And now: Tito from Salzburg tonight (single violin liveblogging from dehggi)

Tito from Salzburg on

Just in case somebody doesn’t know about this and/or hasn’t had enough Tito this week ๐Ÿ˜€ when it rains, it pours! (btw, I mean to finish this! I am just juggling two Titi at the same time and spending a bit too much time with the ending of the Glyndebourne one at the moment ๐Ÿ™‚ )

– does the Tito dance –

I’m reading the Tommyknockers right now. When I saw that green stuff I thought “They got Sesto!” – you know Sesto would be the first to go.

Intermission edit: I didn’t intend to liveblog this (because I like to take my time with Tito), I started with regular handwritten notes but then the production sort of took over and I had to “say” something. I wanted to do a different post for this later but it looks like I should better add my earlier notes here and let this mofo do its thing. Also I may not be able to watch everything tonight on account of work (I’ve already been late yesterday because of the Glyndebourne livestream), so I may just end mid-sentence, to be added later. Anyway, if you’re here, enjoy ๐Ÿ˜‰

one more edit before I sign off for tonight: someone needs to tell Sellars that too much hand movement ain’t needed for operas written before 2010. Come ti piace imponi was a riot because of that. Come to think of it, maybe those were secret hand signals from Vitellia to the terrorists… but where’s the sex? Too much violence, not enough sex (remember Bush’s Everything Zen? Ha, I didn’t think I’d come to quote that fake grunge band but there you go, thanks for nothing, Sellars).


Tito: Russell Thomas
Vitellia: Golda Schultz
Sesto: Marianne Crebassa
Annio: Jeanine de Bique
Servilia: Christina Gansch
Publio: Willard White
Conductor: Teodor Currentzis | musicAeterna / musicAeterna Choir
Director: Peter Sellars
Felsenreitschule (where else?!)

edit on 5 August:ย for the sake of completeness, here are my initial handwritten notes, in navy, with some additions after I slept on it.

Overture: running? Structures? coming out of the ground? Sesto and Servilia are running, he’s confused. The motley choir is back! Are they muslims?

And who are the armed dudes? Terrorists already? Guards?

Tito and his court come in, he checks out the crowd and wants Sesto and Servilia to join them; he introduces Sesto to Vitellia but the way they look at each other you can tell they’ve been acquainted already. The plot thickens! Did she signal to Tito which “commoners” to get?

Come ti piace imponi: interpretive dance?! Well… ๐Ÿ˜€ Berenice (muslim?) and Tito say a long goodbye

Annio: quite strong voiced/ no nonsense

Berenice shakes hands with Vitellia; Vitellia looks ready to bite her scarf off

Deh se piacer mi vuoi: very smooth start, nice trills on tuoi and fede; continuo gets busy (kitchen sink); Sesto wears cargo pants with tie – I really like Servilia’s black and white gauzy dress, girl has style; Vitellia puts moves on Tito who initially seems repulsed by her but then seems pulled into her game (did she not notice that? why does she need Sesto then?).

What does Tito want?

Musically I like this version, it’s very elaborate, with the right accents and very good chops from Schultz; it’s Vitellia we know and love but I think the message gets muddled as she moves between Sesto and Tito. I know there is a point there but we get it from the libretto. I think this would confuse Sesto even more and this aria is all about Sesto getting the right message.

It’s quite odd, as for once she seems to put the moves erotically on Sesto but then she gets further from that, which I don’t think is a good decision. Context intruding?

Annio has Servilia with him when asking Sesto for her hand, I like this. It’s good that she’s included, instead of the men (men? see below) deciding her life. Their (all three) interaction is very warm.

Deh prendi: interesting interpretive moves; are Sesto and Annio women? I don’t think men interact that way with each other. I will take it they are women in this production. Nice vocal mix and I like the added trills, you barely even get that in this little duettino. I like their warm interaction ๐Ÿ™‚

Serbate dei custodi: who is Annio? He seems to be more the upper class dude in this production. Sesto and Servilia go back to “their people” and hug them. It feels like they’re about to plead their cause or something.

The choir has good vocal balance.

White’s Publio looks super fierce.

Tito gets massive gold bullions as his temple.

Edit during stream: Lucky me! I’m loving this production, too, though what the hell is it with the Baroque music during the Temple scene? (Ok, Rob explains it in the comments; I mean he explains what it is, not why it’s there) Molto odd! Let’s get back to Tito.

Annio speaks up about how cool that gal Servilia is, who, remember, is there already, so she gets the good news directly from Tito and runs away. Annio is gutsy.

