfa, Queen of Snark and Contestant For A Slot On Golden Girls – The Opera, is Dominique Visse, following the unwritten rule of “no early 17th century opera production is complete until it has Dominique Visse in skirts”. He does ‘Gruberova meets Norma Desmond in the attic meets the spirit of Natalie Dessay’, and it’s his usual brand of glorious.
– Delfa (Dominique Visse) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

So… this is Medea:

Did I just get even gayer?.png

[— Did I just get even gayer? – Baroque Opera, or ‘pretending to be straight is requiring far more energy than I am willing to spare right now’.
Medea (Kristina Hammarström) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

And the production has even more elements that would delight any White Shirt heart. Look, it’s that 1930s Spice Girls Prequel, The Suffragettes:

TheSuffragettes1_zpsiyutbfpo.JPG

[Alinda (Mariana Flores) and friends, in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

And this is Isifile. She wears khakis, and she is more or less Grace Kelly in “Mogambo” to Medea’s Ava Gardner (and we all know how that movie should have ended). She spends most of the opera pining away for Giasone, even though she should clearly be dating Medea instead, who has more swagger anyway.

issifile1_zpscqml4kbb.JPG

[Jane has arrived and is not requiring Tarzan’s assistance, even though the handmaiden ™ is telling her to chill it a bit.
– Mariana Flores (Alinda) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

TheSuffragettes%20ft%20Amor%20and%20Issifile_zpsicqvc53m.JPG

[Jane Isifile also travels with her full-on girl posse for support on her expeditions. Props to Amore to the side, who can project even through that face mask.
– Grrrl Power, Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) and Mary Feminear (Amore) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

Meanwhile, at Casa Medea…

Medea2_zps2cohp80i.JPG

[So… who exactly is conquering whom here? – My current hypothesis is that putting Hammarström’s jawline on a stage (and allowing her to hold onto something) establishes an immediate power tide in her favor.
– Valer Sabadus (Giasone) and Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

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[“Please, no one believes this is a heteronomative hero’s tale, anyway, so would you hurry it up?” and other bedtime tales told by Delfa to Medea’s twins.
–  Kristina Hammarström (Medea), Valer Sabadus (Giasone) and Dominique Visse (Delfa) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

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[Dominique Visse also stars as the lead in “Game of Murder Munchkin Thrones down Yellow Baroque Road” at some point.
– Dominique Visse (Eolo) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

But back to is Isifile. You remember Isifile? This one:

issifile1_zpscqml4kbb.JPG

[Mariana Flores (Alinda) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

Isifile has lots of feelings, all about Giasone (the guy who left her and their twins for Medea). Supposedly. Yet she surrounds herself with women, who are on the receving end of all of her feelings. Most of all her handmaiden, Alinda:

issifile3_zpszjr4ejcm.JPG

[The only one looking even remotely straight here is Alinda.
– Mariana Flores (Alinda) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

issifile4_zpsyveaa6jc.JPG

[Unable to change from khakis to nightgown on one’s own, and other excuses for proximity.
– Mariana Flores (Alinda) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

stillnotverystraight_zpsyektkwty.JPG

[…and there’s the classic, “tuck you in”. If it works in a Cargo Bay in the Delta Quadrant, it works everywhere.
– Mariana Flores (Alinda) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

issiful5_luluandmarthasayhi_zpsthpibmu2.JPG

[Lulu and Martha send their regards. Love the hat!
– Mariana Flores (Alinda) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

neversendamantodoawomansjob_zpsjkncsk4b.JPG

[“The pointy end goes into the other man.”
“Uh… can you say that again?”
*Oh dear, he cannot even handle a knife!*
– Valer Sabadus (Giasone) and Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

neversendaman2_zpscvfw1obj.JPG

[“What am I even doing here?” and other phrases running through  both Giasone’s and Medea’s minds at this point.
– Valer Sabadus (Giasone) and Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

