The Strasbourg “Calisto” (2017) Liveblogging Thread

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Welcome to the White Shirt live comment thread for Cavalli’s “La Calisto”, staged by Mariame Clément and conducted by Christophe Rousset, live from Opéra du Rhîn Strasbourg.

Cast Listing:
Calisto – Elena Tsallagova
Eternità, Diana – Vivica Genaux
Giove – Giovanni Battista Parodi
Mercurio – Nikolay Borchev
Endimione – Filippo Mineccia
Destino, Giunone – Raffaella Milanesi
Linfea – Guy de Mey
Satirino – Vasily Khoroshev
Natura, Pane – Lawrence Olsworth-Peter
Silvano – Jaroslaw Kitala

The production is livestreamed from Strasbourg via Culturebox, according to Vivica Genaux, and is hopefully not geoblocked.

Libretto: Italian (pdf). No other languages available, I’m afraid, but Culturebox might have subtitles.

297 thoughts on “The Strasbourg “Calisto” (2017) Liveblogging Thread”

      1. oh, thank you! i had to turn it off.. because whenever i do it live i lost the ability to hear (it took over my audio). Hope you’re recovering well from flu. Perhaps you could also tell me which program you used for capture? I use iShowU which does a fabulous job, but i can never listen live at the same time due to lost audio…

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        1. What I use (Mac since 1990): Opera (never a flash problem before) and Roxio Toast (the later versions have an easy to use Screen capture feature additional to the burn and a lot of other features included). The good thing is that unlike other programs it records the system sound without any detours, which means you can either listen to the sound while you record or can turn off the speakers if you use external ones. More by email

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        1. right just managed to push a button, did not hear or see much (ears and nose blocked, eyes watery) but what I heard was really beautiful, thank you for the tipp Anik. Copy turned out fine too.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. the “like” was for the fine copy. sorry to hear about the ears/nose/eyes problem, sounds like me at Carnegie Hall 2 days ago! (minus ears issue, thank the mezzo/contralto god).

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          2. That is perhaps what they call a blind copy? 😉 I hope you’ll feel better soon; at the moment, it seems half of the city is under the weather.

            >

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    1. Give her an hour to fall in love with him.

      …also, oh, five minutes in and already two lady singers in ties. 😉

      (it is so strange to hear this and not have it be the Jacobs version which I must have worn out in the late 90s)

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  1. …and the zoo personnel behaves like a couple of boarding school students?
    Wait, I’ll stick with the doc in the labcoat.

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    1. we need to get through entitled male gods propositioning the lesbian first.

      (I like the outfit choices so far. Also nice work by the light dpt.!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ingenue in trenchcoat approaching. Now this could go a variety of ways

    (trying to free the bear was not what I predicted, but okay…)

    Cavalli recorders…. siiigh.

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          1. Jove (tophat guy) and his wingman Mercury plot to seduce Calisto. Since she says no to him and is an Amazon/Diana nymph, Mercury has the great idea that Jove should dress up as Diana, who is Calisto’s boss (and also, it turns out, her secret crush). PLot works out, but then hijinks ensue when Mrs. Jove finds out, and also when the actual Diana (Genaux) enters the mix.

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  3. He did NOT just do the DonG “Odor di femmina” sniff!!

    But dressing Jove like a Maurce Chevalier/Heesters rip-off is pretty good as a setting.

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  4. Tsallagova transports extremely well here – middle a bit later Mozartean, but projection very early-music compatible, very Harnoncourt-cast choice. Very focused and front-placed. Like!

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        1. well, technically, it’s “Sworn Amazon Virgin” (so… gay).
          I think Jove only believes in nymphs who haven’t med the right God Of Thunder yet, and not in women who could possibly not want him.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I love Calisto’s initial “Are you kidding me?” glances, and then asking Merury, “Is he for real?”
      Good switch from fun to threatening there in the scene set-up.