No more talk – Del piu sublime soglio – which Tito sings at Sesto (who is there, too). He seems touched. Very forceful segue into it; seems Tito gets bigger voiced with every production. The couple of trills don’t come easy to Thomas. I enjoyed Croft’s softly deliveredย avrei a lot more.

Everyone is very sweaty already.

Ah perdona: wish the damn continuo wouldn’t keep barging in where it’s not its business. (see the comments again if you’re not used to Currentzis) I like how Servilia ain’t happy Annio shopped her to Tito. They seem very worried, not the usual happy duet and without much talk they start to sing. I like the rubato Currentzis gives the both of them to emphasise their own position within the duet.

Tito : Publio: they talk about the list of wrongdoers brought by Publio. Sesto is there for it, quite pointedly so. Tito says se ragionย to Sesto (in regards to why people plot against him). Does he have, well, reasons to hint at that?

Servilia kisses Annio to make her point to Tito and then I guess what happens next makes sense:

Is this La clemenza di Tito or La voce di Servilia? More Servilia intrusive music?! Seriously, maybe I spoke too soon about liking this production. SCREW THE EXTRANEOUS MUSIC!

… because I guess she thinks she needs to sweeten the verdict a bit? Still:

Ah se fosse: THANK FUCK! For a moment there I really thought we’d skip it. It’s kinda interesting how everybody is there all the time and it makes sense. Though when we have bassoon why do we need that annoying continuo to start the aria?

Parto already! Ha. I have to think if Sesto being there for everything justifies why he should be so easily pushed into Parto. If anything, I’d think the opposite. Lying on one’s back for Parto = classic ๐Ÿ˜‰ Also, the week of the French Sesti (ok, Stephany is not). That physical jump into guardami! was amusing. Poor Sesto. He killed the clarinet, eh heh. Is this a first, when even the instrumentalists lie on the floor?! ๐Ÿ˜€ Too much movement for the cadenza, though the ladies who complained there wasn’t enough movement in the Glyndebourne one would love it (some old bats on the train back to London bitched about it being too static; I hope they liked this shit). Whose brilliant idea was to have a closeup there? My head was spinning from all the movement up and down and all around. Gimmicky to the max but at least Crebassa tried to look for a chest touchdown. Didn’t find a sexy one, eh.


I really liked how Sesto and the clarinet even did their trills together – BUT this is not about Vitellia anymore. It’s not even just Sesto and his emotions anymore, it’s Sesto and a flesh and blood double. Like I said, gimmicky to the max. Unless I’m missing something, which is possible, because duh.

Vengo!: waaaaay too slow! Haha, kidding, of course. The ’80s called and couldn’t get through to get their styles back. That being said Schultz has some mad chops.

Act I finale – more Baroque shit to mark Mozart’s Romantic forays, yay! I hope Servilia ain’t back with something praising the lords in Latin.

Sesto is putting on a massive submissive act considering how organised his insurrection is.

I really wish they got on with things, I need a bathroom break and the cats were clawing for grub. Finally! Sesto, suicide bomber? Yes, it works, but he lives on to sing the damn Deh per questo… bomb failing?

He’s trying to shoot Tito when he can blow them up? Clearly he’s not thinking straight. Then Tito knows already?

(Dude, take off the damn vest!) How did Annio not see what happened? Haha. They all see everything except the most important bits.

Good call Currentzis to speed the damn thing up after wasting so much time with the baroque stuff. Seriously, though, why is Vitellia wearing latest style cca 1987?

And still nobody notices Sesto’s suicide bomber vest! It’s not 1987, you know.

Is it Brian Large again? I want to see more wide views, less sweat (I know this is maddest continental heatwave since 2003 (coincidence? probably), everyone is drenched in sweat).

End of Act I conclusion: mad chops Schultz, me gusta mucho! WTF is with the extra crap, though??? This is the year Tito is fucked with, yanno. Remember the one with the belcanto add-ons? Let me make one thing clear: TITO DOESN’T NEED EXTRA MUSIC. There, I feel better.

Wow, this production – Sellars has really gone a bit cookoo. I mean, dude. What? But also kinda cool. Some things are very cool, like how everyone is always there and how that makes a difference in how they react – screwing with meaning, I guess. I like that. But we’re wasting too much time with gimmicks. It really does not need gimmicks (especially what happened with Parto and the camera panning into the mad movement – just no). Guth wins this time. Less fuss, more personal meaning, more intimacy. This take is too much about the bigger picture Tim Ashley wanted. I hope he went to Salzburg to see this one.

Currentzis needs to put a cap on the continuo. Seriously, it’s fucking annoying. But some things are cool. Too bad he’s got a kitchen sink kinda mentality. TOO FUCKING MUCH! Calm down a bit, it’s good music already. Trust Mozart.

