Category Archives: mozart
Yep, the series is merrily going along. The latest installment linked below follows the action from Vitellia doing her snarky best to congratulate Servilia for her good luck to the end of Act I.
I’ve quite been enjoying this weekly exercise in rediscovering an old fave. It’s doing a good job at pulling me back into the opera fold 🙂
Continuing this series throughout the month only makes sense. Part 2 takes us from Deh, se piacer mi vuoi to Ah, se fosse intorno al trono. That’s because I decided, as I was re-listening, the music was too good not to include, so there’s quite a lot of it and a surprising amount of Garanca, too. Way more than you’d expect from me 😉 Another things is I got overly inspired to discuss the themes of the libretto. It’s really quite different when you talk vs when you write, especially as I am talking basically as I am listening, just giving in to whatever the music brings to mind. And, like I said, this production has always inspired me to think 🙂 Makes a bit of a change from all the other times 😉
Why, hello! It’s been a few weird months, eh? Anyway, I did not forget today rounds up 229 years of Mozartian Titoness. But because it’s been the kind of year where trips to the opera have added up to a grand total of nil for yours truly, I’ll leave you with a Tito gif-joke I just know y’all love and have missed 😉
I have to say, I had not realised just how much regular outings to the opera / other cities contribute to my sanity. I always had a feeling I was exaggerating a bit by overbooking. Turns out, no amount of hours spent gaming a kazillion different games or reading or listening to podcasts or even playing with pets has a similar effect. I always thought I could win one of those “locked up for a month in a cabin in Alaska in the middle of winter” challenges but this year has proved me wrong. I needs people! and exciting locales! and a good ol’ live show where half the audience is coughing and your only worry is that they’re disrupting a really fine performance. Remember that? Innocent times. On the other hand, the garden at work has never looked better. Neither did the cupboards in my kitchen… But, honestly, I’d even go watch this Tito right now 😉
DaPonte: … and the biggest joke of all shall be its title!
One of my colleagues likes to listen to ClassicFM and although the playlist is mostly waltzes, 19th century stuff with cymbals, Mozart piano music, waltzes, film music, Elgar, more waltzes or arias recorded at least 30 years ago, the posh sounding DJs have somehow not managed to learn how to say the opera titles/aria names the composer failed to provide in English for our convenience. I haven’t felt so proud of my Italian opera title proficiency in a good while.
Conclusion: the music selection might be mostly boring, but listening to ClassicFM DJs’ mangled Italian will make you feel good about yourself.
PS: the prize of the current ClassicFM competition is a trip to Maastricht to visit Andre Rieu’s fairy castle. I mean, come on! Who would refuse that?! I did. I went to Maastricht last month, spent more time than strictly necessary and I still failed to visit that wonder of the classical world 😦
What better return to regular programming chez dehggi than a Tito trip? This is my first Tito trip in two years and this one comes with a historical side dish, as it were. Tito itself is running in Liege but whilst one is at it, a roadtrip to Aachen, the Carolingian capital, is just the thing to do, opportunities permitting. Plus you get to be in three countries in one day (four, if you count the point of origin). I am doing my bit for the upcoming EU elections.
But back to the main things –
Tito with Bonitatibus and Ciofi and the lovely Opéra royal de Wallonie = excellent, though we were already expecting that. I will, of course, write more about it but I was very pleasantly impressed with the conductor, as well. Your chance to catch it on Culturebox is very good, as it will be broadcast on the 22nd of this month, and will likely stay there for a while. Whether you will like the production or not depends on your level of tolerance for the whimsical.
Aachen Cathedral = gets the dehggi stamp of badass approval. Definitely among my top three cathedrals, with Sagrada Familia and San Marco (though I still need to go inside San Marco). If you ever get in the area, I highly recommend making a stop in Aachen just for the cathedral. It is that good, especially for lovers of Early Gothic slash Romanesque. And also because it is neither of the more famous ones above, you will not need to queue for entrance. They do charge you 1 Euro for taking pictures inside, but I am sure you can google the rest of the artwork. Seeing it for yourself is the thing even if you take no pictures.
