The Stuttgart 1999 “Alcina” Liveblogging Thread

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Welcome to the White Shirt live comment thread for Handel’s “Alcina”, staged by Jossi Wieler & Sergio Morabito and conducted by Alan Hacker.

Cast Listing:

Alcina – Catherine Naglestad
Ruggiero – Alice Coote
Bradamante – Helene Schneiderman
Morgana – Catrona Smith
Oberto – Claudia Mahnke
Oronte – Rolf Romei
Melisso – Michael Ebbecke

The production has been issued as a DVD, but it is also available via YT (easy to find, but fell free to ask for directions if you need any).

Libretto: French, Italian, German & English booklet scan (pdf). Italian (pdf).

469 thoughts on “The Stuttgart 1999 “Alcina” Liveblogging Thread”

    1. and I have the Sr. Valkyrie (5) sitting next to me saying “I cannot wait! All the theatres on your videos are so great, like Cenerentola”
      (= yay, please extend my bedtime, I don’t care how!)

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      1. The Staatsoper production of Hänsel und Gretel is maybe too cruel I think ? We had a very nice, kids friendly version here and my son asked to go again next year. Currently, both my kids love JDD as Elena in “the kilt show” (Kids are so conservative, sigh).

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  1. I think ever since that first hair back – dark glasses – back shot with hands in pockets, I have unquestioningly had a weakness for Helene Schneiderman.

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        1. well, this turned GSS quickly.
          One one hand, Naglestad is a class on her own when it comes to acting. On the other hand, a professional enough artist surely would find a way to work with such n intelligent concc…..

          wait, can’t see my glasses are fogging up.

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        1. (don’t distract me 😉 )
          (but i’ve seen how much staging changes with casts down the line, like that Capuleti, looks almost nothing like the original version i saw… or even how it was b/t Ruggiero and Alcina in Wien)

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          1. I wonder how a queer mezzo would even be able to focus on keeping higher brain functions here, less alone sing.

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  2. True story on Coote onstage: When I first saw this, I was uncertain for the first two acts whether Ruggiero was sung by a man or by a woman.

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      1. i’ve surprisingly survived very well so far, i guess that last time i sat through this was a good thing, some 1 year ago where i got distracted on so many levels…

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  3. taking a breath after that aria: the moment where Coote’s Ruggiero is all of us.

    (hand me that ice bucket. Hand me all the ice buckets)

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    1. hehe.

      I really like all the character paintings here – Oberto not reaching Morgana anymore in the background, Ruggiero just floating on a hormone high, Melisso with his gloves to the side a quiet menace, and Bradamante too close to him in talking politics… and also Oberto, with his oversized 90s pullover and struggling awkwardly with hormones. All so well staged.

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  4. Excuse me, Schneiderman with a sword coming to the rescue of the soprano, but always with doubts, always gray and never black and white… (her voice is light for a Bradamante, but I like how she employs it here)

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  5. GOD, Coote really nails that “I barely put on this shirt and the lead soprano will tear it off me again as soon as I finish this recit, thanks” mood.

    (she is so young here… wow)

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    1. It’s strange, and I seem to be the only one with this reaction, but I don’t really like this Ruggiero (the character, not Coote!), he reminds me a bit of the ACA Nerone, immature, arrogant, carefree for the feelings of others. Maybe not how he is meant to be, but that’s what is arriving in my brain.

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      1. perhaps I like him so much here because I don’t seem him coldly ditching Alcina after he gets the ring? He struggles so hard to leave her and he fails.

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        1. But does he suffer for her, because he breaks her heart, or rather for his own loss? Just a thought, I really should not judge before I have re-watched this more carefully.

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          1. I would say it is both? of course he is self-preoccupied, but he is unable to deal with her pain (of course, taking the cowardish way out with trying to look away, but the conflict and guilt is visible) – it is there in the recit before “Ma quando tornerai”, but it is very evident in how he cannot look at her during “Non è amor, n’è gelosia” and rebuffs her because he cannot handle her pain – the way we may yell at somethng that scares us, perhaps.

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      2. i see him exactly as you describe, with the smirk on his face. but that is one valid way to portray the character no? and as Anik replied, the difference is in how he reacted after seeing the ring, because a 1d person (or actress) would not be able to bring across the torment he felt during “sta nell’ircana”. i really like how that aria is portrayed. they purposely skip the bit of Bradamante and Melisso being present and acting all gung-ho, to give a glimpse of Ruggiero’s inner turmoil.