Act II

Tito is loved by ethnic people. Nice. Is this the Requiem? Can we just have Titoย for like 2hrs? Will we get something from the Magic Flute as well?

How about the Commie looking dude? He’s some sort of friend of Sesto’s and Servilia’s. Maybe from when they went backpacking during their gap year and stayed with his family in the Urals and experienced the simple life Tito wants?

I’m all for context but I’m feeling this is too much context and not enough Tito.

Shit, it’s Torna di Tito a lato! Who would’ve thunk they’d throw in a lesser known Tito tune?! Did you guys know I once woke up singing it aloud? Nice trills. In fact, the trills are some of the best things in this Mozart medley.

(phew, Sesto took off his suicide bomber vest!)

And just like that it’s Se al volto. Crebassa is a bit whingy sounding but it’s a very supple voice and this trio needs a bit of whinge. Schultz = โค Sesto loves his family. You know what, I only always meant to ask why Sesto and Servilia have so little (like 0) stage time together. So I’m glad we get warmth with Servilia here.

You know what I ain’t feelin’? Sesto and Vitellia’s connection. I’m not sure who exactly they are to each other because chemistry is not built into their acting.

White got some soft action in those vienis.

The continuo doesn’t know yet if Tito has survived. It’s all as it’s happening ๐Ÿ˜‰ Too cool for school.

Ah non sventurato = Tito came back from the dead due to the love of his people! Haha. I like Thomas but he’s a bit past Mozart days.

Tardi: I never thought I’d get to hear White sing Tardi. I just like the man. It’s of the booming type, of course. TARDI! Ehehehe.

Publio (to Annio and Servilia):ย see what you did to him? Anyway, come on, Tito sign the damn thing.

This Tito on deathbed is like the Act IV of Traviata. He sings on! But first some more Requiem or whatever. I mean, duh. 1791 and all. It feels like they were saying in the ’50s when Stalin died (mum told me that when he died in 1953, in ye olde Eastern Europe people were crying in the street like the sun had just dropped off the sky). I want the Papageno-Papagena duet, me.

Come on, folks, with Glyndebourne we were already almost through with Se all’impero. I need to get going. Guth wins so far.

Tu fosti tradito: and io sono partito, ciao bambini! (nice chops, Annio, had we heard more of this stuff tonight, eh? That music is nice, I wonder who wrote it and why.)

fffwd to the end: I wanted to hear what Currentzis did with Eterni dei and… well, when I caught a glimpse of Sesto in the plastic jumpsuit and then how he dropped Tito – clearly he’s not done his Moving and Handling Mandatory Training! Somebody’s (Annio?) going to have to write a very complex Datix on this serious incident and let’s not talk about the inquest. Sesto’s not done with Publio yet.


About dehggial

Mozart/Baroque loving red dragon

Posted on August 4, 2017, in 1001 musings on la clemenza di tito, mozart, WTF and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. Regie, or Not Regie?

    Thanks for the heads up. I guess I’ll watch this today (if no work comes in) and the Glyndebourne one tomorrow. Too much Tito? NO WAY!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I didn’t know about this, so thank you for the alert! I am really upset by this production but I’m curious to see how annoying it can get… And Tito is like pizza or sex: when it’s bad, it’s still kind of good…

  3. Regie, or Not Regie?

    I was surprised by the interpolations from Mozart’s Great Mass (more late Mozart)…. and the Adagio and Fugue (not sure what period but it IS Mozart) which–although we don’t need extra music–it was nice to fill in the dramatic gap. I wonder if Servilla lobbied for the extra music. I don’t hate it but it did slow me down. Unfortunate I received a work assignment about 15 minutes before intermission, so i’ve not seen any of act 2. I also like seeing the clarinet soloist on stage.

    Summary: I like what I’ve seen so far. Interesting too, to see that Sesto and Servillia don’t “belong” to the ruling class per se. Great singing!

    • ah, thanks for the knowledgeable update. I’ve yet to learn about instrumental music. Too much opera!

      so if they don’t belong, on what basis did Tito choose them? Was it all Vitellia’s ploy? Seems like that. I agree there are some good ideas but it’s way overblown for its own good.

      work is good, we need to eat so we can blog ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Regie, or Not Regie?

        The first two interpolations were from the Mass– the benedictus and osanna (blessed is he who comes in the name of the lord) the quartet. The second was the Laudamus te (we worship you, we praise you…) So in addition to giving Servillia more to sing, it’s all about how wonderful god (or in this case Tito) is. The adagio and fugue for the preparations before the finale of act 1 did seem sinister (though i never thought of it that way before before. At the very very end, they did another interpolation (or appendix, or afterword, I guess since it was at the end) of a piece I did not know, but it could be from the Masonic Funeral Music. I am not sure I am happy that they added something at the end but… to answer your other question.. see below.