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          1. apart from that it does things to me to see queer female desire expressed on an opera stage without being demonized, the next best thing about this are the faces Genaux is pulling. – In stitches!

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        1. MUCH better. but I’ve only ever seen this on two occasions (once with the actual Diana, once with a female singer cast as ‘fake Diana’)

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  5. now for some Endynion lamenting.
    Which is very cute, and could only be improved my mezzo casting.

    So far, I also like Mercurio’s voice, and Mineccia fits in here better than as Ottone, I think.

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    1. though actually the Diana/Endimione plot is cute, in that she is not allowed to sleep with anyone (Goddess of Chastity), and he accepts that and does not try to trick her into anything. He gets hazed by all the creatures in the wood who are also after Diana (most of all, Pane), but she looks ut for him and appears in his dreams.

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          1. Linfea is the older woman sung by the tenor (Guy de Mey). Older follower of Diana, Nutrice-type, of course also Amazon sworn virgin, of course also somewhat flexible when it comes to that.
            The Furry Guy was Satirino, a young satyr trying his luck with her.

            And this one now is Pane, Goat God of the Wood, who is also on love with Diana, with his posse.

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  6. Les talens lyriques are really fabulous here, and Diana (Cavalli) is a wonderful fit for Genaux. I didn’t know how this would work out – lots of recit melisma – but it sounds wonderful.

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      1. true, but just the point to get this vocalized at all is already more than the entire 19th century does in terms of queer visibility in opera.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. What I really, really like about the staging so far is that Clément is not playing anyone for laughs – not the seduction of Calisto with a bad-drag show, not Diana’s “I would love to but I can’t” hesitancy faced with Endimione, not Calisto’s affections, not even Linfea in her role as an older huntress/nutrice-type.

    Look at this bit now how Linfea is NOT turned into laughing stock, but gets to tell the jokes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that, too, but it is the core animal of the Diana cult (maidenhood/bear => power, link to nature, etc.)

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    1. as long he doesn’t start sticking needles into it, yes.

      But so far, every character who is in love with another has been taken seriously in their approach (with the exception of Jove, who, one cold argue, is not in love but want to abuse a position of power).

      …when Pane has to sing louder, I am stuck on “does he do this on purpose or is this some vocal limit?”

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  8. I also don’t think I’ve ever heard the satyrs played and sung softly, like a misunderstood hippie kink community in the outdoors that just want to be loved.

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        1. I heard him like as Ottone first, and he was a bit…featherweight javelin?
          This here, where he does not have to push (and Rousset is doing some magic with colors without overpowering), is really good. A sound to relax into.

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      1. siiiigh.
        I have never seen/heard an Endymion who was not a CT.

        BUT I think Lucidissima face is included in that Bridelli/Flores Cavalli concert. If one would like a mezzo/soprano version.

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          1. but i did sit through that entire Bridelli/Flores concert and didn’t hear this! clearly need to hear again… (i mean not what Genaux is singing now, but that aria he started the 2nd act..)

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          2. you were right, Lucidissima Face is Not in there, but “Docissimi baci”, which is the finale D/E number. Also, “T’aspetto e tu non vieni”

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    1. you’re back in time for Goddess contemplating a sleeping human male she is crushing on (also a change of perspective, usually the women get gazed at, here it is a female character talking about looking at a man).

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    1. and Genaux gets quite an acting scope here – from smitten goddess to scheming Jove to lots of fun reactions faces.

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          1. See, another one defying the mezzo/soprano gaps! *coughgreekpiningshepherdastronomerscough*
            I wish she would have gotten more lines in, that was some El-Greco bold styling range there. I am still transfixed by that crescendo that I thought I was imagining for the first few seconds. Ah, the things possible with a small, sensitive band!

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  9. Juno (who looks like she has been considering options other than men, but hasn’t got farther than Scotch yet) and Calisto commiserating over a drink: YES PLEASE.

