[Tuesday mood: sitting regally on the couch with a bottle of red wine and a bag of chips (do watch that trailer), blasting the self-important colleague hogging the faculty meeting right off the conference table. – Vincent Wolfsteiner (Siegfried) and Rachael Tovey (Brünnhilde) in Wanger’s “Siegfried”, Nuremberg 2015]

This is a week I can only manage in Tovey reaction shots, so bare with my Wagner here. The current Nuremberg “Ring” – running for a final time this month with much of the same cast –  as staged Georg Schmiedleitner is fun, but it is also the most unabashed rip-off of the Stuttgart “Ring” (and some other Ring suspects) possible, down to Siegfried’s t-shirt and the apartment digs for Siegfried Act III.

The Nuremberg Brünnhilde is Rachel Tovey, a magnificent singer-actress who gets far too little recognition. I was lucky to catch her early in her career as Contessa and as Amelia (Ballo in maschera) – great vocal scope, already back then, and her acting was impeccable. I remember her Contessa in particular being comedy gold and for her alone, I wish I could have seen this “Ring” in person (if it returns, I will have to look for conferences nearby)

And if you need a pick-me-up today, watch that video trailer to the end, to Brünnhildes first taste of chips, to then hug the bag and settle down on to the couch for a ratty TV dinner. Which is exactly, with an iced beer on top, what I want to be doing after surviving this meeting.

 

 

79 thoughts on “”

          1. Tried to read the original – still a prediction of “will sing in the second cast”, dissing color changes in register changes (please go directly to jail, do not pass Kasarova, do not collect €400), saying the second aria should be worthwhile because of agility? (I look at an opening night Italian, thinking: I would have gone somewhere more Southeastern for this)

            >

            Like

          2. :-), she’s graduated to complaint level of change in register! melikes! clearly there’s a reason why we like her singing! 🙂 . so annoying though these comments.. i also found no trace of photos, grrrr…
            (and now i have to think back to that super-smoothed cd, i guess they went in and cleaned out all her colors + shaping to sell…)

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Back to the Paris Mitridate radio broadcast, then…!

            (Still no press coverage, the alternate casts really do get the B treatment?)

            >

            Like

          4. hmm, seems like more complaints about her way of phrasing? Also, how bit is Liceu? could it be a problem? but then the “critics” were also smashing her for that vocal job she did in Mitridate in Paris…

            Like

          5. Yes, citing lacking breath support and – I don’t read Catalan that well – and not a good or believable portrayal of the role? We haben’t heard it, but No. 2 sounds odd to me (and then I am thinking again, they should have cast her for Anna in the A listing… hopefully wouldn’t have gotten any interview bits on how much Anna is into DonG (unless that is Holten’s take))… but perhaps it was also an off night. I don’t know how big the Liceu us, but J. seemed pretty disappointed by everyone.

            Like

          6. That thing where my brain momentarily shuts off…? Happening.

            So – I drive past almost Volksoper daily and If there had been a Tito announcement, I would have been there, so I guess it was before 2015? (I hope because otherwise it will be a “Petibon was in town and I didn’t even KNOW?” meltdown on my part)

            Like

          7. no, you couldn’t have possibly missed it.. given my record of trying to unearth her prev engagement 😉 , and the fact this just shows up now.. along with a few other listings of her prev singing of the Contessa (in Germany)… too bad she’s not on E.Haïm’s band’s plan for next year… but i saw Torino will host ACA’s double-bill “la voix humaine” and ‘il segreto di Susanna” next season. No S.Mingardo or Iervolino sadly.. and JEGardiner is bringing his CT-filled Poppea to Torino, boo.

            Like

          8. yes, I saw the Haïm listing and thought: missing two crucial names here…! Sigh.

            perhaps some diligent fan reworked the bio on bach-cantatas? I am trying not to wither away in envy at past Contessa news… the update stamp said early 2017?

            Like

          9. that early 2017 was in her home town just this past month.. that doesn’t count given that she announced it like 1 week before i arrived in Torino… but before that she was already singing it elsewhere.. so there’s good chance she might get offer again? would be really lovely to hear her as Vitellia! (just for the interpretation alone!) . still keeping up hope for Romeo of course… Nerone… or Poppea… (minus CT..)
            (but i’m so happy about the Händel thing in Jan, coz music = super piny, liiiiike! and please please, don’t cancel… as you said, her schedule is not that filled up (yet)… )

            Like

          10. jeah, clearly dedicated fan.. and she’s also putting her names out there? coz i thought that bach-cantatas site normally only have listings of singers who have sung Bach…

            Like

          11. no, not at all. More early music intially, perhaps, but they’re covering a lot these days.

            Like

          12. I was kind of stuck on that on my commute this morning – Vitellia would be a similar range as Elettra there, which I also cannot picutre that readily: all that ire and indignation and power-wielding are different from what we have heard/Seen so far. If we were privy to her Elvira these days, the connection might be easier to make? It’s a whole set-up of not-so-piny range that we haven’t see from her yet, and it would be great to get a chance to do so.

