Pur ti stringo: a cross-cast detox

[Have you had enough hipster beards and enough cis-cast soup in your opera for today? Fear not, Early Music is coming to your rescue. – Mariana Flores & Giuseppina Bridelli vocally reenacting the First Abduction of Helen of Troy (no Paris here yet, just Menelao. In drag. It’s Cavalli. It’s complicated.) Also aboard: the Cappella Mediterranea and Leonardo García Alarcón]

It’s the “Teatro dei Sensi” program (which basically is ‘Cavalli highlights’, not that I mind) of La Cappella Mediterranea under Alarcón (on YT with many thanks to the generosity of Culturebox – Deutsch).

Now do the following: put a cold, stiff drink next to you. Then start the video at 1:22:00 and give it about three minutes. Then down the drink in one drag and go for extra ice. Which you will need because next, you start the video at 1:11:45.

If the first piece sounded a little Monteverdi to you: yes, in Venetian convention, the final duet of Eliogabalo featured here (pur ti stringo/ pur t’annodo) hits some of the same tropes that the final duet of Poppea does.

The second piece is “Mia speranza! Mio contento!” from Elena, and if you want to figure out the exact plot of these lovers (who I think are Elena and Menelao, but this being Cavalli, it could also be Menelao in drag and Teseo, or possibly Ippolita realizing that Helena looks much better than Teseo): there’s the libretto. Or you could just get more ice.

And now, enjoy the whole thing (we may need to talk about Bridelli later And a Legend of the Seeker opera). Look, this extravaganza even features the church wedding I never got. Ah, the magic of Cavalli.

detox 2 church wedding.jpg

148 thoughts on “Pur ti stringo: a cross-cast detox”

    1. Also, please find me straight captions for any of these because seriously I CANNOT.

      Evidence log:









      (but jokes aside, this whole “who said that there should be no acting in concerts was a bore and no matter what I am wearing, if my text says warrior prince in love I will bloody well stick true to the text and the part down to my parting glance, excuse you” approach to concert performances throughout this entire evening is true to the music, makes for A+ audience engagement, and renders absolutely committed potrayals. Love it!)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. (ps- oh, now i remember, i wanted to say during my first watch of the last duet, or may be the 2nd one.. of the mezzo attitude 🙂 , i absolutely love it. there’s something about it, the air of “i can handel this” .. when up i’ll get the exact timing. speaking of “handel”, V.Genaux was posting a pix this weekend on her fb page wearing that exact same shirt, so i got into a short exchange with her on where to buy such shirt..)

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        1. ask a pro if you want a really good (white) shirt 😉 Nice.
          But yes, the attitude of Bridelli – perhaps simply the absence of feminine-coded apologeticness, despite adhering visually to convention. Perhaps that something that is readable as boldness on a female body? In sync with the male part, though I found gender to be blissfully irrelevant in that concert. having to similar phenotypes sort of erasedit anyway, and then it was just emotional states regardless of gender, and getting a lot more into the affect staging than concerts usually do. I really, really like this performance on a theatre level, too.

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            1. on outfits: this shirt only with this attitude. Or these lapels?! – I am wondering whether Agathe would have a hair opinion on this one...

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            2. ah, ok, i thought you’re still talking about Stutzmann.. coz i like her hair! 🙂 , and her really pink shoes, quite a charming character.

              Dario has just finished. i better go zz, coz have to be up in 5.5hr to race to office to set up Dario..

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            3. Waaaaait, then she’s got to be in the photo I still have saved away for some WS Wednesday via Twitter? I’ve got the post in my draft folder.