Like any self respecting city with a long history, Aachen has legends, in this case regarding the (not very bright) devil. Here is the paw of the she wolf used by the clever citizen to thwart his evil scheme of collecting human souls –
…And back to Liege –
PS – yes, cobblestones… they are a thing on the Charlemagne trail (ie, also in Aachen). For Liege, I do recommend the Montagne de Bueren steps, however, you might get your yearly feel of cobblestones on the way back, especially if you are taking the alternative route down after (or during) light rain. It is a very picturesque route, though, so I do recommend it. But I have never seen more unruly cobblestones in my life. They just do their thing as far as roads go, sort of like if the Loch Ness monster had hidden underneath.
Hello, Tito fans! Long time no talk and even longer no Tito talk. Here‘s the first Tito broadcast of the year that I can think of, audio stream of the resilient 1792 Ponnelle production, with Met Sesto-in-chief JDD and others. Hope you enjoy! I hope I don’t fall asleep, there are 2 hours to go until kick-off. (This paragraph refers to 3 April 2019; if you got here after that date, the link is no longer of help, unless you want to know the future Met audio broadcast dates).
ps: the RAI broadcast of the Florence Tito last month was the first of the year. I’m going to talk about it, as well, in a while. Sorry for all the delays; such is life.
ps2: I did fall asleep.
A reminder to tune in right now for Betulia liberata (featuring Galou and Piau), just in case you haven’t had enough of Juditha over this period 😉
To begin with, the tenor has a proto-Se all’impero type aria, hehe. There is a tenor. Is he Holofernes?
Have you ever wondered why none of Mozart’s best known operas are based on biblical subjects? Could be because they all end up sounding like bedroom dramas/dramedies 😉 The recits for sure.
This must be Juditha; she’s not exactly heroic but she has some very high notes. Piau sounds different in Mozart but beautiful nonetheless. The tenor: blah blah. Juditha answers back. He must be Holofernes, indeed. She sounds sort of like a particularly en garde Susanna. He sounds like a Mozart tenor that is not portraying royalty.
I know this aria! Unless I’m thinking about a Haydn aria. Nope, it’s this aria I’m thinking about. The one here is neither but it’s pretty good, finally something rather heroic. Well, finally – we’re not yet half an hour in.
As I understand, this is being held at Haus fur Mozart (it’s part of Mozart Week 2019), which we know and love in all its splendid poshness. The audience is very appreciative, they applau after every aria.
More tenor; he’s fretting (like Mozart tenors are wont to). The chorus mirrors his fretting – see what I mean about sounding like a bedroom dramedy?
A minor key aria, oh no! His nookie chances have perished for the moment. Pieta, signor di noi! He really says that. Wait, maybe he’s not Holofernes? It’s a bit serious and the chorus joins in. Maybe he’s… Ozias? Mozart, help me out here. Are we supposed to laugh at him or cry with him/them?
Anyway, it’s kind of an interesting mood, quite far from great Mozart but onto something.
More budoir-chatting recit. Oh, look, Galou showed up. Who is she here? She seems alarmed. We hope for an angsty aria. It’s a rousing accompanied recit, pretty decent writing from Wolfie, great agitation from Galou. Cool, how about the aria now? Hey, it’s actually a mid-tempo number with trills. Who knew! She sounds interesting in Mozart, more mezzoish than usual. She’s hoping for something, but who isn’t in this scenario? She seems to be vaccilating (also known as the typical mid-tempo number with trills). Oh, no, a Mozart character who is undertain of how to proceed further?!
The audience is so well behaved, even the contralto gets applause! Aww, and I always make fun of the Salzburg crowd 😉
Speaking of preghi sinceri (sp), is she Holofernes or what?
The tenor and the choir return for a honest to god (no kidding) dirge. He could be Ozias. A tenor Ozias?!