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        1. Yes, that Sta nell’Ircana as inside despair and trying to convince himself!
          I also see him as a victim of patriarchy here (hurts men, too – just usually doesn’t kill them- but here it nearly does, because he doesn’t want to be a rational killer, plus he defies the ‘being in control’, especially as a man interacting with a woman, and even more especially pertaining to sex)

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            1. a bit more reflected that Octavian even, who is measured, so much a product of his privileged environment (not that I wouldn’t love him dearly, but…)

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            2. for context: please check the “Pur ti stringo” post further down, especially the photos linked in the comments, then come back here and PLEASE tell me you can capture this.

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            3. ah ok, i did watch that video! and heard how similar the music was to end of Poppea.. but didn’t get to the photos.. will do so when i wake up! (or may be now 🙂 )

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          1. ps- and now i see exactly why they moved that Bradamante way to the front to let Bradamante being hell-bent on tradition picture more clear, then to allow for this sequence “ma quando tornerai” + “sta nell’ircana” at the end. super like!

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            1. exacly the kind of smart dramaturgy to further a plot/a reading (not just done to cut an opera shorter – eyeing you, ROH Semiramide – or appear novel)

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      3. as you were citing ACA Nerone, to me they’re both very young and immature. Nerone also suffered growth stunt in my view… This one is simply young and spoilt, more so from A.Coote’s appearance, though i think it’s her acting strength that carries across. This kid can’t even make any decision, being “yanked” back and shoved on a tux for marriage because somebody said so. His only reason to Alcina was “it’s my duty”, repeat like a parrot as we say in Vietnamese, for those who say things without knowing exactly what they say but because being shoved the text into the brain. His instinct is clearly to stay with Alcina, hence the difficulty to put on the boots.

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        1. What they both have – and it is an interesting comparison in that regard – is an intemperate honesty in knowing what they want and going after it. In Nerone, it is framed as morally lacking, but ultimately victorious. In Ruggiero, it is painted as morally lacking in. Sense that it does not make him bad, but needs to be overcome as a right of passage, and it is ultimately vanquished (or, in this production, not entirely, but he hasn’t stood up for it)

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        2. Oh, thank you, that makes a lot of sense, and “spoilt” is a very fitting description of how I perceive him, and I think I just have a personal dislike for that. But, also, so far I have not really considered that the character is supposed to undergo a development throughout the story (the exact nature of which depends on the staging interpretation) and I may just have missed that a bit over blogging. Really have to re-watch!
          This “being put into a tux” reminds me again of the maternal vibe I see in the Bradamante-Ruggiero relationship and, as was said before by one of you, it is somewhat unclear why they have to be together in the first place.

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          1. then agian, that development – isn’t the development in this reading exactly what is being cast into doubt as something morally bad? To become a functioning wheel within society’s conventions, which means detaching yourself from your emotions and means hruting others and yourself in the process? is this staging asking “wouldn’t it be better if he didn’t change”? Especially since his engagement seems more like an arranged deal.

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            1. Yes, I already started to wonder about this morality question after your previous comment, very difficult question from a modern perspective and I’m not sure if this production takes a clear stance on this (which I like). Maybe Alcina and Ruggiero would have stayed a happy couple, maybe she would have become bored of him pretty soon, who knows, and clearly the people in their immediate surroundings and to some degree dependent on Alcina were not happy as it was… many layers.
              Also, thinking more about it, the character is supposed to change, but I don’t see much change in the sense of moral conviction in this Ruggiero after all, as you both said, he is easily influenced and pushed around by whoever puts most pressure on him, so maybe he really doesn’t change but just does not stand up for not changing.

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  6. but even with the cut aria: the work Coote does with the recit lines of “Alcina mia non viene?” or before the Oronte aria is incredible in terms of mood acting.

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  7. also: props to the gender-beding Oronte strip and then Ruggiero’s puzzled looks. (again: so good!)

    (oh, right, the 90s – the decade it was all the rage to strip down to one’s boxers on stage)

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  8. And that but of Alcina and Bradamante in the mirror, Ruggiero’s fanned doubts, and then walking in as if on a flirtative stroll – still the best framework for that Bradamante line I’ve ever seen. And Bradamante here know exactly what she’s doing.