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            4. (i went back to fb, and linked it here.. you might not see the lnk from reader mode 😉 . but i knew for sure she was duetting with a mezzo… only issue i see here is the distance, clearly N.Stutzmann was a bit more assertive 😉 . good “night” to you on a happy note. )

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            5. just browsing through in search of autumns season news… shouldn’t managements take care of these things?!
              liking: chronologically sorted repertory with a MUCH begger pre-1840s section.
              (am wary of the photo section – though: tanktop tuesday as cover)

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            6. well, that was less awkward than it could have been *pointedly looking elsewhere at someone else COUGH*,
              but, singers, we talked about that thing with badly google-transalted review snippets on your website… it still doesn’t look good.
              Also unlabeled stage photos with no production name/date attached to them are frustrating.

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            7. nice, she’s going to have a concert at Carnegie Hall! that’s very nice. i’m glad they’re booking the younger singers too. E.Barath had her debut just 2 months ago.

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            8. (sorry, i read it backward.. clearly i need to sleep.. and then saw it was 14/feb, and i knew E.Barath had her debut right at that time… and recalling a photo of her duetting with a mezzo…)

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            1. They were behind the recent Giasone, too – they seem to have ties to Geneva, we should keep an eye on the season reveal there!

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            2. The whole approach to text sensuality makes me disproportionally happy

              (Btw, Flores was also in the Giasone, as Alinda)

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            3. (and i believe she was Dido in a Purcell Dido & Aeneas that i’ve watched before.. ja, just checked, that was her. i forgot what it was that created suuuuuch an uproar on that.. oh, something about they said the conductor ruined Purcell’s music.. i thought it was a nice variation..)

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            4. (ps- jump to min 24:45 for Purcell .. before is some fun stuff, which i think people got confused for Purcell (?), hence the outraged reactions, quite hilarious to read, starting with “worst thing i saw in my life” 😀 )

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            5. (yeah, i was thinking, even if i bought tix to hear Purcell and it turned out a variation like this (it’s really out there, the first 24min), i’d spend time enjoying the variation… in any case, i like Flores here as well. )

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            6. It’s Pluhar, for God’s sake, surely no one going there as a so-called “expert” would expect traditionally played Purcell?! Are tjey trying to set themselves up for disappointments so they can bitch about it?

              Pluhar does associative, inventive, creation-emphasis projects within Early Music/folklore material. If that’s not your cup of tea, don’t drink it. But don’t pretend that your tea is the only tea out there or palatable.

              And some of the people getting their knickers in a twist over this should check in their muscological credits if they cannot keep up with current discourse on work/authorship or historically informed performance practices (and it’s dogma dangers) or Early Baroque musicianship concepts, as far as we can approach them.

              And calling a thing “superficial” – UGH. It may be that way for some, but you cannot generalize your own listening experience. If people, for their self-performance, need to put down shows that may have made other people happy, I stop listening to them. If you criticize something, do it precisely and to the point and, most importantly, be aware of conventions and traditions and their HISTORICAL LIMITATIONS. Good Lord!

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            7. 🙂
              Ah, you know her. I didn’t know anything when i clicked on this a while ago. But i like what i hear, enough to have it in memory. i was just surprised to read those comments.. but we already know these “experts” behind their nicknames..

              (on a side note, i was searching for more schedules.. and saw in Chicago, R.Flemming was saying in an interview that the younger generation: “they want to see traditional works like ‘La Boheme’.” (her quote). may be, who knows… )

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            8. Pluhar/Arpeggiata is certainly not for the orthodox, but they are an interesting and innovative voice and very good to check one’s prejudice every now and then.

              “the younger generation”: which younger generation? Fleming has for most of her career worked as a headliner for a conservative flagship frequented primarily by the very privileged.

              If there only is Zeffirelli, and peoplea re taught to integrate that kind of Puccini into their indentiy performances as something stuffy that confirms the status quo: of course a certain demographic will expect that. BUT if you teach younger people (and everyone) that opera is not a museal art with fixed tradition, that singing in living bodies is about as acute as it gets and that these are stories we are allowed to engage with, that these are our own stories, our own lives, and there is amazing material and versions that can happen to make us talk about them, be moved by them and come out engaged and more alive: then there would be a whole lot more Arpeggiata and curiosity and kindness out there.