Oh, Medea. Look at your choices (and look at your arms), then look at this:

issifilelostcount_zpssixrsrmt.JPG

[- Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

Look back at Giasone, Medea, and then look back here:

issifile6_zpscwchfrgh.JPG

[Isifile. Who’s currently single. And understands the perils of raising a set of twins on one’s own, while the other parent is off chasing skirts and shirts alike. Also surely has pockets to sheath a knife in her khakis. And I am convinced you can find more things in common than just your singers sharing a first name.
So… instead of both pining after an unreliable guy who would sleep with everyone from Ercole to Delfa instead of paying alimony, how about you two open a daycare center together?
– Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

Apropos further complications and men, Medea is also kind of married to Raúl Giménez (Egeo).

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[Yes, she can’t quite believe it, either.
(This is also the point where the Cappella Mediterranea (under Leonardo García Alarcón, in a version true to Early Baroque co-creating spirits) nearly climbs out of the pit and onto the stage with its swing energy.)
– Raúl Giménez (Egeo) and Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

09%20classic%20levels%20of%20WTF%20dude_zpsx389cwvv.JPG

[“Dude, WTF?” – I’m just here for  mezzos getting their epic eyeroll on. I could watch this All. Day. Long.
– Raúl Giménez (Egeo) and Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

03%20minnie_zpshbfx52ol.JPG

[Who says you need Puccini for this?! – Here, have some Hammarström with a gun, you’re welcome.
– Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

04%20tear%20down%20patriarchy_zpsrlfrpetp.JPG

[F*ck White Heteropatriarchy! (at least that’s what I think Medea is saying here)
– Raúl Giménez (Egeo), Kristina Hammarström (Medea) and Migran Agadzhanyan (Demo) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

05%20muscle_zpsao7qep5n.JPG

[There is also a slew of other guys whom I cannot really tell apart, except for Willard White who wins #BestDressed (and who could sell a “From Wotan To Giove: I Sing All The Bosses” memoir at this point). And it’s an evening with lots of arm action – just look at the lute number atop two actual athletes because hey we can do this, it’s Baroque.
– Migran Agadzhanyan (Demo), impressive athletes and Willard White (either Giove or Oreste at this point) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

10%20white%20tie_zpsvmn2uzfd.JPG

Willard White can really wear a tie and handkerchief. The end.
Willard White (still not sure whether Giove or Oreste at this point) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

11%20Dancing%20with%20Delfa_zpsvsfkq63r.JPG

[#DancingWithDelfa
#DelfaToTheRescue
– Dominique Visse (Delfa) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

12%20girl%20we%20have%20to%20talk%20about%20your%20choices_zpsxbdrqdcn.JPG

“Girl, we gotta talk about your life choices…”
– Kristina Hammarström (Medea) and Dominique Visse (Delfa) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

13%20can%20we%20say%20grasp_zpsnwocotf2.JPG

[“…because this is a waste of perfectly capable arms, I say.”
– Valer Sabadus (Giasone) and Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

13%20can%20we%20say%20grasp%20again_zpsap2l3gg3.JPG

[This image has no excuse except for assertive delts. (also titled, “When the comparative form of ‘bisexual’ is ‘triceptual'”) Hot damn.
– Valer Sabadus (Giasone) and Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

14%20shtick%20memorial_zpsaiyt4h0z.JPG

[Medea does some soul-searching (stick optional) in response.
– Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

15%20weiche%20wotan%20weiche_zpsj3csh4zv.JPG

[Medea briefly considers dumping everyone and applying to Bayreuth (#WeicheWotanWeiche), but there are no viole da gamba at Bayreuth, so no thanks.
– Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

16%20putting%20a%20ring%20on%20it_zpspzrzyupf.JPG

[Putting a (magic) ring on it? (#OhHiBradamante) – In this scenario, it is of course Medea who pops the question, and an overwhelmed Giasone who doesn’t quite know what to respond.
– Valer Sabadus (Giasone) and Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

17%20no%20clue%20but%20its%20gotta%20be%20baroque_zpsa2bewuut.JPG

[I have no clue what is going on here but #YayBaroque!
– Migran Agadzhanyan (Volano), Mary Feminear (Amore), Dominique Visse (Eolo) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