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  10. am definitely here for mezzo Jove with a cigar bragging about her romantic adventures.
    — How much fun is Genaux having there?

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  11. first making out with Diana, now cuddling up to Juno: for some Amazon lost in the woods, Calisto sure has interesting encounters.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I would also listen to this Drag Jove and his Mrs. rehash the Rose Wars for three hours. And then gif all of Genaux’s reaction faces.

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  13. I think the only voice I don’t warm up to in this is really Pane, probably because his tone production is much more pressure-heavy in comparison to everyone else.

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      1. yes, especially in comparison to the voices of the other satyrs – Satirino sounds downight smooth, like a little overwhelmed wood Cherubino, and the rest of his entourage also sang softly, with more ease in the line. Curious question.

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    1. de Mey! (God, why do I keep saying Banks? Sorry!!)
      vocally, yes, but also what he does scenically: not ridiculing his character, but giving her dignity, even if it is a comedy part.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. we have a growing list of women who deserve better here (and who thus should simply start dating each other)

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  14. Dropping in on my five-minute break to see how you’re all enjoying this.

    I’m intrigued by the comments about the staging and apparent lack of caricature for roles (particularly drag roles) usually played for laughs. That will make this more watchable for me. 🙂

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    1. also: gay ladies being gay (one. we still need to have another Scotch talk with Juno)
      Also some really neat stage ideas, good scenery, and really good lights.

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    1. at least she doesn’t die. Bear Stars forever?
      (but yes, it would be nice to have a happy end for her, given as she’s just about the only open queer female in opera other than Geschwitz, where even I cannot think up a happy ending
      (I possibly did once write a Calisto story).

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  15. Juno looks like — HOLY smoke that crescendo Milanesi did just now! –
    Juno looks like she doesn’t actually want to kill Calisto as much as date her herself. That is a little too much passion there.

    Also, a wider point/comment on of women turning against each other within patriarchal entrapment?

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      1. can we please cast Milanesi in something Early Baroque where she is the queen of everything, plans a lot of intrigues, and also marries a princess in the end?

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    1. was just thinking.. of the several options.. why beat up on the innocence? yes, female characters beating up on each other while male ones skate free.. perhaps it’s meant to show a small twist there with how Juno is in so much anguish

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    1. yeah – “once you die you will be a star, but sorry, can’t meddle with Juno, so you still have t live your life as a bear beforehand”.
      Thanks to Clément for not making that look like a happy ending for Calisto.

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  16. Ugh, Jove smoking and Calisto on her knees, but so far it is free of love declarations. And she clearly is stressed out at having to live as a bear again and is pretty much done with both these guys who ruined her life.

    And she seems not happy at all here, perhaps impressed by the stars…? And this pose she took on for “Dolce amor mio” now was the one she took on earlier in reference to Diana?.

    As Agathe said: *sniff*

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  17. Oh, I had forgotten, the CT is still tied to the bear cage. Well, to each their kinks.
    (is this scene set in the zoo again, or is it still Endymion-Pane-Diana?)

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  18. She doesn’t seem to be a goddess here, but I guess those two have some other obstacle. I think it is a good idea to switch levels here, make it more generalized.

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    1. so that would mean the bear was the representation of all unconventional/marginalized desires, and gets killed in the end?

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  19. So Endymion gets the binoculars so he can always get a good look at the mezzos in the opera, eh, the stars and Diana in the sky, and the bear is a poor lab rat that Calisto is addressing instead of Jove?

    (I call her breaking free the bear in the last moment!)

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      1. the bit with Endymion agreeing to love Diana from a far: no, that is in the libretto,
        Killing the bear in the lab isn’t!!

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          1. me either. I’ll have to check the replay to see whether I can make some sense of it for myself.

