White Shirt Monday: Semiramide Problems (BSO Edition)

[When the Trouser Mezzo would go very well with your couch color scheme, but simply won’t take a hint, and other #SemiramideProblems – courtesy of the live broadcast with Daniela Barcellona (Arsace) and Joyce DiDonato (Semiramide) in Rossini’s “Semiramide”, Munich/BSO 2017.]

(Screenshot Extravaganza for all those who couldn’t follow the stream last night due to the technical hiccups, featuring the Chorus of Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Joyce DiDonato (Semiramide), Daniela Barcellona (Arsace), Alex Esposito (Assur), Lawrence Brownlee (Idreno), Elsa Benoit (Azema) Simone Alberghini (Oroe) and Galeano Salas (Mitrane)).


1) When you’re acing that Callas Pasolini Medea Look and nobody gets the reference.


2) When Medal Mania is really not how you would like to accessorize your aforementioned Pasolini outfit.


3) When you’re considering bullet epaulets instead (even though they’re hideous, but that young commander is so handsome and besides, you’re the queen).


4) When you get momentarily distracted in your epaulet reasoning. #SpringGreens


5) When FutureHusband is kind of hung up on Goldie(no)locks (a soprano. Pff!).


6) When the mural is trying to upstage you (b*tch, please).


7) When you would scare Peter Quint right off the stage and Miles would definitely do his homework, if someone had cared to write that Governess for mezzo instead of soprano.


8) When the manservants are wearing your curtains and have absconded with hats from your closet while you are channeling your best “meritate un avvenir migliore” because of course you do.


9) When you gracefully try to accomodate his penchant for gold. (though, really, why go for gold when you could have platin and pearls?!)


10) When you pull off a really witty comment on that whole Goldie(no)locks situation with the laurel, and he just doesn’t get it. Sigh. Well, good thing you don’t want to marry him for his brains.


11) When he doesn’t get the hint (but he’s dashing, so…). #CastingCouch


12) When you’re making progress on that couch situation.


13) When the mural tries to upstage your handholding moment (nice try. It should learn to hold a legato line first).


14) When you’re wearing your own curtains as couture, but at least the other Evil Queens call you for pointers.


15) When you’re bringing your best “Don’t Cry for Me, Babylonia”, but the oracles try to get in a word. Again.


16) When you’re considering Clytemnestra as your next repertory upgrade in reaction.


17) When the Gods *wish* they could pull off your level of glamour (Oscars? What Oscars?!) and then decide to get petty about it.


18) When you’re telling everyone to shut it and, also, that you’re going to marry the other mezzo, thanks, that’ll be all. And then earthquake. #ReallyPettyDeities


19) When the tenor (the admittedly faboulous tenor) is outdoing your pearl game (you really need to have a word with Vermeer there).


20) When the Borg, after you scared them off your planet (okay, and after a nice cup of coffee with their queen because at that level, you’ve got to stick together among queens), left a golden drone behind that fell off their cube in their hurry (and a soprano drone, too. Are they trying to get on your bad side?).


21) When the Gods are trying to crash your engagement party.


22) When you wouldn’t mind cutting yourself open on that jawline, but he’s staring at the soprano instead.


23) When your game is about to get interrupted by the intermission.


24) When the champagne is perfectly chilled, but you’d rather drink it with the Trouser Mezzo instead.


25) When you’re considering to jail your interior designer over that monstrosity of a bed (gold again? Really?)


26) When you’re trying to save the champagne for later, but your ex simply doesn’t get that he isn’t invited to the party.


27) When you’re really ready to jail that interior designer, and your whining ex, too.


28) When the Trouser Mezzo is arriving with fanfares off-scene, but the bass still isn’t done griping at you. (#YouJustWereNotThatIntoHim)


29) When he tries to out-drama-queen you when you tell him you’re waiting for someone else. (please, doesn’t he know that that was one of your albums?)


30) When you’re wondering whether anyone can even level with your hair game (well, with the exception of the conductor).


31) When even your cold shoulder is sort of too hot to handle.


32) When your sword is bigger than his.


33) When he’s at least somewhat into that.


34) When you’re still dreaming of someone else.
Someone who has a sword, a lot of ammunition and a quiver with arrows (which you could turn into an innuendo in a heartbeat if you’d think for a moment that any of the men surrounding you would get it).


35) When you’re having to queensplain your sword kink.


36) When you’re getting distracted while queensplaining your sword kink.


37) When even the lowly screencapper trying to write this post gets kind of distracted by your sword kink.


38) When… anyway, SWORDS.


39) When The Trouser Mezzo insists on swapping out a perfectly good cavatina for a rendition of “Family Portrait”.


40) When you are getting kind of distracted again because that cavatina, hot damn. #MarryMeArsace (but you said that already. In public.)


41) When you’re offering an empire and he asks for a pony instead.


42) When you’re trying to make a Ginuwine crack about it and he doesn’t get it.