18%20imogen%20stubble%20and%20virginia%20woolf_zpsar8jay8h.JPG

[Imogen Stubble is now dating Virginia Woolf. The #WhiteShirts approve, just don’t ask me how we got here, I have no idea.
– Valer Sabadus (Giasone) and Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

19%20imogen%20and%20virginia%20II_zpsxqjpny7m.JPG

[Protective Stance in a Frock Instinct: carrying over from that time Bradamante dated Morgana?
– Valer Sabadus (Giasone) and Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

20%20cirginia%20by%20the%20sea%20with%20paisley_zpsoapknale.JPG

[Why you cannot expect me to think straight thoughts faced with Hammarström’s jawline: Exhibit A.
– Valer Sabadus (Giasone) and Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

21%20bring%20it%20on%20tone%20it%20down_zpsyymyqpko.JPG

[Isifile is bearing down on the British lovenest with the battle cry of “Forget Leonard, what about Vita?”, even though Alinda and everyone is telling her to tone it down a little. #ObviouslyGay.
– – Mariana Flores (Alinda) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) and The Suffragettes in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

22%20meet%20cute_zpsfra9jyvf.JPG

[#MeetCute.
– Kristina Hammarström (Medea), Dominique Visse (Delfa), Valer Sabadus (Giasone) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

23%20new%20options_zpsyq04vvdm.JPG

[“Wait… why didn’t anyone tell me The Other Woman looked like this? Giasone? That’s your other girlfriend? I’m also considering new options (Delfa? Is this an option? Why didn’t anyone tell me about this?!).”
– Kristina Hammarström (Medea) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

24%20dueling%20ladies_zpsq7x7fppw.JPG

[“Fine, Isifile, I’ll pretend to be jealous and to fail the Bechdel Test. I accept the duel challenge, if that’s your way of asking me out.” (PS. Will send back glove with letter and expect Christmas invite to your house.)
– Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

24%20voila%20les%20gars%20de%20la%20marine_zpsjtardump.JPG

[Voilà les gars de la marine. – Delfa shines a light.
Dominique Visse (Delfa) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

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[#BigSpoon
(Obviously.)
– Valer Sabadus (Giasone) and Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

26%20mad%20white%20shirt_zps6ozrz5lt.JPG

[Mad White Shirt. (Sweet youth, I pray you, chide a year together)
– Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

27%20can%20I%20buy%20you%20dinner_zps69zvma8b.JPG

[“Say…how about dinner, Medea? Just the two of us?”
– Valer Sabadus (Giasone), Kristina Hammarström (Medea) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

28%20well%20charge%20his%20card_zpsjhppkvlc.JPG

[“…we’ll charge his card. Reverse alimony. Though I am sure you are perfectly capable of hunting down your own dinner.”
– Valer Sabadus (Giasone), Kristina Hammarström (Medea) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

29%20most%20awkward%20threesome%20ever_zps1np0w3r9.JPG

[Most awkward threesome ever. (if you want to pull this off successfully: check with the people of “Alcina” for pointers)
– Valer Sabadus (Giasone), Kristina Hammarström (Medea) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

30%20I%20am%20assuming%20this%20is%20after%20dare%20night_zpsrct7ekhl.JPG

[I am assuming this is after the dinner date and Isifile has to pick up clothes torn off in haste for dessert.
– Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

31%20victorians%20with%20a%20farnwroth%20-%20it%20happens_zpsxbocfdp0.JPG

[Victorians getting calls on their Farnsworth. It happens.
– Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

32%20dear%20god%20send%20help%20-%20incoherent%20cap%20titling_zpsfkzgzsi6.JPG

[*incoherent noises*
Dear God. Send help.
– Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

33%20the%20tenor%20and%20I_zpsfrligvr9.JPG

[Medea is making up with Egeo. Or perhaps they’re simply agreeing to share their wardrobe from now on. #WhiteShirtsForever
– Raúl Giménez (Egeo) and Kristina Hammarström (Medea) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

