The Munich 2017 “Semiramide” Liveblogging Thread

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Welcome to the White Shirt live comment thread for Rossini‘s “Semiramide” (2017. Actually LIVE!) from Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, staged by David Alden, with Michele Mariotti conducting.

Cast Listing aka Shortcut Invite to #DoubleMezzoGlory and undignified fangirling:

Semiramide – Joyce DiDonato
Arsace – Daniela Barcellona
Assur – Alex Esposito
Idreno – Lawrence Brownlee
Azema – Elsa Benoit
Oroe – Simone Alberghini
Mitrane – Galeano Salas
The Ghost of Nino – Igor Tsarkov

The production is streamed live via staatsoper.tv, no geoblocking or fees apply – thank you, Munich.

Libretto: Italian (pdf), English/Italian (pdf) – there might me subtitles available within the broadcast, too.

And now get out your bag of Ancient Assyrian Popcorn (and your tiara, if applicable) – after months of counting down to this, it’s finally happening!
(just don’t expect me to be very coherent tonight).

290 thoughts on “The Munich 2017 “Semiramide” Liveblogging Thread”

            1. issues here are minor, but there are still freezes of 1-3 seconds, an then forwarding like frame cutting.
              now the image is frozen

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            1. I think we are all wishing most fervently for that now *sigh*
              The first hour was a mess in Vienna, and there were small glitches throughout. Perhaps really server overload? JDD has a huge fanbase and how often do you get a Semiramide, let alone on that level?

              Liked by 1 person

  1. I probably should ration my energy, if I keep rocking out as I do right now to the overture, I will be in need of energy drnks before the break.

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    1. I really had to restrain myself not to move on my seat all the time (people next to me didn’t seem to belong to the hardcore fanbase and I had annoyed them before by getting on an empty seat in the middle to get away from under the balcony where the acoustic can be funny)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. …empty seats?! Perhaps someone got caught in a blizzard on the way in… or someone uninterested got the tickets as a gift? About the only options I can imagine, but good for you!

        >

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          1. Yes, it was sold out and those were really only two free seats so it must have been the blizzard theory. Still, it’s a pity BSO doesn’t have a last minute opportunity for people (like us) willing to line up for hours to get tickets. So if you are not very lucky with your ticket application you need to line up at a date months before the actual performance, not very fair to fans from abroad.

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            1. Though no last minute treasure like Vienna, it is not too bad, i know how that system works after fighting 5 times for tix for Romeo: same way you did, for standing room as well. it is true though that you can get very unlucky with uour assigned seats, but that’s mainly because the haus is very popular and normally sold out very quickly. but i can’t tell if there is an advantage or not if you live close by. Overall it has been the haus i have attented the most, 14 times i think, if not more. Only unsucessful time was trying to get tix for Anja Harteros first Il Trovatore run.

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            2. Interesting, I have been unsuccessful with the ticket application twice but was lucky to have local “connection” to go queueing the day box office sales opened. But maybe it’s easier if you apply for standing tickets, I haven’t tried that.

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    1. Noooooooes! I was so stoked for the JDD does Semiramide part of this, having recently watched the GSS version, but the orientalist-fantasy-appropriative-cliche-costuming I could see in the preview were rather off putting. I’m still stoked for future live bloging for the JDD & the quality performances, but I think there were better ways to do this visually, if they wanted to talk about totalitarianism in today’s political climate.

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      1. yes, plenty of iconographic material in the West’s own backyard. On one hand, not whitewashing Semiramide is great (Babylonia!), and JDD has always called her Middle Eastern when talking about the production, but the costuming, on the other hand felt to me as if on from a white-Western perspective.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My impression on Alden is he is doing such things without giving it much thought, maybe also thinking a bit of provocation is funny? Basically all characters were in quite overdone costumes. Still icky, I agree.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I could see that as a stance for the soloists – the overdoing – but it’s not consistent, particularly when it comes to the choir.

          >

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      1. so it must have been really, really good. (it’s not that he can’t pull off a turban with pearls. I just find that it reeks of appropriation)

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  2. Do you have subtitled version or are you so familiar with this opera you don’t need any? I’m switching between the two and it feels like there are more stuttering with the subtitles.

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            1. damn, so sorry. And so frustrating!
              Let’s hope there’ll be an unblemished copy online in a few days so we can schedule a proper liveblog? (when we are all there, perhaps after the Fantasio?)

