The Florence 2005 “Tancredi” Liveblogging Thread

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Welcome to the White Shirt live comment thread for Rossini‘s “Tancredi” (Florence 2005), staged by well you do not need to concern yourself with that, Barcellona sings the lead Pier Luigi Pizzi and with Riccardo Frizza conducting.

Cast Listing:

Tancredi – Daniela Barcellona
Amenaide – Darina Takova
Argirio – Raúl Giménez
Orbazzano – Marco Spotti
Isaura – Barbara di Castri
Roggiero – Nicola Marchesini

The production is not available online at the moment, but chances are you do have the DVD in your closet. If not, there is a small-size working file within White Shirt possession; if you need access to blog along, just leave us a note.

Libretto: Lovely old-school English/Italian facsimile (Venetian ending, though), Italian (pdf, Ferrara ending)

364 thoughts on “The Florence 2005 “Tancredi” Liveblogging Thread”

            1. he, grainy images may be a mercy and we can focus on the sound. – I LOVE The overture. Ever since 11/9, Rossini speaks more to even me, probably because it demands some conscious position, some chosen stance on reality, to work.

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      1. i’m also uploading it to dropbox, same version, but MUCH easier to see than tube version.. 500MB. sending you an email in 2 minutes.

        (ah, i recognize him, i like him ok here, but he irritated me ENORMously in Semiramide in Bruxelles)

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  1. left arm let, lift arm right, first the boys, and then the girl… it’s like Glad Hand in West Side Story.
    (ugh, the choir posturing… uninspired directing)

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  2. “one foot on the steps and try to blend in with the classicist columns” is a style I only tolerate with mezzo swagger.

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  3. Argirio accidentally forgot to take off his towel after leaving the sauna.

    But the cello bits in this, and then the tenor line!

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  4. Okay. The jawline and the mouth of the bass remind me of a mezzo a like. Oh, wouldn’t this be so much more interesting as another trouser role.

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      1. Ah, if mansplaining would only more often turn into background sound while a woman in speaking in everyday dramaturgy.

        >

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    1. Yeeeeeaaaaah.
      (the scenes with ladies can only improve, after parking the mezzo to be stared at in that dress… something about that line-up was pretty Macerata)

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    2. This must be a Tancredi thing – when I watched my first one, it was the first time I heard Maria Bayo and basically, she came in, smiled, and the sun went up. I don’t remember much else about the show. But that was before I was out, even to myself, and I had had no exposure to butch culture yet, and I remember being both unsettled by and strangely recognizant of the very butch (no pageboys there) Tancredi of Bernadette Manca di Nissa.

      >

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        1. do you have that in a working copy that could make it onto DB, if you had the time? I would be really interested in rewatching this with 20 years of distance.

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        1. I am conflicted – because it looks appealing, but the way she is posed, also in comparison to the guys, is a bit icky.

          – just sent you an email, Anna!

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        1. there were quite a few Tancredi comments in the inbox before I got to your alert – perhaps the least snarky, most affected piece (and the most beautiful) dehggi has ever written. Thanks for pointing it out!

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        2. and thinking of “thanking the audience for being alive with her tonight”; and “feeling the world a different/better place” – perhaps it is not really a coincidence that out of 17 editions of SCT, Petibon is the only artist featured twice already. perhaps, much like Rossini, this conscious stance at a distance from the world, while still being part of it, is a more important tool of survival now.

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  5. DAMN that STANCE. I love the way she’s just marching in and takes over, with so much energy.
    (Pizzi clearly didn’t know how to dress a woman he couldn’t put into a dress to fall out of. Win for us!)

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    1. so much youthful energy she puts into that. Her Tancredi is less of a jerk because he is so guileless and enthusiastic (still a a jerk, though).

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    1. Like deceptively bright and frothy drink with an little umbrella and half a pineapple on the side, and before you know it, you’re in half a bottle of vermouth and half a bottle of gin.

      >

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  6. there we go with the repeat coat twirling… I once worked with someone who had worked with Pizzi who said, after two drinks, that 5 out of 6 weeks of a Pizzi staging would consist of learning how to twirl one’s coats.

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        1. ah, never fear, here come lots o guys and the bass raising his sword, walking in rectangles, and pondering whether this gig pays enough to put up with this kind of choreography.

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    1. I also love that they apparently went “We have no idea how to dress her or turn her into a man. Let’s just give her a flowing shirt (which, really, if you compare it with the chain mail is kind of insulting) and boots, and why even bother changing her hair, thank God she can sing”, and then she just walks in and she’d sell it if they put her in a potato sack made of hemp.

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          1. STG, sometimes it looks as if Pizzi gets his ideas of ‘timeless classicist’ (crusaders, pseudo-graecist plissé dresses with bulging cleavages, …) from the covers of a Harlequin novel series in the ‘historical romance’ section.

            >

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        1. In case we want a Norma for our list (maybe after giving thadieu a DB break) : The Biondi/Barcellona/Anderson version is on YT in a playlist of several parts 🙂 Very good musically and in individual acting, cough

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          1. oh, Norma.