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  9. And Bradamante watching “Sì son quella!” all scheming and lurking.
    And I really, really enjoy how Naglestad is adapting her more Verdian voice to Handel, especially in the more quiet arias. Of course her voice is bigger, but the way she moves for word accents, also in the recits, works well for Handel.

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  10. When I first watched this, I never realized how subversively gay it was in painting all the m/f relationships as fraught with gendered violence, and only Alcina and Ruggiero escaping that (only to get poisoned by the surrounding heteropatriarchy)

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    1. Totally agreed. And if we’re talking about the Ruggiero ties up Bradamante scene, I was struck by how gay it was at face value too. Ruggiero still thinks Bradamante is a dude at this point, and it seemed more than a little kinky.

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    1. she is protesting too little?

      Also, Morgana is just so GONE over her. well done, reminds me of the more giddy Petibon take here.

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        1. that gun as a “What do you have hidden in there” and playing with the phallic reference and masculinized violence – it’s another very small moment, but very, very poignant.

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      1. yes. *sigh*
        but I like that it is never clear cut, always doubts, being pulled in two directions.

        And here, Bradamante with Ruggiero is scheming at all times, with the exceptions of very few outbreaks. With Morgana, she has a clean slate and just reacts.

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    1. and now Melisso breaks it steps through it! Great moment!

      (it is such a simple idea, and it is SO great as a vehicle to show subtexts. My favorite is for Mi lusinga)

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    1. vocally, Ebbecke is not a good fit for this repertory, but he is quite a presence here, with constantly being on stage and with acting all that underlying (and overt) brutality.

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    2. so often this aria is kind of pointless, but here it is clear that Melisso is in charge and it’s a bit “the patriarchy just sent you a severed horse’s head, Ruggiero”.

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  11. Melisso such a scary abusive paternal/teacher figure in this production, and particularly in this scene. Always makes me want to vomit. Totally toxic.

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          1. kind of doomed as a couple – “tried to shoot your fiancée while thinking she was a male rival for the affection of the woman you’re actually in love with”.

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      1. although she is kind of shady in this production, too, at least when it comes to Ruggiero. Very much bent on following convention at all cost. I never get the feeling that she is passionately in love (that, only Alcina, Ruggiero, Morgana), only that she is willing to kill for the vision of life she has set up for herself.

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          1. more than any other, yes.
            (With exception of the Böhm Figaro with TeKanawa and the Drottningholm Giardiniera. Those come close)

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            1. (i meant her first, and now the cute mezzo with the cute hair and gorgeous phrasing 2nd..)
              (oh, is that Alcina and Bradamante in the frame dancing?)
              (oh wowowoooow, suppper wonderful Alcina in jacket too ❤ ,)

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    1. yes. I think it is this scene – we see scenes from Ruggiero’s mind: Bradamante and Alcina in swapped clothes, and then the two fo them together as a couple.

      Which means NAGLESTAD IN A SUIT tossing a look over her shoulder for a moment… well, if hadn’t (barely) known I was gay back then, I would sure have known at that instant. No, wait, I would have known that during “Dì, cor mio”.

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  12. This foursome scene is also flawless – Alcina trying for Ruggiero and persecuted by a mad Morgana, who wants Bradamante, Ruggiero overwhelmed in the middle, and Bradamante as an animal marked simply by the fact that she is on the floor curled up earing cherries.

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    1. still poindering the sister power dynamics here and how Alcina steps over everyone when it comes to Ruggiero, and whether that rates as a quality, and how Morgana steps up for Bradamante… and what actually happens/happened between Bradamante and Alcina?

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      1. This is totally interesting – it doesn’t seem to explicitly exist in the narrative, but this production spends a lot of time with the sisters when things go badly for them. Despite being the younger sister, Morgana seems to be the caregiver (again very Gabrielle/Kes). To me, it reads like another way of illustrating Alcina’s habit of using the people around her. Morgana’s basically gonne through a similar emotional betrayal, but Alcina is the sister who demands emotional care.

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        1. yes, Alcina definitely as demanding emotional care.
          If you think it from the end where they end up together and are ostracized, you can find a lot more sister situations in the dramaturgy.

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  13. oh, the detail work between BRadamante and Morgana n the floor, and even though Ruggiero wants to move closer, there is always still Alcina and how Coote just held that piano and how Bradamante is not pushing away Morgana who actually cares about her and how Ruggiero is saying “Mo non a te” to BRADAMANTE and the way Alcina looks at him —

    all the position work, like Ruggiero moving in between Morgana and Bradamante and those two keep looking at each other…

    ASDFGHKL!!!