              Liked by 2 people

    1. well, it’s better than getting nothing, but Agathe was clearly smarter in travelling there to watch it live without the Matrix filter. It’s kind of hard to get into the mood when it’s all mezzo interruptus all the time.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That could really have been the plan, he was displayed as quite naive in his well-naturedness, helplessly getting drawn into the politic-personal plotting. Maybe also another case of the singer displaying a strength the character was not supposed to have from the staging?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. He was doing a good job in general, just not as spectacular as JDD/DB/Brownlee. Maybe sometimes the interpretation could have been more differentiated in my view, he was mostly giving a lot of power to bring out the villain and sometimes less would have been more. Also, I guess I’m not over mustard,yet.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Mustard was really something. More layered and, uuh, colorful?

        I did enjoy Esposito more after the intermisson, especially his line work. And the mad scene was simply really good ‘scenery chewing’, as Twitter decided. #EspositoForLadyMacbeth

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        1. It’s not as if he is unattractive , also liked him in the trailer interview, it’s just that personally his voice doesn’t have that special spark for me. (but how many baritones have, maybe two or three in total, so not really his fault).

          Liked by 1 person

          1. As a dear, now 79-year-old friend once told me, “oh, Anik, you never get too old for that, there is no immunity with growing years.”

            >

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            1. Well, then it’s good to have a couch to rest the ageing bones on while swooning.
              But Semiramide is probably about our age, so NOT old, while Arsace may be around 20?

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    1. jeah, since my stream is not working well.. i’ve been having images in my head.. and was already this morning thinking what it would have been if we were streaming that live now…

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  3. AAAaaaah how JDD sings the bit after the oracle crashes the engagement party – softly, than guttural mad. I am so here for this.

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  4. don’t you just hate it when the ghosts of murdered/husbands crawl out of the wallpaper mosaique floor, and when they’re kind of White Privilege even when the rest of your production is kind of fashionable Middle Eastern decor?!

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    1. Yes, or was that meant as a kind of critique? In any case, that Trump/Karl Lagerfeld mixture was very strange and annoyingly distracting from the singing. Also, absolutely incomprehensible how Arsace can project on him as someone/some idea worth to murder for. This is really where putting this into a more or less “modern” perspective does not work.

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  5. The ghost doesn’t seem to have any useful information to offer which makes me wonder if he only a symbol of the disturbed mental state at the court (a bit like in HAmlet?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. good thought – I was kind of stymied by the menetekel stancing and the burning cities CGI that any Tito Act I finale will likely pull off better.

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  6. that “Io moro” by JDD right now – *faints*

    I also want to go over this again frame by frame for the acting (the staging, not so much – costuming/decor is bordering on icky, and some good psychological moments (Semiramide thinking about her kid, the energy with the maternal vibe between Semiramide and Assur) don’t make up for the cookie cutter “oh, evil politotheocracy” IMHO.

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      1. Really tried desperately to tune in to the blog in between making conversation and stuffing salmon sandwiches into my mouth without really tasting anything, but the site just wouldn’t load. Mood was great though from the curtains probably even better further up on the balconies where there seemed to be more JDD/Barcellona fans.

        Liked by 3 people

            1. what do you mean?! i spent many hours in standing rooms and can tell you in many details where the best locations are (for my ears though. Dehggi’s pref might be very different. )

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  7. So many fascinating moments already: the duet between two lovely different mezzos, the hymn-like a cappella bit, JDD looking so beautiful, majestic and dangerous…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, we haven’t mentioned him so far, I very much liked his conducting, very precise, light and sensitive. Would have liked to watch him more, if it hadn’t been for the massive on-stage distractions.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. oh, Arsace and his old room/mind space with the family pic and the little hobby horse: nice one, Alden. The individual psychology works much better than the overt polit vagueness.

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  9. usually I can do without that bit of tenor/soprano heteronormativity, but Brownlee is so good that I would wach it all over again.

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  10. meanwhile, Nino Ghost is channeling Agent Smith on the horrible CGI screen, are you kidding me?! Matrix did this better in 1999.

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  11. But boy does Mariotti ever get a permanent spot on my list after tonight. The orchestra has some magical moments. The celli right now in the Assur mad scene? Miiiiiiigthy fine music-making.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. and now they’re bringing in Kid Arsace with the pony again and just as I thought I’d get out of here without crying again. Haha, fat chance.

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      1. ah, so Assur and Semiramide had an affair to the point where little Arsace imagined them as his happy little family parents?