43) When you don’t even care any longer because you have a weakness for sensitive folks who overprocess and treat their animals well and look good in khakis. *coughlesbianscough*


44) When he finally picks up a sword – more or less – but has chosen The Dark Side (or however they call that place with the sopranos).


45) When You Came Out To Have A Good Time And Are Honestly Feeling So Attacked Right Now.


46) When you’re all Tu sai che là per leggere / io non desio entrar” (#DeltGame #GownGame) and he has brought his tax declaration.


47) When you have to ask about getting to take a look at his sword, which kind of takes the fun out of it.


48) When the #SwordKink is not quite working out the way you planned.


49) When he starts crying because you’re utterly defenseless against that.


50) When the evening is going from Hanging Gardens to Dusty Tile Floors in under two phrases.


51) When your romantic picnic plans are off to a rocky start.


52) When you’re just about to embrace the ‘Cougar’ label.


53) When he seems not quite so supportive of the entire May/September scenario. (if he starts with that soprano again, you swear…!)


54) When he suddenly takes the ILF out of MILF.


55) When there’s not even sword talk any longer and you put on that nightgown for nothing.


56) When you’re still really killing that duet, though.


57) When he walks off and you try to strike a casual pose.


58) When that doesn’t quite work out.


59) When you’re utterly heartbroken, but also still the Queen of Everything.


60) When your ex is hogging the stage with his Lady Macbeth audition.


61) When you’d prefer his undershirt on Arsace instead.


62) When you won the popular vote by a landslide and it just doesn’t make a difference.


63) When even your favorite wallpaper ist starting to look kind of blurry to you, and that’s not how you remember the Balcony Scene.


64) When you just know that nobody will ever ask about his email server. #BabylonianGlassCeiling


65) When he gets your “La luce langue” scene, and you’re done playing Three Blind Mice with him and the bass in the crypt (and that was the worst adventure race ever, and you are so going to sue that event agency).


66) When everyone thanks the producing team for throwing some shade at hipster beards. #Bless


67) When the crowd thinks you’re dead, but if they’ve seen the Ghost of Nino, they haven’t seen anything yet – you’re taking over from beyond.

68 thoughts on “White Shirt Monday: Semiramide Problems (BSO Edition)”

      1. Thank you, great shot! My view was a bit blurry due to the distance (or whatever), so these shots and the video of course are such a gift. There was also a fun moment during the last curtain, when DB kissed JDD’s hand and JDD in turn kissed Esposito’s hand on her other side.

        Btw. I saw a Turn of the screw at ROH about 10 years ago, which really had those very same aesthetics.


        1. Ha, so I am not the only one who got that vibe! (It was Turn of the Screw or Therese Giehse/Lili Palmer in the 1950s movie version of the Winsloe, but I tried to not outgay myself here)

          10 years ago, was that when you had THAT apartment?



  1. 19) When the tenor (the admittedly faboulous tenor) is outdoing your pearl game (you really need to have a word with Vermeer there).

    what’s with the Ali Baba look? They have really mixed time periods and time zones in this one. There is even some Turandot in there as well as Hillbilly Meth Cook. I imagine it was all about the fabulous acting.

    (#20 is an awesome shot but the golden bed is one of the most hideous things I have ever seen).


    1. I hope the bed was supposed to be a dig at totalitarian bad tastes, and also at 45 Tower?

      The fairy tale Indian get-ups were wild, mixed in with more current-day ideas of an specifically Muslim theocracy, going for Middle Eastern elements, and then the military dictatorship moments opting for North Korea and coming out Lagerfeld at times. Too specific to be fantasy, yet too fantasy to, to me, not feel colonial.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. to me it looks like one of those messes directors and team resort to when they have no specific ideas (let’s throw everything in and see what sticks – they would probably nod their head wisely at all you said and think “people read stuff into this, job done!”

        totalitarian bad taste – is Semiramide supposed to be the badie here? I can see the bed as a condemnation of her taboo desire but still ugly as fuck.


        1. please, I’m from the Humanities, I can read you stuff into a rusty tin of sardines if need be.

          I didn’t really think about the bed beyond “T Tower”, but since we’re about to settle on a liveblog date WITHOUT STUTTERS, that topic should go on the list.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. I’ll get you a rusty tin of sardines next time I see you 😉 or perhaps that swedish stinky fish! and something hello kitty, must be all the rage in the US these days…


  2. They really are all great, not even the bed can distract from that (I don’t know, it’s so ugly it’s kind of stylish again).
    Camping here again, please, thadieu, can you be quick with upload, I’m starving.


  3. Ooh, so many lovely screencaps… I have listened to various versions of the “giorno d’orror” bit about 578 times and I can’t get enough of it… (btw, I must be really slow to realise things but this screencapping thing never occurred to me before meeting you White Shirts… but now I have a folder on my laptop for that… 🙂 )

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is why there are screencaps programs. Right? 🙂

      You’re always welcome to post favorites in the comments, too – just like we did with that Mitridate shirtiversary event, where I didn’t even make it to Lungi da te because I had to stop all the time for capping. It’s easier these days; as a teenager, I still had to write my cap mash-ups using cut out recording covers from the annual catalogue releases of DECCA, DG etc.