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  14. Alcina as an irresistible sensual force, Ruggiero not being over her at all, Bradamante considering Morgana —
    All you need is four women in one room and it’s endless possibilities (and no one needs no CT…!!)

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            1. no, sadly i’ll miss Prina… timing was just too close and yet too far apart, i very likely won’t manage to catch them in the US.. (i’ll ponder more when i get back..) we’re running after the contraltos frolicking in woods (quote is from Anik’s review from Bremen several years ago..)

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            2. i’m now searching for flights to NY to chase after Ariodante.. realizing this might be the last in a long time before we get such a cast again…

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            3. in light of recent casting choices, yes (but I still have to see a CT Ariodante. Perhaps a tricky part for that?)

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            4. ja, i also sent link of JDD.. friends said they’d like to come.. and i just got my plane tix.. yay! now indeed it would be fun to trace this tour across continents, me on this side, you + Dehggi + Agathe on your side :-).

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            5. we should draw up a list and compare – wasn’t one of us also showing up in Kansas? I think we pretty much have that tour WS covered. 🙂

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            6. yes, i think our bloggo WS friend in Los Angeles is coming to Kansas? Someone mentioned it on here i thnk.. i looked at tix there, but flying + trying to figure out how to get from airport into city without a car is too much for me.. while in NY there’s a subway system and direct flight. hurrah.

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            7. let’s see, we’ve got:
              Ann Arbor
              Kansas City – convered
              NY City – covered
              Washington DC
              Vienna – covered
              Hamburg – covered
              London – covered (I assume Dehggi is going?)

              So… any White Shirts traveling to or already on-site in Washington DC or Ann Arbor (there should be enough queer musicologists in Ann Arbor…?)?

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            8. Didn’t see Paris listed on JDD’s website right now, unless there are more dates after London?

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            9. they’re just going to be sneeering at each other all night long and it will be magnificient (and you’ll walk out wondering wheter Polinesso was crushing on Ariodante all along)

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            10. though we’ll be sooooo far away it’d be almost impossible to see.. that hall is very big, some 2000 seats? and we’ll be at top top level.. no fear, i’ll keep my ears sharp for flirting.
              oh wow, i searched again, that hall can take 2800 people..

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            11. or, well, we’ll do Nesi/Hallenberg whenever you’re back from frolicking with contraltos in the woods!

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            12. (so, i have a friend working *right* next to Carnegie hall… i should have asked her a long time ago… in any case, trying to recruit her + wife to join the rocking Prina + JDD show…)

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            13. I have in-laws visiting, so skipping next week would be good for me, too – but then Nesi & Hallenberg the week after!

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            14. (ps- perhaps you both can pick something i could afford to miss for that weekend? 🙂 , but that and the next i’m chasing mezzos + contraltos… so next avail for me would be 6/May)

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            15. okay, so it is May 6th, then?
              (though we could think about switching May 6th to the livefeed on the 7th, but that is at a really inconvenient time)

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            16. 6 p.m., vid livestream of Poppea from Schwetzingen with La Venexiana and Giuseppina Bridelli (see detox post blow and particularly the photos linked in the comments) as NERONE.

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            17. would you be so kind and post a comment at the bottom of this entire post with the link? i’m having a hard time gathering info now… too many posts, too many scattered comments…

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            18. All right 6th, (7th 6 pm would be more difficult for me). Too bad we have such troubles finding dates, but live performances first… 🙂

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            19. so that looks more like capturing the 7th and watching it later? – I could work around my guests, but 6 p.m. is not a parent leisure hour… I might sneak a few peeks, but would be willing to wait.

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            20. Well, last time when I tried live stream blogging with Rodelinda during kids wake hours there was some significant trouble with the offspring demanding usual bedtime attention… But, this performance seems to be something special from the sound of it 😉 (did not have time yet to have a closer look), so we could try.
              I have now lost overview about dates, were you talking about 22nd and 29th of April or May? If thadieu is unavailable on many dates we could in the meantime also ask Anna if she wants to choose something. Or do the Petibon Lulu.

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            21. The 22th and 29th, thadieu is off to live performances, so the next possible date would be May 6th.
              We were pondering to move it to May 7th (6pm) to catch the Poppea live.