34%20please%20dump%20him%20and%20come%20with%20me%20instead_zpswrykntni.JPG

[“Please dump that double-dealing Fleece Robber and run off with me instead!”
– Kristina Hammarström (Medea) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

35%20try%20to%20resist%20this%20shirt%20Issifile%20I%20dare%20you_zpsd7jmhze2.JPG

[Yeah, good luck in trying to resist that white shirt, Isifile.
– Kristina Hammarström (Medea) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

36%20just%20alternative%20facts_zpski5qkuhp.JPG

[Isifile and Giasone make up at this point, but, nah, that’s just alternative facts. That I choose to ignore.
– Valer Sabadus (Giasone) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

37%20actual%20happy%20end_zpsqsnzeny5.JPG

[Corroborating the queer version of events: this is what actually happens onstage right after Giasone is emotionally blackmailed into returning to Isifile.
– Kristina Hammarström (Medea), Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile), Amore (Mary Feminear) and others, in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

38%20acutal%20happy%20end%202_zpsnxbez7r8.JPG

[That’s right, for a proper happy end, you pull your girlfriend aside while the mannies take care of the offspring.
– Valer Sabadus (Giasone), Raúl Giménez (Egeo), Kristina Hammarström (Medea), Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) and choir, in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

39%20Cupid%20saying%20FINALLY_zpskbvkkxgk.JPG

[Look at Amore shouting “FINALLY!” at the sight of that hand-holding.
– Valer Sabadus (Giasone), Raúl Giménez (Egeo), Kristina Hammarström (Medea), Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile), Amore (Mary Feminear) and choir, in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

40%20duetting_zpsuhrpwo1n.JPG

[The final duet lines before the choir coda? They belong to these two.
#WhiteShirtWives
#IfHeCheatsOnYouJustMarryTheOtherWoman.
– Kristina Hammarström (Medea) and Kristina Mkhitaryan (Isifile) in Cavalli’s “Giasone”, Geneva 2017]

41%20the%20end_zpsslg5sxtv.JPG

The End.

(It’s still up on ARTE to rewatch in its entirety.)

16 thoughts on “Through Geschwitz’s Lorgnette: “Giasone” from Geneva”

    1. that’s just the official group photo from the newly opened daycare center, teaching staff of all genders included. Just focus on who gets those duet lines. 😉

      Like

  1. LOL, I don’t believe this! Best scene: Nannies taking care of the offspring. Also: awkward threesome 😀
    Should we put this on our list (maybe not so much of a punishment to have to watch this a second time for you?)

    Like

        1. ha, me too 🙂
          oh, btw, FF emailed me that as of the 22, Crébassa’s “Fantasio” should be on Culturebox – not sure of one-time-streaming or for a while longer on demand, but that must go on the list, right?

          Like

          1. Oh, thanks for alerting, that’s great! Since the time is convenient I’ll make sure to watch that live in case there is no recording (still don’t have a recording possibility yet).

            Like

            1. If thadieu could record it that would be great! (why does it never work to bring kids to bed earlier, even after time change it’s back to the usual habits very quickly at ours).

              Like

            1. thank you! I had heard about it, but forgotten to check or broadcasts – Lemieux and Spyres, interesting combination. Should be fierce energy!

              Like

  2. This write-up is phenomenal and your captions are, as always, The Best. I can’t believe how much work you put into these things. Bless.

    But I’m mostly stuck on 1) that cap of Imogen Stubbs (formative media, roots of my queer awakening!), and 2) your PUN – Imogen Stubble, OMG!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Formative performances! But have you seen the scene, that is exactly what Sabadus seems to be channeling (and I know he gets little attention in this post, but of course he sings beautifully, and his what-am-I-go-do-I-can’t-help-it artitude for the role is a good call).

      Thanks for the feedback, that justifies some of the hours that went into this (fun hours, though). 🙂

      >

      Like

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