            Like

          13. I just thought the same thing. But unless it’s really hyped things, tickets should be possible (very pricey, but possible).

            Like

          14. oh, is it very pricey? but you just need to sort out how to get there with a ticket in hand (we’ll sort that out!) , i can configure an airbnb for both of us! like in front of the theater? so we can look out to casually attempt to catch someone walking into rehearsal? :p

            Like

          15. I’d probably be up hiking in the vines around the city… Geneva is among the priciest places out there, not just opera, but in general.

            Like

          16. I’ve got a total of 8 pics included int hat post. It is uncanny, and my brain is very intensely wired to one precedent there. (sigh)

            Like

          17. the Liceu retweeted it, so it was on my timeline. couldn’t find more on Twitter with the DonG Liceu hastag, and didn’t brave FB yet.

            Like

      1. No, the Siegfried one, you have seen that, I guess? I love this contrast, especially for the soo venerable and important Wagner (And uncanny many recognition effects, the student WG, the washing machine, the crisps, I will have to forward it to my brother immediately, he’ll love that)
        The bad thing with endlessly talking guys in meetings is, you would like to give them contra, but that will prolong the meeting even further… good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh the Siegfried! – sorry, limited access right now. Yes, that one is hilarious (as is the concept, but it smacks so much of the Wieler/Morabito that I am a bit taken aback) and I love the part where they settle onto the couch and Brünnhilde hogs the chips/crisps with that eyebrow raise.

          – meeting drowns on at 35 degrees, now female tenured colleague droning on and asking “I am sorry, is that too condensed? Should I report this in more detail?”

          >

          Like

          1. …I think we have those very same crisps in the cupboard, I might consider a re-staging of the scene, given the current crazy work days.

            Like

          2. Comforting to know that I am not the only one having a “it’s time to conjure up Brünnhilde” week!

            Like

  1. All the Valkyries, please! With chips and a beer even better. (Though with no Jessye singing of miracles, well…)

    (LOL-ing to myself that even a post about WAGNER manages to come back to MP and Mitridate eventually. 😉 )

    Like

    1. Heh.
      Not even my fault here; Papatanasiu is singing Donna Elvira in Barcelona these days and none of us could be in attendance, plus she’s not in the radio broadcast, so we’re looking at the press coverage.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. …and as if we’d ever need an external reason to talk about our favorites.
          But a revisited Vitellia would be really interesting, to see whether there would be any piny energy in there? It might me a really interesting angle.

          Like

          1. jeah. because the character as a whole is not on piny side, so you need to prepare an entirely different approach? besides, i liked a lot her “ma quando tornerai” when she let it ripped on the 2nd night in Wien

            Like

          2. yes, and I think it worked because it stemmed from a place of hurt we had been privy to see develop in the show.
            Same reason I would like her Elettra plans to go through someplace – because I imagine that her portrayal of anger would get a more complex underbelly of sensitivity and hurt.
            And it would also be an intereting set-up for Vitellia – how would that relate to Sesto (only a ploy to get to Tito, or more? How does Vitellia relate to Tito, just title or also emotions?)

            Like

          3. (not to mention she might also portray a piny Vitellia that makes sense.. like how SM delivered a Polinesso whispering his plan while grabbing the curtain, compare to the more usual approach..)

            Like

          4. Would we survive curtain-grabbing Vitellia?
            😉
            but yes, making sense on a more piny level, that would be SO GOOD.

            Liked by 1 person

          5. but i’d really love to hear her contessa too… i think it’s a matter of what she’s being offered… but fingers crossed… they’re still casting her a lot for D.Anna and D.Elvira, even though she’s quite versatile in Mozart.. The bach-cantatas page made a note of her Monteverdi and Händel as well.. and she (should?) knows she has an audience 😉

            Like

          6. Yes, Contessa – hardcore pining, but with a comedy grip? I have no idea what her balance there would be like.

            Like

          7. (hence we need more evidence.
            and this would point to versatility: b/c we’ve seen her mainly in pining… though i super like her reactive shot while interacting with D.Hansen’s Farnace, or leg up on the seat’s arm rest while listening to the governess.. but that’s not including singing…
            I’m also thinking of the “shy” Semiramide touching the curtain while whispering “spero” the 5th time… but need more evidence!)

            Liked by 1 person

          8. yes to more evidence!
            It would be a chance to show a broader acting scope, also in vocal approach, and I for one would love to hear and see more of that, in any direction possible.

            Liked by 1 person

          9. that one, I think suffered from two things: 1) Italian stanging conventions, 2) Italian gender conventions. (also, it might simply not be a register she does well)

            Like

      1. Hey, no complaints from me! Sign me up for all the MP research — except that top hat thing, tha dieu is right, even just the photo struck me as way off. But otherwise…evidence! More evidence! (tho y’all seem to have more ample opportunity in your neck of the woods, does she ever come to the US?)