        • I actually got the meaning of the words but I still am not sure why they thought they needed to add that. It makes sense but still, why? Mozart didn’t think he needed any of that stuff, he did reuse his own tunes before so clearly that wasn’t the reason. Also you’d think, pressed for time as he was, he might’ve liked to recycle some of the music and still he didn’t include any of that. I personally think it detracts from the secular ethos of the libretto. Nowadays I think we need more enlightenment and less praise the lords…

          also the extra music and the fussing with the bombs really slowed things down, especially since I was watching the clock. IN spite of all that, the end result is not as cinematic as Guth’s. If it were, maybe I’d have liked that better.

    • ps: I was wondering on the way to work if they kill Tito in the end? The way things were going, they could’ve. Maybe the nice populace ain’t so nice and Willard White’s Publio was much scarier that usual.

      • Regie, or Not Regie?

        should I tell you or let you watch the rest later? ๐Ÿ™‚

        • go on, tell me! I don’t think I can hold it until the morning ๐Ÿ˜€

          • Regie, or Not Regie?

            in the finale, he starts pulling tubes and wires off him and gets out of bed. But he can’t stand up… he falls and expires on the floor. That’s when the sad extra music kicks in.

            I can’t decide whether to watch the rest of this tomorrow (the parts I missed between Intermission and right before Se allโ€™impero (Mozart won that battle, btw)) or switch to Glyndebourne. Probably should do Glyndebourne since it will be around less long.

            • Aha! So I got it right ๐Ÿ˜€ but more extra music? Eterni dei is not enough? I guess he didn’t do a good job for the good of Rome by consorting with the riff-raff…

              Guth is for once rather literal – at least compared to this ๐Ÿ˜‰ it’s not fucking with anything and it has a nice, melancholic feel. I do actually see a lot of merit with this one and will watch both many times (this one to figure out all the stuff I missed being too focused on what they hell was going on – how about the singing!), the other one because I like the atmosphere a lot.

  4. Regie, or Not Regie?

    Currentzis tends to let his keyboardist get away with alot (a la Rene Jacobs’ Mozart) I agree with you that it’s annoying. (Look! I’m live blogging too! but not on my own blog!!)

  5. You have fans on twitter, you should join ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Another fan:

  7. More fans on twitter…

  8. OK this is the last one. Now either you join twitter or you’re on your own ๐Ÿ˜‚

  9. Wow. OK. So, reading this again now that I have Glyndebourne’s Tito fresh in my mind… Jeepers, I’m not sure this is going to be my kind of production. You know how old-fashioned I am, Dehgg. Our Regie thresholds are very different grins I can deal with Regie if they’ve actually thought about a clever reading of the plot, but I was driven mad by Sellars hacking around the Indian Queen at ENO, and it sounds like he’s done the same with Tito. Why can’t the man just leave the stuff alone? And I don’t like the sound of the interpretation either. Gah. Yes, I’ll probably get round to it one day, but maybe in twenty years’ time when I’ve watched every other Tito on the market ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Oh, The Indian Queen was his? ๐Ÿ˜€ figures. I’ve only seen his contemporary opera readings where he makes a lot of sense, but I don’t think he translates well to traditional operas.

      so I don’t blame you! Had I not loved Tito as much as I do I’d’ve thrown the towel in when the non-Tito music started.

      • Regie, or Not Regie?

        I think Sellers is onto singing with his interpretation. And thinking back, al the extra music seems to emphasize how magnanimous and beloved Tito is—sort of background material as it were. That said, I think all the extra music is a bit much (especially the fortepiano muttering about in the midst of things; I don’t really like seeing Tito in the hospital bed and unflattering gown for all of act II; and I don’t really buy his dying at the end. I also hate the last bit of extra music tacked on at the end. ALL THAT said Golde Schulz ROCKS Vitellia.
        And all THAT SAID, I’m gonna watch the Guth/Glyndebourne/Coote/Croft version again, before it goes offline.

        • don’t worry about Glyndebourne going offline, I nicked it so I can dropbox it to you if you need it ๐Ÿ˜‰ that being siad, please watch it if you have time. I’m still at work.

          I saw how they tacked the music and I think I will simply skip it. The gown is unflattering and I think I will have more quips about the whole hospital setting ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • Also, yes to Schultz! I see she’s actually a Mozartean, I will be on the lookout for more from her.

          • Regie, or Not Regie?

            I watched Glyndebourne on Saturday and will try to see it again while the Telegraph is streaming. I am trying to come up with a metaphor or simile for Richard Croft’s voice. And how he triumphs over Se all’ impero

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