The Schwetzingen “Poppea” (2017) Liveblogging Thread (2.0)

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Welcome to the White Shirt live comment thread for Monteverdi’s “L’incoronazione di Poppea” from Schwetzingen (2017).

Since the spontaneous liveblog of this three weeks ago wasn’t quite as exhaustive as it could have been: once more, enjoy La Venexiana under Davide Pozzi and their cast in a sketched staging of “Bring your own costume and go for it”.

Cast List:
Giuseppina Bridelli – Nerone
Emanuela Galli – Poppea
Xenia Mejers – Ottavia
Filippo Mineccia – Ottone
Salvo Vitale – Seneca
Luca Dordolo – Lucano
Alberto Allegrezza – Arnalta
Alessio Tosi – Nutrice
Vittoria Giacobazzi – Virtù & Damigella
Lucia Cortese – Amore & Valletto
Riccardo Pisani – Soldato & Liberto
Silvia Rosati – Fortuna & Drusilla
Sophia Patsi – Cori
Massimo Altieri – Soldato, coro familiari
Davide Benetti – Mercurio & Littore

Libretto: Italian (pdf), Italian/English (pdf))

788 thoughts on “The Schwetzingen “Poppea” (2017) Liveblogging Thread (2.0)”

        1. transfers into how they handle text. those relaxed phrase ends and the casually smattering of ornaments..

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    1. you mean downloading a text file, then trick vlc to read in as subtitle 🙂 . otherwise perhaps you need to read on the side? or just go with the flow, coz they’re saying nonsense, and you can get the idea from their facial expressions (or with Nerone and Poppea… well..)

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    1. stay a little longer with the three ladies before the CT? (although this CT, in this role, fares pretty well: doesn’t have to push. And I still see him pining after Diana, so…)

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  1. this reminds me I need to get sunglasses.

    I don’t have too much experience with La Venexiana, and I don’t think ever under Pozzi, but they’re kind of between in Il Pomo d’Oro and Jacobs here – the voices are leaning towards Jacobs. Less perfect (probably also a question of money) in sheer technique, perhaps, but all with very clear, front. early-music projection. And idiomatically at home. And my favorite thing is how much they work from spoken line, with freer rhythm. The small-size band and the ‘purist’ approach reminds me more if ilpdo (I envy your Saturday plans, Agathe!)

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    1. SO Ottone (the one with the white roses) is a, as Anna (?) put it last time, Nice Guy ™. Poppea has told him no, and he can’t get over her, and now he’s under her window and bemoans the fact that she is sleeping with Nerone meanwhile (the guys in the matching lipstick/tie combo are his guards who’ve been up all night. Just as Nerone and Poppea.)

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    1. yes, it’s a matter of priorities (so far, i got pretty lucky with CT Ottones, my last lie one was Dumaux)

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          1. 🙂
            start here. When she’s done singing, you can fast forward to 57:04 for more uniform. The sound capturing is not optimal (1 camera from far distance), and I think from that perspective, Alessandrini wasn’t taking care of her voice as I would have liked (unlike Dantone): he has the orchestra a bit too loud and drowned her voice out at times. But jeah, i *memorized* Ottone’s music for 6 months, this was my compass for this opera.. actually for more than 1 year, because it wasn’t until Oct 2015 that I discovered ACA & Nerone..

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          2. just watching 57…. Oh dear, that very special voice, and that uniform, and then, Invernizzi… I most certainly have not listened to Mingardo enough so far, so looking forward to hearing her in Hamburg.

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          3. “Army Incoronazione”
            “Piny Freestyle Incoronazione”
            “Cocoon Coronazione”
            “Dreadlock Coronazione”
            …we are racking up quite an array here.

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          4. I think I need help, feeling very funny in the heart and stomach area… Oh dear, I think I finally fully get why you both keep talking about Mingardo.