            I still really hope they will release the Bartoli on DVD, and then there’s JDD als Adalgisa at the MET next season (and my secret favorite is Orange ’74 for the amazing singing).

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            1. And if that doesn’t come out on DVD we should still do something Bartoli, I just notice, I have heard quite a lot of her recordings but don’t really know much of her acting work. Will check out the Orange version! (Btw I’m still unable to comment here without scrolling upwards to those screenshots :-))

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      1. and she’ll get all the leather she (or Amenaide) wants and doesn’t have to moderate Project Runway any longer. Really, those female extras are creeping me out.

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          1. In Aix, it was at least a critical statement on ideas of beauty, but these debutantes here are just stages as eye candy fodder for the patriarchal gaze, all in an overall worldview of ‘but this is pretty and this is what they are supposed to be’.

            >

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          2. “at least the singers are not casted that way”, yes, but I’m afraid looks still do play a role in singer casting, in the sense that singers who don’t conform to standard beauty perceptions have a harder time getting cast?

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            1. yes, unfortunately. And it’s getting worse with the HD craze.
              Just look at Hallenberg, who legit should be in EVERYTHING in her range and she doesn’t get cast much.

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  7. I have the feeling the character of Amenaide would cry for PP? She might know how to deal with these very bad preconditions. Here, I’m starting to feel aggressive at all this helpless suffering (sorry, not Takova’s fault, it’s the libretto/staging)

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    1. yes, libretto and staging. I don’t think Petibon has the Rossini kind of density, but she (and Py?) would absolutely have Amenaide pack her suitcases and walk off.

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  8. Ehm, they are alone, this would be quite a chance to tell him about the letter? But on the other hand, she might be so angry she doesn’t tell him out of defiance, but that doesn’t come across here.

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    1. well, all he says is sort of “I won’t listen! I won’t listen!”

      Oh, I bet Petibon would do this defiantly.

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  9. also, and re: Petibon, they should yell/sing at each other, then kiss like their life depended on it, and then he should rush off to get killed. Pizzi, I am disappointed, it is clearly in the music. 😉

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  10. awww. Roggiero. See, this is how I will never mind counters: Leaving the two more more central mezzo parts to the ladies and making a cute third wheel.

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      1. for a Pizzi, it’s okay. Apart from some sexism, it isn’t intrusive or eve notable, but of course it also doesn’t tempt anything beyond posturing (the had gestures are horrible, from a craft point of view), and it is again entirely up to the singers to deliver through individiual expression, which most of them manage quite nicely.

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      1. he’ll re-emerge; I hope?
        It’s the aria convention then – scena ed aria: recit-y part/cavatina, then choir, then swooping back for the stretta.

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  11. Tancredi crawling back into he hole he came from… wait, isn’t that “Forza del Destino”? (which reminds me, in parallel, there is running “Chenier” from Munich with Harteros, but that’ll surely pop up on the usual channels).

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    1. BAD communication skills. But I am sure, Tancredi, that Agathe will counsel you for very amenable rates on her couch… 😉

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  12. oh, the headgears, i finally notice. Agathe, what do you think? better than the headgears from Munich Semiramide for sure!

    (i *LOVE* the the male chorus, this, and the one in Cenerentola from Paris)

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          1. 🙂
            may be i have to admit i overlooked *everything* issues with this simply because of Takova.. her aria is up on tube. i already read up, i think she’s doing it just like VK: just pulled off the international stage and went back to Bulgaria. Now teaching. And most of the stuff she sings: Traviata, well, and other things, which i don’t think i’d have come across.. except for Tancredi, which prompted me to search for her.. but then for the longest time i also didn’t find any.. until the recent spike in interest in Semiramide.. after getting so used to MP and ACA, and even JDD, i find her voice on the “light” side for the role (just finished that Pesaro one with D.Barcellona). Also, i think the role is a bit low for her.

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            1. yes, I would imagine that – though still, if it’s Zedda, he will incorporate that in a way. Back to the same issue I just wrote about that voices get educated differently at different times and that the voice that the first Semiramide had (soprano sfogato – solid mezzo with a separate top extension) has gone completely out of fashion and now I really should be writing my lecture for tomorrow so I will log off…

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        1. That’s actually super interesting research, where people are looking, what they process, and why… You can do interesting stuff with eye tracking and even measuring pupil dilatation, still won’t tell us about the “why”.

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  13. I am throwing a manly pity party. for ONE. Meaning none of you is invited. Sulk, sulk, sulk.


    Are you F***ing kidding me, but also, please keep singing.


    Sure, give him a sword, its not like I needed that last bit of composure.

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      1. seems everyone found someone to crush on tonight. 😉
        …why isn’t Takova in anything else we listen to? I would really like to hear her in something else, too.