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            22. You go ahead with the 6pm livestream if it’s important to you, I just can’t say yet whether I’ll be able to follow along because of the kids.

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            23. check the post that will go up in about an hour, and then let us know how we can best bribe your kids. 😉

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            1. Sometimes I wonder with what sound ideal in mind she has been educated because she really goes for that CT sound at several points (how/when she opens up notes, whether she holds them in..)

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  15. Oberto is all “okay she is heartbroken, but still so hot”, Oronte is “how do I work this in my favor?”, Morgana is “oh, so when it’s YOUR love life, it matters?” (nice turnabout there), and Alcina is “my mezzo is leaving me this is the end of the world!”

    But the staging also manages to make the scene a lot about the sisters (a relationship often falling to the wayside in productions – they are a unit that sticks together in the end), and also there is Morgana’s quiet heartbreak when she she realizes that Bradamante is not an option any longer and she dolls herself up to get back into her abusive relationship with Oronte.

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    1. this is the scene where I only remember afterwards that this is the one with the dress moment, and I always miss it because I am too stuck on her acting.

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            1. yes, after sta nell’Ircana, I think. It is possible Naglestad needed a longer break here? Look, they added in a sip of water or her before Ombre pallide. And another nice moment of sister dynamics.

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        1. she should have stayed in a suit, or taken a cue from this Alcina, these dresses are really… well, I won’t be having problems with a locked jaw here.

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      1. hahaa.
        but another interesting point that she tries to to him back to her by copying what Alcina did: sex, perhaps not realizing that sex was a different holistic plane there?

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        1. Currently he is asleep, which is excellent (he has a wee cold and has been very fussy when I try to get him down for naps), but we had a dance party to the Oronte aria earlier. So verdict: Alcina is great for dancing and relaxing and it is also entertaining when the grownup sings along badly to it.

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    1. dress can mean stabilit? Or at least faking it?

      (it is so curious not hear phrases like “Non ha possanza?” in such a huge voice. (though she pulls back afterwards for the rest of the recit))

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      1. it’s a pity that with her fach, she’s never be staged in a male part because with her acting chops, I’d be really curious to see how she’d go about embodying power dynamics with a gender twist.

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      1. oh, she has those. Makes her Verdi interesting. (I traveled on more than one occasion to catch her in things). well, *made* it interesting – I think she doesn’t sing anything lighter than Tosca these days? Mostly dramatisch now, with Salome and Sieglinde and Senta…

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  16. having Morgana mirror Alcina here is actually a great idea insofar as Morgana, jsut as well, just got her heart broken. (and look how she is on her own desolate plane in the end here!)

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  17. how interesting, the shape and width of opening of bottom of a skirt tells quite a bit about the person.. i never notice how clear it is until just now when 3 of them interlaying each other

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    1. yes.
      And this nightmare ballet on heteronormativity is a great way to show case that.
      it starts again with the four women alone: a space of possibility. and then it goes to hell in a handbasket.

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    2. Ruggiero is actually the bartered bride here and gets no say, Melisso is the embodiment of the patnernal masculinity system that kills him (mirroring how in the Orlando, the prophecy is that he will get killed young and leave Bradamante a widow)

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        1. oh, i interpret it differently, that he said “that’s enough, go burn it” , but i think that’s what you mean? he helped her put on the last knot to go to incinerator?

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      1. it is the next of the killer dresses as in “designed to kill the audience and also the poor mezzo in front of it, no matter their prior orientation”.

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          1. it is kind of silly, but I think they already maxed out on cleavage in Act II. I don’t care what she is wearing, I am definitely not immune. 🙂

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            1. jeah, that’s what i mean, rubbing into his nose, in a bitter way.. judging by how in this particular sta nell’ircana he’s throwing away his duty shoes to put back on the ones she loves…

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            2. I thought it’s letting go of the lover’s patent lather of earlier, and getting back into military garb with the utility boots and the sword?

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            3. i might need to sit through a couple more time, omg, i can’t believe how much i love this staging. clearly the first 2 times i was waaaaay too distracted by Alcina’s dress to know *anything*

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            4. actually, these dresses are nicer (and more creative) than some of the Verdian (and Mozartean) underwear/nightwear conventions.