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          5. I enjoyed her subtle (gentle?) acting a lot. Look how she approaches Invernizzi at the end of the first act for example. The 2 of them are adorable together. I did sit through the whole thing yesterday, and like her characterization of Ottone as well. quite different that most of the CTs I’ve seen.
            I don’t know if she can sustain your interest because the army outfit is gone starting Act 2… 🙂 , but hope you stay for the hands and acting and phrasing. Also, Poppea is our Romeo from Liege some years ago…

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          6. (when i first knew Dehggi, i was babbling nonstop about Otonne and Druisilla the couple, then blah blah about Ottavia.. that’s when she asked why i don’t talk about Nerone.. and when i found out it’s not a tenor in most stagings)

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          7. GASP!

            (I do excuse Harnoncourt and Eric Tappy (?) because it was way before anything, but everyone else: mezzo it up!)

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          8. Invernizzi, yes, I’m quite over the moon with both of them. It is also the first time, due to their wonderful acting, that I really feel with both characters, I guess Drusilla so far for me was more someone a bit stupid who has a “function” for the course of the story (this sounds bad, I just mean my focus was not on her and her emotional life as a character).
            I don’t think the army outfit gone matters so much, after I am now getting quite hooked on Mingardo’s voice and subtle intensity. We should live blog this one if just for the Ottone/Drusilla scenes.

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          9. We can put in on the list for after this week’s RK outing, and we can always skip bits…

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          10. Good idea, I don’t think I care about the tenor in a mezzo role (not that I can say for sure, have so far forwarded him…)

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          11. now may be the moment where towanda and I will have to pointedly look at this paper again (which is a really good write-up on hands and female queerness in literature)

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          12. (oh, thanks, i knew you both were referring to some secrete thingy with hands and gloves… will “touch” that link *after* i fix up the first totally-grammartically-broken version of my article!)

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          13. Nothing secret (with towanda, it is usually something Carol), and the article wasa little off topic (or not), so I didn’t link it publicly before.

            (How is that article draft of yours coming along?)

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          14. No! You didn’t! (I don’t even remember you saying you wrote to her, but that may be due to my preoccupations with work around that time) if there was the perfect feedback person on that article, it would be you, either way.

            >

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          15. Yes! Her article is so our story (me and my beloved) plus I have a “Carol” fic that is literally called “Holding Hands” so I thanked her and sent her the link. 😊

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    1. and he sings it in really good taste. I will repeat that this Ottone is far better for him than the heftier Handel one.

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          1. I’ll take what I can get. Perhaps we have to invent singing gifs.
            But yes, take a group f singers familiar with the language and with the score, and let them work scenically entirely from that, very spur of the moment. Obviously there are empty cues, too, but much of it takes off really well.

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  2. That “Addio” should come with a warning label, how does Nerone even manage to stand up, much less keep a balanced tone. I kind of imagine steam coming out of the theorbo in question at this point.

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    1. I know we talked about smooth voices, but it is a *really* nice smooth voice, with an innate scenic grasp, not disconnected from her motions, but directing them.

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      1. no no, i’m thinking of how she “speaks” the sentence.. for non-native speaker i “understand” . There’s really a way to punctuate / prolong words / phrases.. shaping, making an arc, things like that..

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      1. yes. I so hope she sticks with early music (Monteverdi over Verdi!). If she manages that level of expressiveness even while never really moving outside balance, imagine what will happen when she gains more experience.

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          1. If we haven’t written in a proposal on numbered-button gravity models, we have not yet reached the shallow end of the pool. 😉

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    1. Arnalta or Nutrice?
      I like them both here, no pushing, no overdoing or prancing, a lot of flow. But overall, I think I enjoy Nutrice (Ottavia’s) even more. Very cultivated tone. Especially next to Ottavia, whose material is clearly is battered in some aspects, but she knows exactly how to use it to great expressiveness.

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          1. I wish I could show you the Hairspray one from the TADW staging last year in comparison. Because that was three shades of too much and taking away from the part. The kind where a male singer puts up a parody distance from the get to and never allows any actual softness? (but I think it was more the staging than the singer)

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        1. those two are pretty low-key, in comparison.(Nutrice more than Arnalta) Usually, it is really amped up in a drag way, and while Visse is great, I love this more quiet approach.