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          1. here, i’m dropping off her Semiramide. and I found out, sorry Giménez for bashing, it’s not him 😀 , it’s Rockwell Blake, absolutely getting on my nerve. (link above directly to him, i have been thinking of posting it here to get you impression as well, as to whether i have some predisposed bias toward this kind of tenors or what..)

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            1. Rockwell Blake is an interesting case because I think he very well illustrates a generational gap when it comes to a turn in singing aesthetics. He started singing Rossini at a time when there still was no sound like Flórez, or Brownlee, where the heroic male voices were not as light and agile and with more head sound mixed in.
              There is much admiration for Blake and his Rossini in the age group above hours, fitting in with Marilyn Horne, too – it is, in Blake’s case, coming at Rossini from a dramatic tenor starting point: denser, heavier, more dramatic, and from there approaching the coloratura.
              If you are used to Florez (as am I), it can sound tight and inflexible, with outright missing notes and support at times. I think it is really about looking at the vocal traditions singers are coming from, and Blake simply is part of a heavier Rossini approach that has in the past 20 years gone out of fashion. So it’s not as much a question of ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but a question of what ‘good’ or ‘bad’ means at a certain point in time.
              If I listen to Blake’s Rossini, I often want to shout, “but this is technically off!”, but I think it is owed to the tools he was given to approach it, and the different aesthetic behind it.

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            2. ja, but i know nothing about these things you mentioned.. it was more that already from the first line it has such a negative effect on me.. just click on the link when you have a chance and listen to just 2 lines. I mean i don’t normally have issues that much, but here already right from the start it rubs me in such the passionately negative way…
              (i’ve seen him before actually, with VK, in barber of Sevilla, he was rather funny there as the lover, whatever his name was.. Figaro!)

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            3. Yes, that is precisely what I mean – I hear this, and the first thing I think is “Far too much pressure on the sound production, no flexibility of tone, no easy front projection, aspirated notes, overall too heavy and dense, not enough agility in any coloratura, no sense of lengthy belcanto line”.

              And I think the reason many people extol him as a great Rossini singer is that he started out under a different aesthetic, in a time where Semiramide e.g. was only just rediscovered and where this was the way heroic tenors sounded. Across the board.

              For me, this is uncomfortable to listen to and, for my understanding of Rossini, technically flawed.

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            4. with Horne, I find her technically fabulous, especially in the heavier French repertory, but also in Rossini, yet when it comes to style of sound, I sometimes think the same thing: that the density and compactness is more an ideal of another generation, and I don’t know if she would be educated as she was today, or if she would even get into the college machinery in the first place, simply because institutions seem to look for a different sound no (no matter how good ‘odd’ voices may be technically)

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            5. Interesting, I think that way of Rossini interpretation was also putting me off when I heard that “fatal” Barbiere 20 years ago, I think my voice ideal the was probably very much influenced by early music/Mozart, and that might made it additionally hard to get the beauty in Rossini.

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            6. I think Early Music and historically informed performance practice has a lot to do with it – e.g. the Munich Semiramide would have been unthinkable in the ’70s. JDD is not a heavy voice, and she gets to do it now. Look at Bartoli doing Norma! Belcanto repertory, in my ears, has profited a lot from the slimmer, more flexible, more Baroque take on things pre-romanticism.

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            1. (sigh)
              more withdrawal…
              actually i realized i was also in withdrawal after coming back for SF… there was something magical about experiencing ACA that close…

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      1. It’s like the Macbeths, or like Semiramide and Assur: Fighting Foreplay. They just aren’t very good with the B part. (ask Semiramide for pointers)

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  14. Thank you for your company, ladies – the office awaits early in the morning, so I’m off to bed. I cannot believe I survived a full Pizzi night and enjoyed it, all thanks to you (and Takova and Barcellona).

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  15. that was fun. i’ve been wanting to see her again in ages :”>
    i’ve been listening to her Semiramide on and off too, alternating 2limegreen+1ACA+1/2Takova :D, but since my trip back from SF it’s been reshuffled a bit..

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  16. Good night and thank you so much! It has been a pleasure to get to know more Rossini, beyond Barbiere and Cenerentola.

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  17. not to rub it in, but i saw a photo of the props she used for the concert to… she is at Wigmore tonite, maybe might attend? i had her on sched for that and A.Helleberg, but swap out for ACA

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      1. yes, got it *sigh*
        She has been doing the props-from-the piano things for a while; she is really fascinating to analyze for me in that aspect also from a professional viewpoint (not just as someone who finds her art incredibly rewarding).
        I think I was just coming out of a conference on Wednesday when this started, but I would have made time against all odds.

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    1. Thank you for the alert! Yes, I don’t think I can resist and getting tickets, even with good view, is comparably easy at Deutsche Oper… DB will be in Cavalleria rusticana and La Gioconda, I have to confess, I know neither of those well, but another good opportunity to explore new works. If it only was sooner than one year ahead, hope to catch her before that in some performance…

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      1. Between those two, Gioconda – more mezzo for the money! Although in both works the mezzo gets the tenor. Telling in this case 😉

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