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          1. RE dresses, I think the cool thing about them is how she seems to wear them for herself, because she likes them, not for Ruggiero or anyone else. (and they are really creative, yes)

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            1. ja, but i wasn’t sure if she wears them for herself.. somehow it gave me the impression she “thinks” this is how to seduce and wore that first dress.. of course it works, but i recall yesterday while watching also thinking of the mentality where girls/women use this to show their “worth” instead of thinking having “clever mind” as the main attractive-tool (probably also doesn’t work in this society..)

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            2. Apart from that it is a huge social problem – wouldn’t it still be different if she wore them for power instead of for appealing to someone?

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            3. ja, i thought about that too.. although she seemed rather broken and collapsing, hence it gave me that impression somehow. I can still try to work that fine fine suit she wore into context too..

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            4. Maybe it’s a mixture of reasons? But I think I got the impression it’s not her primary goal to seduce by physical appearance because she wasn’t wearing a lot of make-up and also the hair style was rather unobtrusive.

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            5. And she deals so confidently in power.
              She may draw some of that power, or showcase it, through attire, but it’s never more than underlining the presence she already has.

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          1. YES! All doubts and negotiating, nothing clear-cut, not even at this point.

            (and Agathe is right: Great hair here.)

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    1. This aria is branded for me now – and I have seen this Stuttgart take MANY times. But right now? It is the air in the Vienna Staatsoper again, and the poison in the Scotch, the attempted dance on her own, and it is that blend of melancholy and despair. I can recall the scent in the hall at that point of the night, and it is that same ache now. I could legit start crying over it all over again. (wow, didn't realize what an impact that scene made)

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  18. Alcina’s soft voice hen she asks him to kill Astolfo – very manipulative.
    And then the coming of age rite as using gendered violence and all but symbolically raping Alcina.

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  19. Alcina has the bridal bouquet, and Ruggiero is still kind of looking at her.

    (also a harsh moment; Alcina handing the bouquet back to Bradamante)

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    1. Ruggiero being asked to shot, and being unable, and Melisso killing Alcina in his place: genius.

      Also that small bit of Morgana running to Bradamante and Bradamante struggling with pushing her away.

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    1. and now for the second nightmare ballet where the whole bourgeois idyll goes to hell – Morgana doesn’t want Oronte after all, Melisso and Bradamante are a dangerous, also weirdly sexual, team, Ruggiero’s heart is not in the marriage… and the Ghost Alcina, invisible to all, is kind of through with conventional society.

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        1. Ahem. I submit that I have actually seen, with my own eyes, opera productions in the US that were not super heavy traditional stagings, and not borrowed from European houses even… 😛 But you all USian jet-set opera nerds need to swing by Glimmerglass and Santa Fe and even, good heavens, the Met once in awhile and support the side when they do something interesting, or the Powers That Be end by giving the gigs to the boring people.

          In other news, I see Naglestad (b. San Jose, CA) was supposed to do Salome at the Met last Dec but she bailed for health reasons, so we got Racette instead.

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          1. No, not US stagings in general (only as a tendency), but most of what the big houses do.
            But it’s logical, in a way: fewer houses, no public funding, and art form that is far more exotic to wider audiences. Most innovative US opera, as far as regie staging goes, happens, as far as I can tell, on the festival level or in smaller houses.

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          2. Yes, smaller houses/festivals like ‘glass and Santa Fe. And yes, like anywhere with limited public arts funding, really innovative stagings are financially risky if your mission is selling the art form in the middle of Otsego County, New York, even with the arty “summering” crowd on hand. So if US opera nerds really want the work of innovative directors, we have to show up for their stuff the first time around, big house or small. Otherwise the best we can hope for is that Zerbinetta occasionally gets the girl.

            The Met, being as big as it is (4k seats), has a slightly different brief and set of constraints. But fwiw, the last time I saw Alice Coote there, it wasn’t in Idomeneo or Rosenkavalier, but in Two Boys. Maybe that’s what they really have to offer — endless Zeffirelli Bohemes in exchange for giving the occasional new work a big splash.

            /soapbox 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. No, stay on that soapbox – you are right, of course.

              Guerrilla approach: sabotage every Zeffirelli Bohème with Musetta not bringing a muff, but penicillin, and running off with Mimì into the Parisian sunrise.

              >

              Liked by 1 person

          3. I would be totally down with a production where Musetta just rolls her eyes at the Hopeless Tragedy spiel and pulls out of her handbag a piece of moldy baguette and two train tickets to Davos.

            Liked by 2 people

    1. does anyone have any ice left? I could also use a scotch.
      Thanks for accepting this for a liveblog choice, it’s really my favorite.