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          1. yes, then it became “Nerone’s music memorized”.
            (actually it went like this for me with this opera: Mingardo in a tenor Nerone = Ottone’s music memorized for 1/2 year, then ACA’s Nerone’s music memorized, THEN, ACA’s Poppea’s music memorized…)

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    1. they were written this way, carried over from dell’Arte theatre of the day. (a nice way to employ tenors, too 😉 ) sits too low for a regular contralto and is always cast with tenors.

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        1. it’s an interesting point, because I think there is a qualitative difference somewhere, but I’ve seen too much to be able to pinpoint it well.

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    1. Almost an hour until we got to Prina’s hair tonight. WELL.

      But will any of us ever be over Invernizzi at large?

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          1. If you mean Prina: she actually makes that style set work for Handel really well, but. Think it is because her tone and approach are so unique.

            >

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    1. are we already with Enrone/Poppea? Because there is enough mention of lips and breasts to get kicked off Facebook (seal of quality, in my book!)

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      1. Two years ago, Finnish Chamber Opera performed Poppea and their poster was censored by Facebook. It depicted a naked midriff with a hand on it. 🙂

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          1. I have no interest in snapping out of anything here. 😉 in fact, the only thing that would be snapping in this scene are shirt buttons.

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    1. we get it, heartbreak sucks, but it is not her fault and you don’t ‘deserve’ her only because you happen to want her. Look at poor Drusilla there! Is she trying to kill you?!

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  3. i think i’ve recovered…
    and want to file a small complaint that there was a chunk of Nerone’s music being omitted.. and i know exactly which chunk coz i love ACA’s rapping to it..

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    1. did they make-up for close-ups?
      (Perhaps it’s rest of the pale make-up from Strasbourg just days prior)

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          1. reminds me of tie gif, which reminds me of the other red tie from Brussels, which also might make a nice gif…? Or that stance/stagger at the end of that Lungi?
            (see, Seneca is making me very productive)

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  4. Seneca and, what did stray call it? – the Shrub of Death?

    Actually, this scene was one thing that was immensely beautifully sung at TADW (by F.J. Selig)

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          1. (there was an interview with Jodie Foster, who spends much of her time directing now, and she was asked what she looks for in good actors/actresses (or somthing like that), and she said for women with strong conviction/strength and men with sensitivity/ability to show vulnerability))

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          1. Hehe, he really needs to be part of the Belcanto Street Boys.
            And the other scene, with Damigella, is so much fun as well in that production, also very well interpreted musically.

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    1. HAHAAA: No, never.
      (Bridelli’s singing is SO good here, even if this Lurcanio hasn’t really gotten the seductiveness thing down)

      Hey that tie thing is Poppea’s move!!

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      1. actually i was quite unfamiliar with this opera, and got the vhs recording from Paris 2004, and the singing of this particular duet caught me entirely by surprise. so i really don’t know how it’s normally done. in fact, after seeing this duet (which i call the Brokeback Mountain moment, anyone who has heard me babbling about Antonacci and Nerone surely has been induced to hearing about this before), it struck me as such a sensitive moment, almost revealing all the internal intimate feeling of Nerone’s which outsiders don’t see, i had to go back to the libretto to see where it fits. The way it’s done in the Brokeback Mountain clip, and in this liveblog version of Poppea (i think, i didn’t check line by line, but i don’t hear any extra music to the version i memorised 🙂 ), certain lines referring to Nerone’s affection for Poppea were omitted and to suggest a gay relationship between Nerone and Lucano.