              (and as stray said the other day: “Bohème, yes, with Musette bringing mouldy baguette and two ticekts two Davos in the end.” 😉 )

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          1. It’s the whole concert, really – I’m only 2/3 through in my detailed rewatch (after mainlining it in giddy stupor the first time) because I keep going back to for specific phrasings (and screencapping – new post later today) and I need to stop every other minute to pick my jaw off the floor or wipe my glasses.

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        1. 🙂 I have more for today – this whole concert (some possible pondering to the male gaze in the set-up, but not ever in the singing, set aside) will go on the very short list of detox happy places. #CavalliCare

          >

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          1. yes, i thought just for a moment it was done for some gazing… but immediately the moment the singers start singing you “hear” the honesty in what they tried to convey, with no hint whatsoever toward candy-eye purpose. Both of them. I really enjoyed their sensitivity and commitment. Even in the gesture (Gasione right? when the drums starts): you can feel the energy in the arm lifts. The facial expressions were also based on character, not overtly done. *very* sensitive performance, *very* high in pure quality.

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            1. My thoughts exactly – the attitude kills any candy approach the moment they start singing. (Also, on that arm gesture: just from the bone structure, there is delt potential 😉 )

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              Liked by 1 person

    1. and I apologize, thadieu, I must have that comment typed, but not sent off – it was a bit hectic here yesterday and I may have been overly excited after reading the line-up.
      The hour is not as convenient (6 p.m. (UTC+2)), so I was wondering if it would be caption-able. Not sure about geoblocking, though. I could try it on the office Mac, but would have to take the night off and get back into ‘how do I capture’ (on the office computer, I cannot install anything without prior approval of the IT service, so I’D have to work with what I’Ve got…)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. so, to recap, i’m here , and i only see a “radio broadcast” ad. There is something more? i think the site is in German and that doesn’t quite help me . But whatever the time, i WILL capture, if it’s video/radio.

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          1. jeah, i saw this yesterday! and was impressed, she sings Penelope too!!
            So, here’s the status:
            I vote that we livestream Poppea! while i capture! (if i don’t get blocked… i was hoping to find another vid broadcast before to see if there’s blockage, but there’s nothing before..)
            *then*, i’m also open to live-blogging on sunday for Penelope… i’ll capture both. radio should be ok…

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            1. thank you, that would be great. I’ll try to be in the office and capture from there for back-up, but have guests in town, so I have to check their evening plans first (“here’s the city map, I’ll be unaavailable because I must liveblog a Poppea…”)

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            2. hahaha, hihihihi.
              I think as a WS tag-team, i might invest in a mac on your side! coz we really need capturing capability 🙂 . you won’t be able to capture on your mac unless you install the *very* easy thingy i have. Stray was able to install within 5sec i think, but it requires admin i believe…

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            3. I guess I have to think up an academic excuse as to why I would need it *sigh* the program, I mean. No chance in hell (as the dean said, I am quoting) to get any more Mac equipment for the offices.

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            4. oh, btw: there IS an earlier livestream to test – May 5th, David Zinman conducting Mahler VI.

              (also, I just saw that Currentzis will be helming the SWR orchestra as of 18/19…?)

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            5. I hope not – at least we get a testrun, so if youa re geoblocked I will “forget” something in the office I urgently need to recover on Sunday night? 😉

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            6. I remember I managed with a different mission code at least for smaller samples, way back when the Munich Lulu was streamed in 2015.

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            7. jeah, i should also find out where this is.. should be on my agenda..
              (ps- did you see C.Bartoli singing Ariodante next month in Salzburg? w/ a ct Polinesso of course..)