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    1. Thought about the ending , and I think everything points at Arsace somewhat knowingly killing Semiramide (even when tortured by it), also that he didn’t go and tried to help her, when she was reaching out to him afterwards, but seemingly fighting the urge to do so. Hmpf, another Alden ending…

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    1. That was me, cheering the loudest. Sorry, couldn’t tune in life as my phone didn’t have a connection. Aaaah, I still can’t believe this happened. Greeting from Munich, looking forward to reading all your comments tomorrow!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. thank you for cheering on our behalf! Can’t wait for your in house impressions!
        Have a good night – if you can sleep after that! (I’m still jumping around the apartment on adrenaline…)

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            1. we’re gonna have to work on your capturing tech in the next meeting 😉 . Stray and I were at it since 6.30am my time! all excited.. at least now Stray has a stable way to capture stream.
              Remember that stream i captured from La Monnaie? I guess they’re doing a better job for some reason? even stream from TCE seems ok.. but i’ve never had a successful coherent watch from Munich.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. TCE runs via ARTE, right? So those are the big guns anyway. My guess is that the Munich ones are so wildly popular that there’s bandwith issues? In between all the Harteros/Kaufmann and DiDonato, that might be a reason. An Monnaie doesn’t livestream, does it? They put up a video after the run, but of course since they broadcast all their shows that way (and we cannot thank them enough for it), they have far more practice. And they may not pull in as much crowd as the bigger Munich ones? I never had issues to this extent with a Munich stream before.

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            3. wait, since 6:30???
              And yes, we will absolutely work on my capturing skills. (wouldn’t have helped us this time, though, since it was pretty bad on my end, too)

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            4. 🙂 . green is running here… i needed some visuals to keep work going.. i think they should really re-think how they do their streaming.. this idea of “once, live” only works if you can really see it, but if 2/3 of the globe can’t see then it’s not really livestream for all.. and it can’t hurt opera.. imagine how much richer we’d have been with Harteros Trovatore and VK Romeo on their own channel, and now with JDD…

              Liked by 1 person

    1. it’s among the undeservedly not as popular ones – an absolute favorite (and not just for the two mezzos and the trouser role, although that bit sure does not hurt)

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      1. The last time I saw this opera was the Met broadcast with Marilyn Horne. I was taping it in absentia, and the performance ran five minutes longer than the tape (#OldSkoolProblems), so I never did find out how it ended 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Well, thank you for hosting and good night, Anik! It’s so rewarding to watch operas with others and I get so much more out of the music that way (especially when it’s new to me).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you for stopping by, Anna! It would have been so much less fun watching it all on my own here.
      good night to you, too!

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      1. Thanks so much – I enjoyed all the comments – too bad the feed was so bad. Will anyone in the US be going to Kansas City to see JDD in April?? I’ll be flying in from LA and it would be great to meet up with some of her fans and White Shirt fans.

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  14. Happy to be able to make a contribution after only lurking for quite a while. Managed to record a decent copy without hickups. Only part of the ouverture is missing because I was struggling with unfamiliar software. Shall try to upload this monster on youtube tomorrow. With regards from Vienna.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. thank you so much!!!
      And welcome aboard.

      WordPress messed with your comments; I apologize, sometimes the program makes strange choices. It should be sorted out now, I hope.
      I found three comments in the spam queue without any reason.; the one with the video link (which goes to blank) I’ve kept offline, to not cause you trouble – this one and the other should be visible. Again, thank you so much for doing this, partcularly for the U.S. folks whose stream was completely botched up.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. just announcing i’m available anytime starting Wed this week.. and can’t resist so currently inhaling.. now at “Bel raggio..” and having goosebumps.. many many thanks again to our video capturer. ABSOLUTELY fantastic sound capture!!!
    (and yes, i’ll likely watch this again when we liveblog.. whenever that is 🙂 )

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    1. yes, the Babylonian deities have listened to the White Shirt pleas and have sent a Capture Commander who has made a copy (with really good sound) available via YT. THANK YOU, kind stranger.