        Like

          1. the “taking out the trash” in San Diego is better. have you seen that one? she also had a fancy dress there though i prefer the trouser sequence in the presence of Zerlina

            Like

          2. (The rather smitten presence of Zerlina – well, imagine you’re about to be married off to your highschool sweetheart, all rather planned out, and suddenly a rich beau crashes your wedding and promises you a yacht and a mansion (and you are poor, and have learned to add two and tw, so that’s a deal). And then on top of that you have an – let’s say admittedly gorgeous – noblewoman crashing that deal in return, and she does so while speaking of emotional self-care. Which, from your perspective, is such a FirstWorldProblem, but it sure is flattering to have someone like that (she comes across somewhat intense, but it doesn’t exactly look bad on her and, if you’re honest, it is more thrilling than your entire engagement has been) speak in such terms of your feelings, as if they matter. As if you matter. You don’t really want to be starstruck – wait, is she wearing trousers? How daredevil is that? Not to mention, nice legs. Not that you’re staring. Much. – but you kind of are, especially when she kicks your would-be-suitor to the ground in two efficient moves. She pulls you along with her and you struggle to keep up – those trousers and boots sure can come in handy when you are in a rush – and you forget to ask where you are going, but it is definitely more exciting than your original plans for the day. And who knows, she just might own a yacht, too.

            Liked by 2 people

          3. Oh, we all know your reaction pattern to sleek red dresses 😉

            There is a post on here called “the trope of the trouser traveller” which features the Elvira outfit (the famed trash takeout sequence).

            But yes, there is a difference between fancy and frills, and a lot of it is about negotiating power – to me, frills equal playful equal a purposeful relinquishing of power in making oneself unthreatening/”cutesy”/younger/”unthreatening”, but that might just be off-putting to me.

            >

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Oh, I remember that post now (and the comments there are gold).

            Yes, I feel rather the same way about “frilly” – yes, a giving up of power. though I wonder why we read frills as powerless? who taught us this? and the opposite – sleek as power – as well, of course. I sure know which I respond to more (as do we all, haha).

            (PS I missed your Zerlina/Elvira headcanon before, and like veryvery much.)

            Like

          5. That is the trailer excerpt after which we wondered whether Zerlina and Elvira set up a vigilante business catering to women scorned after the events of the opera. Variant B, which I think thadieu brought up, was Anna leaving with Elvira in the end because Elvira is clearly advertising that she is retiring to a women-only environment (like those noblewomen of the renaissance who bought themselves convent apartments through generous donations and were live-in lay guests, coming and leaving and receiving visitors as they pleased) and on the heels of Anna stalling her marriage (in agreement with convention, but still without much enthusiasm) and in reaction to that ugly “Anna actually wants Giovanni” trope, we tried to see whether it could also work as “Anna was never that much into guys to begin with”.

            Liked by 1 person

          6. Frills – I do think there is a palpable, purposeful “dumbing down” that can be noticed. Because it is not frills as an excess per se (think of some of the Chanel or Dior of the 50s) – I think it starts where functionality is intentionally hindered, though that does not explain heels. Perhaps a part is also the alignment of women with children as more immature and as less intellectually capable? “Kiddie stuff” for both. But that is, again, gendered – just as children’s clothing. And there is a difference between frills on men as “having so much power that one can play play with it” and frills on women as “relinquishing power”, part of which is learned, but part is also about how it interacts with silhouettes and lines. To underline features or to cover them up. Not that I would know the first thing about fashion, but I do know a thing or two about suit lines.

            Like

          7. (somebody needs to write that opera, stat)

            a dumbing down, yes, and a certain palatable-ness to patriarchy, unthreatening. tho I don’t think that means woman-in-sleek necessarily wants to to overthrow the patriarchy, either. (oh dear, i’m giving myself a headache.) but it’s definitely how we (white, western we here) code power, maybe even some agency? for those gendered as women.

            now i’m thinking about red sleek dresses vs. frills and wondering if part of the reason Fleming made me think harder/differently about the Marschallin in the Baden Baden is in part because of her costuming (not only that, but perhaps a part). And we remember the thinks I was thinking were precisely around power and agency.

            (also: help me! or not, as the case may be)

            Different from the 2010 dress at the end of Act 1, frills and lace (though still carried with a regal bearing that catches my attention).

            Liked by 1 person

          8. Sleek isn’t necessarily smashing patriarchy… good point. I need to think more about that.

            The Marschallin is a really good starting point here because she is usually covered in frills, but also coded as powerful – question would be whether we read more power into it when there are less frills?
            A lot may also be related to characters/people being given agency on other levels: if you get to talk a lot, and not just giggling about guys, when wearing frills, that max be a different story.

            I remember the Castle and the Wood papers on lesbian opera fandom in the yearly 1900s centering on Wagnerian roles ans singers – that might also be about responding to power?

            Like

          9. Yeah, I’m still thinking about this too. I would love to read those papers, and your point about being given a lot to say that is not giggly about a boy I think is also important. (God I love the Marschallin. Ugghghgh)

            Like

          10. There is a theorem and a term for that, but as I taught that in detail this semester, I’ll email you the references. (I keep expecting one of my students to end up on here)

            Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s