      Liked by 1 person

  4. Screencap 66 reminds me that I really need to have a talk with whoever did Arsace’s makeup. Why don’t people call me before they try to do a five-o-clock shadow? #dragthings

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hihi, really, is it that bad, I wouldn’t have noticed (but also the beard was the least interesting thing about her). You can check out the make-up artists’ work directly on Daniela Barcellona’s twitter account, where she shows in fast-forward how she becomes Arsace.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m also a bit of a nerd about drag, so I’m unnecessarily picky, and I haven’t had a chance to actually see the production – sometimes these things look great in the performance and suffer in the photos (which is the right priority).


      2. I found it, and it was pretty neat! Also, my comments about five-o-clock shadows aside, props for sideburn use. Ughh! I can’t wait to hear this if it becomes available! Unrelatedly, somebody sent DB Anik’s #ArsaceProblems tweet about getting roped into matricidal cults, and she retweeted it! Anik, your Twitter game’s on point!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. 🙂 I don’t really get how this works yet, but apparently people dig capped caps?

          Am out of town this weekend, but will try to get an email to you, Ed, re:availabilty because thanks to Brigitte, we’ve got a working version.


          Liked by 1 person

        2. Yes, twitter, it’s so great to see singers valueing this blog (and that pony scene, sigh). Before we know, we’ll have singers join our liveblogs, and I probably will not dare to utter a single sentence anymore.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Singers can’t join the liveblogs, they have to be onstage 🙂

            But unless I link to a review or some screencaps on Twitter, I don’t there is any danger of singer traffic here, and even then, I don’t think anyone would look at the comment section.



    2. Next to that neckwear consultant, there clearly should be a drag consultant at every major house. 😉 We could team up and offer itinerant services: Bows, Beards & Burns.


      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Brigitte, your comment got through just fine! I’m out traveling with the family until early next week and didn’t get to do more than a few WP comments today.



      1. Haha! Yes! I noticed this watching the close-ups on her arias during the Met HD “Donna del Lago” a couple of years ago. “Wait…doesn’t she remind me of…OH!” (happy-beating-teenage-heart) 🙂


        1. at some point, we will have to collect out non-operatic influences because in between Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergmann and Monica Bellucci, I am beginning to see common patterns.


            1. We have a huge one (a gift) a bit scary actually, the kids use it as a kind of sofa. Wait, how did we get here?, Ah yes, Arsace (returns to video).


            2. jeah i kept thinking about the caption “she offered the empire and he asks for the pony”… coz i would be very tempted to bypass the empire too


            3. ooh, is lime green an option, too? …do we have to decide on just one thing? Or could someone also keep two ponies?

              Liked by 1 person

            4. and now, kids, we are returning to mama’s programming, where the ponies are of secondary importance only.


        1. in watching the whole scene, I think Alden/JDD used that moment as a nice symbol-driven introspective into Semiramide’s relation to power – she is attracted to it, and too involved with this aspect of it to be able to control it in a Macchiavellian way.


          1. i’m on the 3rd re-watch now… and wanted to also report:

            after seeing the whole thing intact uninterrupted i really appreciate this version musically (i don’t get all the clothings AT ALL). The orchestra can be so robust because the voices can come right through. And here we really appreciate JDD’s flexibility + power + expressions. It’s hugely different from Zedda + MP + AH team in especially the power, and with it, a completely different way + freedom to express the music. I think it took me like 5x to now getting used to this “Rossini machinery” again. Now i’m exchanging between this and Ghent’s version every other day.. but sponge.. that is forever unique for me, in the vocal and scenic expression. Also because the two Semiramides are so different in personality (JDD’s joy of power here vs. MP’s queen-by-the-name-but-perhaps-enduring-abuse) i don’t think the sponge would work here. Actually there (MP’s version) you feel she’s regretting all her existence at sponge scene whereas here JDD really brings across the guilt on what she has done to Arsace (and the pony 😥 )

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I think both versions are very hard to compare because so fundamentally different. And it shouldn’t be mainly about “who can do coloratura fastest” still I can’t help being so impressed by JDD/DBs delivery that I will probably need some time to adapt to the Gent version again, which in the overall picture maybe the more sensitive, introspective approach?


            2. Yes, I love that there are two completely different Semiramides as a result – one more an abuse victim fighting for agency, the other one more a woman in charge grappling with the effects of a power she has. Barely seems the same opera.

              Liked by 2 people

          2. ps- didn’t mean to write a whole essay there.. let us wait until Tues to toss these things back and forth. you go prepare your class lessons instead! but please, if you do manage a pix of Arsace and the pony anywhere in your lecture, i’d like a copy!


            1. …now that we talked about it here, I cannot do it any longer (but I would find a way otherwise!). So looking forward to Tuesday! – and yes, am sitting here with my class preparations.


          3. Yes, I still don’t really get Alden, how he surprisingly often has these strong moments in his productions and then the next minute you have the feeling he just does random things for fun/effect.

            Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s