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            8. Ariodante (but with DUMAUX as Polinesso, which, as far as CTs go, is among the best news possible) and also Donna del Lago with Genaux as Malcolm (very much a slender-voice take).
              of course, the next day, it’s Petrou/Cencic with an aria evening…

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            9. good morning! i did it once, barely made it in time, the train to Tübingen was the tiniest and farthest from the tracks, i was scrambling frantically searching and sprinting at the main station. i saw photos of their current Ariodante… absolutely mad looking…

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            10. Almost good night over here – checking Bridelli’s range around minute 25 in that Cavalli concert and beginning to look forward to her Penelope. Very, very good with early 17th ctry ornamentation, and sufficient heft.

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            11. oh, forgot to mention: I got a ticket there for next week! With that directing team, I will give pretty much anything a try.

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            12. (yeah, on static photos it looks absolutely mad, but you never know until you put everything together.. and sometimes the first appearance (ahem, that Alcina’s dress) can be distracting, good or bad, such that it can cloud one’s judgement..)

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            13. quite a schedule, and with an added Penelope – I’d day it sits low for her, too, but haven’t heard enough of her yet to make any prognostics. Either way, great outing (for the cast, but also for us!)

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            14. 7th for sure. that is if you could shift work to sunday and play with kids on sat ? 🙂 . and hope i don’t get blocked… should we do audio Penelope? that should be fun actually. I know the music quite well.

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            15. I’m for an audio Penelope, given I can clear my schedule.
              the 7th hinges a bit on my guests (and 9pm is kid friendlier than 6pm, of course), but I’ll try. Will contact them later today.

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            16. otherwise, i can capture, and we just sched for blogging the following week, ok? meanwhile, i’ll send you something in the mail now, just attempt and see if possible.

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            17. got it, thanks! Can’t install, of course, but will check out the descriptions and see if I can come up with some sufficiently academic justification.

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        1. okay, overview:

          May 5th: ORFEO,
          aired on SWR radio: May 14, 9pm, on SWR2

          May7 th: POPPEA
          live videostream on SWRclassic.de
          radio braodcast on May 21st, 8:03 pm on SWR2

          May 9th: ULISSE
          radio broadcast May 28th, 8:03pm on SWR2

          get the machines ready…

          Liked by 1 person

  1. so, looks like our plan A is now to blog on 6/May, and i freely capture and watch at my pleasure (if i can wake up properly!) on 7/May and we watch the following week or something. sounds great. fingers crossed for no geoblockage.

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    1. Okay, let’s agree on that. (Peeks allowed!) If there is geoblocking trouble on the 5th, I will make arrangements to be in the office on the 7th in the evening. And then perhaps watch the following Sat.?

      >

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    1. sorry, scratch that, i hallucinating and thought she was part of the project… because the content of the concert was so similar to the disc… doesn’t matter. she’s now on my radar.

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    2. Do keep talking! 🙂

      First, I must get my hands on that Mingardo release.

      Second: not sure about contralto yet, but definitely lower range heft and substance, yet also fairly supple mezzo top, in that Early Music focus. Low mezzo, perhaps? We will have to do more research 🙂 not that classifications should matter much.

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      1. (did you read the scratch that bit? it’s not her.. but i’m quite happy still to read that S.Mingardo is “sponsoring” a series of young mezzos + contraltos and sopranos on that project.. to encourage them on and give them a latch onto the world stage..)

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        1. If it is a Mingardo project, I don’t need any further reasons.
          Especially in light of our CT discussions these past few days, supporting young female artists is something worthwhile to do.

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            1. that CD (chamber duets!! with probably amazing Baroque texts will all kinds of layers!) better end up in my Easter Basket.

              Liked by 1 person

      2. wow, i’m sitting through l’incoronazione di dario now, the version from Bremen.. and came across a sound quite similar to Francesca Ascioti’s (just a tad less in heft, but quite similar to my ear, esp. in the low notes..) and it is Bridelli. it’s surprisingly warm and with heft (though this is a “recording”). I can’t say if she can sing the high priest, but wouldn’t be surprised if she does. *quite* similar to Ascioti’s tone.

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        1. wait, do I have that version? Is that the one they taped for release?

