[The A.T. Schaefer shot that became the cover of the first DVD release of this production, or “how to tell the focal point of Alcina in one image”: Catherine Naglestad (Alcina) and Alice Coote (Ruggiero) in Handel’s “Alcina”, Stuttgart 1999. – Photo Credit: A. T. Schaefer for Staatsoper Stuttgart]
And on the issue of formative classics, it’s time for THE “Alcina” aka Naglestad and Coote burning down the haus in the smart and challenging Wieler/Morabito staging. Also: Helene Schneiderman. And Catriona Smith. And young Claudia Mahnke.
Bring your ice bucket (then again: better bring two. Or the whole bathtub) and meet us this Saturday, Apr. 8th, at 9. p.m. (UTC+2) for some liveblogging and, possibly, livefainting.
The production is on YT in full (and easily found), though I assume that many of us will count the DVD among their prize possessions (I owned it before I ever owned a DVD player).
And you know this production has been part of your personal landscape for too long when, in absence of the DVD in your office, you look for an image to use for this post and several of the screencaps available turn out to be your own. (I regret nothing)
And while particularly Naglestad defies the possibility of rational description at several (okay, many) points in this evening – there is a reason I shy away from writing about her -, the core of the production is actually the staging, which is a reading on passion, freedom, what love could or should be, and how institutionalizing things throws established power hierarchies into focus, and how these hierarchies do perhaps make truly seeing someone else impossible.
The evening is still running nearly 20 years after it opened (take that, ignorants who called this evening “eurotrash” when it first came out), and it still looks good. Many poignant Alcina “regie” stagings that followed show marks of this reading in one way or another (Loy and Kerkhof, to name just two). The fading Baroque wallpaper and the huge mirror and the row of little black Alcina dresses have become recognizable icons and have carried the focal point of this staging through a long and diverse row of leading ladies (yes, always ladies).
(including this one:)
(sorry, but… #GSS)
[little black δress declination: Myrtò Papatanasiu (Alcina) in Handel’s “Alcina” in the iconic Wieler/Morabito production, Stuttgart 2011 – Photo Credit: A.T. Schaefer for Staatsoper Stuttgart]