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      1. absolutely love the staging ideas. your comments help a lot, but i think i’ve now more experience with stagings and possibilities.. back in 2010 mine was way too limited, both in “ideal voice” and “ideal portrayal”, whatever they mean, to absorb possibilities..

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        1. This was my first Alcina, yet I keep coming back to it with new angles (though since October, the Vienna one is a close second…)

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          1. i think any first “Alcina” can leave a long lasting impression because one is not tainted with “ideal” . But of course this being the first, i can see how that would have worked on my brain.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. another day, I will tell you my two favorite Naglestad stories from my own biography. One related to seeing her, and one to not seeing her. 🙂

              Liked by 2 people

            2. done! Thought no queueing at TADW – I thought it out: I will not include the Scipione in my season tickets, and will instead get two regular tickets Sept. 1st when the production will go on regular sale, ok?

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            3. yes. whatever you think is good, i go along :-). but may we get a side-seat near the stage? if possible? like up on the side with view of orchestra and such? 🙂
              (i heard Dehggi was also pondering Jan in Wien according to her latest or 2nd to latest post..)

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            4. I will try to get us something there, depending on what seats will still be available. Before Sept. 1st, the only way to get seats is via season tickets.

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            5. Ahaha.
              Yes, well, the things we do for MP and Hallenberg! and wouldn’t it be easier if they just put those two together again, I don’t care who plays what gender.

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            6. gosh, now you give me ideas…
              i mean, i don’t want to wish people ill, but i think a little “cold” in Jan for 2 to 3 CT’s are not that mean of a wish, is it? and several quick replacements? the mezzos are avail at all times now coz they haven’t received any phone calls yet…

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            7. he. Currently intendant in Stuttgart. Always stages together with his chief dramatic advisor, Sergio Morabito.

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          2. When you two were at the Vienna Alcina, another friend posted on Facebook the same day about being at the current run of this Alcina, and for a confused second I was so excited for you, thinking they were the same production. I’m glad the one you saw was also compelling!

            Liked by 1 person

          1. i think, if you haven’t done it already (?), it’s worth the effort that you’d write a post about ideas coming from this staging. THere were lots and lots of layers you mentioned.. would be really nice for deeper analyses.

            Liked by 3 people

            1. don’t tempt me.
              (I think this staging influences all my writing about Alcina, and about stagings, even, but if I find some time, I’d love to write an extra post on it)

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      1. of the Alcinas i’ve seen, i have to say this is by far my fav now. it makes you think so much more than the “typical” way. The Wien one is a bit “cutesy” but not psychologically deep at all, except how the singers can get something out of it.
        (but fav or not has a lot to do with how well the singers acted too. if this was done not so well i’m sure we would have not gotten the ideas across and come out thinking it’s confusing / done for the looks (dresses) )

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        1. yes, it would never have worked without this level of acting – but rom this perspective, can you see how at first I found the Vienna one a little shallow? It really hinges a lot on individual singer performance, it does not have such a deep concept. A nice framework with the Duchess, but it is not a a radical examinations of relationships and gendered violence…

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          1. nope, not at all. and i havent’ seen much in many other stagings, to be honest. I think we got a little somewhere with Madrid? but nothing like this. This is like the Paris Mitridate of depth.

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            1. there must be a reason while the only other show coming close to this level of reaction and appreciation from me is the Paris “Mitridate”

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        2. Last night was the first time I saw this from beginning to end, I had only watched sequences so far, focussing on the singing, so I only start to really connect to the staging now, and am so impressed by the strong character drawings. All those nuances, ambiguities, things you recognize, things you have difficulties to empathize with, all so very real… I can’t wait to watch it again, getting to know everyone better, an effect I usually only get with very good books, but, to this extend, rather rarely with opera. I think in opera the limited amount of time and given structure makes it difficult to get very deep into characters, so the connection of audiences to characters works mostly via the singing (and effectively so), but if that is combined with character concepts and acting you would even like to see without the singing, it just reaches a different level.

          Liked by 1 person

  20. I was sorry to miss the liveblog, but I watched this while on retreat last week and second absolutely everything here. Nagelstad was basically new to me and I was SO astounded by her. The staging, dramaturgy, Coote’s acting, all of it. So good. And of course me having to pick my chin up off the floor of my hermitage every 30 seconds. Can’t wait to watch it again with y’all’s thoughts and observations now in mind. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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