          I remember myself writing that she was young, and that I liked her tone — and that an opera is perfect when even the soubretta part is written for a mezzo. Ascioti is a little heavier, with a darker tinge, I would say? But hey, if you give me a Juditha, we’d find a part for both of them. Plus Iervolino.

          (too bad Ascioti does not have a schedule online. Bridelli’s is also only up until Jun/17 – unless she takes a sabbatical next year, this really isn’t helpful in my autumn planning as far as Italian mezzos go.)

          Liked by 1 person

            1. (that was your quote, i got to her aria, and couldn’t help but citing your first impression of her entrance. it’s very interesting reading your description of Galou’s voice vs Mingardo, because i came to the exact conclusion at Carnegie Hall. I NEED to write that post, perhaps tomorrow.. or now..)

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            2. looking forward to it! whenever you find the time.
              And intersting you’re having a similar impression about their voices – okay, we do move within a similar repertory we listen to, with similar things we look out for, but we have differently wired brains…

              (took me a moment to recognize my quote, but yes – she’s got this cool calm when she walks out, but not at all arrogant. Very impressie presence)

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        2. operabase is completely out of touch regarding Ascioti; with Bridelli, they list an additional Carmen (Mercédès) at San Carlo – in the end, we may have to treck to Naples, if now *everyone* is stopping by there…)

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            1. I may despair over directing approaches (or, from my perspective, lack thereof), but for the voices and the coffee…

              >

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      1. (am 1/2 thru that, very nice, mostly Nuria Rial, who i knew from her Belinda.. and of course the prereq of 2 CTs.. but i would say you can hear the diff between Nuria Rial’s use of dynamics and what i find a bit uniform for Bridelli (as we discussed earlier… Rial is at least 12-13yrs older than her)

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        1. Yes, Rial is aging nicely – she has been touted for so young as that young new Spanish singer that I was surprised to look at her recently and think, no, that is a lady about 40, and she is 100% Early Music and she does so much more in expression that ten or so years ago when she was marketed as cute and young and above all pleasant in sound.

          >

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            1. and if you think about, Rial has the less readily colored material: light, piercing, somewhat rounded. No lush dark corners anyway, no bronze shine. She does all that relatively small-scale coloring and dynamics, and the overall sense of phrase. And, I repeat, her ornamentation is some next-dimension wizardry. Not in the sense of spectacular (though it is), but in working it in in style.

              (the concert has lots of Calisto. Chronologically backwards, but I will not complain!)

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            2. i would have loved very much if it was Bridelli singing that Ermione’s aria… but that 2nd CT..
              I do like it though that she (Bridelli) is now singing with quite a few early music group and expanding in connection! (and duetting with wonderful in-voice sopranos along the way.. too bad in this one she does not have any number with Rial)

              As for Rial, i can’t tell about the voice the way you can, but the only thing i *really* noticed was that it “works”! from a listening perspective, it is truly 3D , you can listen to her for hours because she makes things very vivid.

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            3. Oh, you mean Lucidissima face, with the major pining factor? That would have been home turf for her. Let’s see whether she goes Early Music, whether she gets lured into 19th century (also depending on how her voice will grow), or whether she will do “best of both worlds”. I am seriously rechecking her calendar

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            4. lovely concert overall.
              And you neglected to mention that Bridelli’s first piece is the “Little Satyr chasing after the Cougar Nymph” scene. Visse sang it with Jacobs, there was also a CT in Strasbourg. I have never heard it done with a mezzo.

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            5. (oh, but i wouldn’t know 🙂 , this whole array of music, except for that bit by Ermione, is new to me.. , and i hope i spelled the character’s name right.)

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            6. Endimione? (our focus was clearly more Diana/Calisto)
              (hey, I botching up ucano/Lurcanio last night)

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          1. On my way! (still cleaning up here)

            On a side note, I wonder how Agathe is doing at the JDD concert, with DiDonato in full world-saving mode and all.

            >

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