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          1. Well, thanks for the clip! You seem to have interpreted that scene in a much more subtle way than I did… I was just thinking that beautiful minor-key song means he getting into the melancholy phase of drunkenness…

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          2. my mind does fire quite wildly at times ;-). but i think for this it was also the acting of both ACA and Lucano, as well as the translation of the text. i find out how the libretto is translated sometimes is vastly different. i was quite confused (i picked up immediately the Brokeback Mountain vibe but quite confused where it fits) so i actually typed the french text into a translator.. and then realized what was purposely cut from the original libretto.
            i even went as far as interpreting this scene as Nerone telling his close “friend” it is no longer possible as he has now Poppea… at least in this staging, he has his “den” where he hangs out with his dark crowd, and whatever taking place down there, drug, sex…

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          3. (but i should warn you i ve watched this production at least more than 100x… and ACA gave me a lot of different vibes / subtle interpretations. it could all be my imagination 😉

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          4. …more than 100X? I’m impressed. It really is fantastic, thanks so much again, for loading it up. Ciofi and ACA are both magnificent (we are talking about that production, right?).

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          5. I have been obsessed with Roméo before, but nothing like this.. “my” Nerone and I have become one…
            (s)he has taken over my body and mind (and soul? , and possibly heart) . I have been finding all sorts of excuses to justify “my” Nerone’s actions 😉 . and i swear, it isn’t only about dreadlocks…
            (and i’m open-minded to #tinypinyNerone, amongst others..)

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          6. 🙂 ❤
            And your characterization of Nerone (the tantrum two year old one) was so convincing, so I think that has also quite formed my general picture of Nerone (while I have not nearly spent as much time with this character and his music as you and I think there is more to explore). And I think it also has to do with a more general view on how we see people (or in my professional life: kids), who act in a violent or even cruel ways, and how we still need to find ways to connect and see the good underneath.

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          7. Thank you!
            “I already spend most of my time on stage pretending to be someone else, usually some horrifying guy!” 😀
            And I adore her approach on not having to please everyone, it is true, maybe you have to go to the “too much” border for some to produce something truly memorable for the others who can cope with it.
            I did not even have enough time to listen to her album very much, I so hope it’s going to be a success for her!

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        1. or at least some tension, and it makes Nerone pansexual/bisexual, which I am fine with as far as it is an opera about sensuality, but not when it is used to paint Nerone as a villain.
          Tonight’s Nerone would still qualify as son-in-law (with a bit of a tantrum temper), and there wasn’t any chemistry with Lucano (but plenty with Poppea). Whereas when Sabadus sang it in Vienna with Penda as Poppea, thsoe two were painted as an abusive for-pay relationship gone wrong ages ago, and Lucano was a moment of actual moment of affection.

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          1. perhaps it is also because he seems to so easily maneuvered by Poppea. Or we just really like the shirt? (funny indeed!)

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          2. going on and on and on about a woman while the friend next to you keeps drinking and then wordlessly passes you the bottle? Uhm, yes.

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      1. jeah, i think when done with a purpose it can be a very sensitive scene. It’s a whole piece in itself, with “movements” : raucous to start, transitioning into a slow part to sort out its direction (right around Bocca, che se ragioni o ride) , then taking a very serious solemn turn at the end with gorgeous (legato?) lines of revealing feelings.
        I think i’ve seen in some libretto there was reference of Nerone singing about Poppea, but apparently it’s not on the one you linked above from BEMF:

        Lucano
        O felice Poppea
        Signor nelle tue lodi.
        O felice Nerone
        in grembo di Poppea.

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    1. on that note, pass me the scotch.
      (the most octavianesque of Nerones here… – God, imagine if she grew up into that role)

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    1. WORD. I missed all this the last time, and daaaaamn I know who will be revisiting the Cavalli concert later tonight and check a certain tour schedule.

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    1. told you so, there it is. The Shrub of Doom blossoms among us again, but fear not, here’s Ottavia to reduced it to firewood with one withering glare.

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    1. on this night, sure.
      I was surprised with myself, but I was all over ALL the tenors in the Jacobs Ulisse.

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    1. but this Adagiati Poppea is nicely done, much more inward

      (Poppea’s phrasings, though, should definitely come with an age rating HOLY CECILIA)

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      1. Yes, and it gains so much when it is done actually maternal. And I love that in a part that is ‘raucous wet nurse with the bawdy one-liners is suddenly a quiet moment of care and tenderness.

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