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      1. well, props to any CT who can pull off this headgear:

        and in CT news: Culturebox will be streaming the Fagioli-Semiramide. Which I am genuinely curious about, and I really cannot imagine how that will work out. (afterwards, I’ll probably bury myself in the Munich video for the reminder of the night, but that’s personal preferences)

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        1. I thought in the beginning: he is aging very well.
          and yes, this was all very elegant and intimate and gentle, with great detail in the colors… loved it.

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          1. yes, me too. that was a very intelligent set-up, good images and solutions, not glossing over gaps in understanding (e.g. gender politics) for today’s audiences, and my favorite part was really the “taking each character serious in their motivations”. Looking forward to seeing more of her work.

            Liked by 1 person

  20. So goodnight, I have a tough three days to come with whole-day seminars from dusk till dawn, uff…
    It was great to watch this together, will definitely revisit this!

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  21. good night to both of you. i now go finish the review.. that was due last friday, music first of course. Thanks Anik for bringing this to our attention! super lovely evening!

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        1. just seeing I will have a houseguest Sun night already – I will have to talk to him about his plans, I hope I can make our Poppea date (or rather, Nerone date).

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          1. may be postpone after all, then? Because I would really like to be able to hear every last inflection.

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          2. later date? and we could coordinate with Agathe?
            (sorry to spring this on you, but perhaps better for the audio anyway…?)

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          3. whichever dates working is ok with me. i am now drinking boiling soup in 30•C hoping to fix the nose.. and have no traveling plan anywhere until august… but i might sneak peek if we are waiting out the Ariodante euro run 🙂

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          4. you and me both!
            (am also coming down with a cold, btw. Keeping Brigitte company!)
            I have guests Sat-Thu, then Ariodante on Fr, would be free Saturday 🙂

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          5. sunday 14/may is ariodante in hamburg 🙂
            (oh no, sorry about the cold.. well we will be all drinking soup and enjoying the last few really lovely mezzo experience, with more to come on your side of the atlantic! everyone of you better take care of health, we dont want any of you sick when the show rolls into town!

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          6. well, if Agathe is game the night BEFORE Ariodante, I will be game the night AFTER Ariodante. Might be SwaggerOverload weekend, but who cares?

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          7. ahhhh i get it now, sorry, i kept thonking there is one more weekend until 14/may… better get going with my paper revision! but let us see. else we just do the week after? while i sneak peek a few more times 😀

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          8. May 20th I have a reception to attend, but could to 19th or 21st. (or 16th, 17th, 18th…)

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          9. also, back to this sunday. just in case you can make it live, i have navigated a way to record and hear at the same time 🙂 . i’ll record audio and video separately. that should do the trick.

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          10. (ps- yep, just tested, works like a charm, audio and video separately, then i’ll just have to practice putting them back together 🙂 . but we’re set. just whichever dates work for you (both?) is ok with me. even weekdays might work.. avoid wednesday)

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          11. now we just need to make sure (test run on the 5th) SWR doesn’t have geoblocking. Great!
            If not, I’ll try to bribe our IT person into letting me install said software and I’ll be in the office Sunday night to catch it.
            I will ask my guests about plans and get back to you about dates.

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          12. Ariodante is Sunday, on Saturday I have late arriving guests, so I could maybe make the first half.
            Btw, I’d love to liveblogg the Hallenberg Aggripina if available, looks very good! (sorry, don’t have the energy to find the right reply position for this, after a day of seminar…yawn).

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          13. I think the Hallenberg Aggripina is not actually around because if not we’d have heard the squealing about it by now.
            I’m still juggling dates with my guests for the upcoming weekend (“here’s the map and the keys, have a fun Sunday night out, I need to be on the computer and watch live opera”), but will get back to you two on dates as soon as I have that figured out.

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          14. Postpone to a later time or date would be better for me as well, because I probably couldn’t have made the 6 pm anyway. But I’m not sure I can draw level with your amount of fangirling on this, so, go ahead what suits you best and I’ll try to make it!

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