      … You’ll have to do some digging to get there (name is of course scrambled for safety reasons), but we’ll gladly point any white shirt in the right direction.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. if you mean my attempt, that has been removed and I shall write a complant to them. If they were not able to produce a functioning stream – which left a lot of opera lovers frustrated – and did not supply a later view on demand for this frustrated public as compensation, they should at least allow a private non commercial upload initiative and leave it online for a week or 2. I was only able to watch without interuption in a low resolution after experimenting and loosing part of the ouverture. I try this post after several unsuccessful attempts to leave my lurker status with help of a tutorial of thadieu. Lets see whether I can finally post.
    Regards in the meanwhile. Will come back to you if this succeeds

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    1. It has been removed already?! The raid algorithms are getting tougher all the time. (and YT/Google is just axing things left and right – we suspect they have software screening for anything with an ARTE logo, e.g.).
      But thanks to you, we now have several copies off your YT version! Quite the hero’s entrance you’re making here.

      On YT, we try to save everything away as fast as we can, and then interchange things privately on Dropbox if we host a liveblog of something the YT police has already raided. That’s also why we rarely post links on here any longer when it comes to full operas and only hand out links to the channels in question via private message.

      And the stream really was a mess (thadieu says she always has issues with the Munich streams, I never had problems this bad before) – I am not sure whether they miscalculated bandwith?! With this one, they may be eyeing a DVD release, though.

      The easiest way around wordpress is to open an account (just for reading and posting comments) and log in before events like liveblogs. That’s e.g. how Agathe does it (I think?).

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      1. Here is my letter to the Bayrische Staatsoper, also posted in facebook;-)

        Liebe bayrische Staatsoper,
        ich bekenne mich schuldig, eine Aufnahme in niedriger Auflösung von Ihrem Semiramide Livestream gemacht und für frustrierte Opernliebhaber, die Ihren Stream nur mit Schluckauf im Abstand weniger Sekunden oder zumindest Minuten ansehen konnten, auf Youtube hochgeladen zu haben, da Sie selbst leider kein nachträgliches viewing on demand in entsprechender Qualität möglich machen (wie es z.B. die Wiener Staatsoper nach mißglückten Streams anbietet). Daß Sie einen unentgeltlichen Livestream für ein breites Publikum möglich machen, finde ich sehr lobenswert. Mit meinem Upload habe ich meiner Meinung nach niemandem geschadet, im Gegenteil nur Ihr Ansehen vermehrt und einigen Opernliebhabern eine Freude gemacht.
        Selbst ausübende Musikerin und emerierte Professorin an der Wiener Musikuniversität bin ich gegenüber Urhebenrechtsverletzungen sehr empfindlich. Sie können mir einzig vorwerfen, daß ich den Upload heute nach der Warnung einiger erfreuter und wohlmeinender Opernfans umbenannt und die Tags entfernt habe, um Ihrem strengen Argusauge vielleicht noch ein paar Tage zu entgehen und noch einigen Musikfreunden den Genuß dieser wirklich grandiosen Aufführung zu ermöglichen.
        Mit freundlichem Gruß aus Wien
        Brigitte Zaczek
        ______________________________________________________
        em.o.Univ.-Prof. Brigitte Zaczek
        Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Wien

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m curious to see what the reply will be.

          If Munich had a pay-per-view on demand option after the livestream, a bit as Vienna Staatoper does, that would be an alternative (doesn’t need to be quite at 14 bucks, but in general…)

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    1. Sorry, but at the moment this recording is offline. I am actually not experienced in this. I only uploaded Semiramide because I read the complaints about the poor stream quality here and about hope someone would make a copy 😉 Perhaps somebodyelse has an idea how to supply you with a copy?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. i can share if you leave a comment with your email address (or leave a comment at my blog so i can see your email). As Anik said above, we normally secure a copy and just share offline via temporary uploads. Again so many thanks to Brigiite, the sound quality was top notch! (i am always frustrated when a capture ended up with saturated = ruined sound, something that requires an iterative approach at the start of capture to solve in many instances.)

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          1. I’ve got alijo’s contact visible, would share with thadieu, if it’s ok with you, to work sth out off the blog. We just do this in our small circle for the liveblogging, no pecuniary infringing involved (I guess we’ll all be buying the DVD, if there is one, down the road, anyway…)

            >

            Liked by 1 person

  17. Hello Anik, the captureress again. I am editing the video material to make a copy for a friend and noticed that the quality is better than the YouTube conversion allowed. Since we seem to live in the same town I thought you might be interested to get a copy on a harddrive or USB stick? I was not able to record in full HD because of the stream problems but 720 is better than what I shared on YouTube. Perhaps we can continue this transaction via ordinary e-mail? Can you see my address?
    B.

    Like

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