No answer to preghi, some bass showed up. I think we’re doomed. Whoever he is, he’s also nowhere near as calm as the Assyrians over at Vivaldi’s. A fretting buffo bass is amusing.
Yes, an aria with trumpets! NOW we’re talking. The buffo bass reminds me of the cuckolded husband from Lo sposo deluso. He must be Holofernes. I think we’ve established by now that everyone else save for Piau could be Holofernes 😉
Wait, the amorous tenor is speaking to Galou and calling her Giuditta. Err… ? Haha. Total confusion chez dehggi.
I DO know this aria! It’s… it’s… hold on, I know it. It’s… something that Hallenberg sings. Parto inerme! e non pavento! So Galou’s made up her mind and she IS indeed Giuditta, because, hello, she’s going unarmed. So she’s the one chopping heads in this one. Who is Piau? Abra? Piau is not Holofernes 😉 I’ve never heard Galou sing Mozart; she’s stylish as usual. I’m still not sure if Wolfie’s music best suits the colour of her voice. I mean she sounds good and all but I’m not sure she sounds great like in the Baroque rep. The audience loves her. Aww. I think she’d got more applase here than in the Baroque I’ve heard her where she stole my heart. Such is life eh?
The choir gets all verklempt over the gran cimento she’s getting herself into. I wouldn’t advise anyone to play with cement either. Even the choir gets hearty applause. Hey, Salzburg fans, go easy on the cider.
We understand from the commenter that Holofernes has not entered the building yet! This was all in the Bethulian camp. So, there you go, the Who is Holofernes? game continues.
Apparently there is a theological debate going on, as the next (tenor) aria features the line “if you want to see god”. Could’ve fooled me, it sounds along the lines of Del piu sublime soglio. And dude, does it go on…
The tenor/Ozias really has a lot to sing in this one. They are some
long neat mid-tempo Tito in training arias. The audience will get sore palms by the end of this performance.
The Bethulians can’t deal with the tension, Giuditta is not replying to texts. Answer: angsty-storm aria!
I’ve heard this one, too, though I can’t name it – something heavily featuring procella and naufragar, of course. I have to say that Haus for Mozart, although the small hall out of the three, isn’t exactly that small. Would have been intereseting to hear how Piau and Galou managed. Their style is great. The audience has been building up their cheer and I think they likes this one best. Piau’s coloratura-fest was ace.
To the fields! They are all basket cases. Oh, Giudatta’s back, thank YWH! You do get that nice effect with a contralto/dark mezzo tone, where you don’t have to do much to get everyone to calm down: just open your mouth. Giuditta gives a heartfelt speech and you bet they all hang onto her very word. Well, I did and all the way from here at that. Aha, she’s already built her plan, she will attack whilst he’s asleep. Good idea, Giuditta, I heard it works rather well, especially if your Holofernes is a burly chap. She’s quite verbose, let me tell you, but that just means more Galou sounds. Maybe she told them everything in great detail. I think there is also something else she tells them: listen to Vivaldi’s version 😉
There is quite a lot of wringing of hands this side of the 18th century.
Prigionier che fa ritorno – is this an aria we should know, or is this just one of those Metastasio stock phrases? They do like to give Giuditta mid-tempo stuff with very long held notes to sing. Come on, I want something fist-pumping. Then again, Galou gets some neat emotion in this one – she sounds more like usual self here. This Giuditta is much less angry than the Vivaldi one. I think she may enjoy the spotlight a lot better.
The buffo bass is pooping his pants for some reason. Take heart, dude, Giuditta is doing just fine, judging by the above aria. I think he loves her or something. Te solo adoro, he says in a – you guessed – mid-tempo aria with trills. His trills are kinda nice. Also, nice pp I wasn’t expecting on eternita (they all get philosophical). I think he’s a bass-baritone – a nicely toned one. Tentative applause, no! He did quite nicely.
More fretting in Bethulian camp. And another mid-tempo aria with… Pieta, signior, pieta – now for soprano, with some nice pp. The deal seems to be this: the Assyrians are attacking. The Bethulians have prayed very hard.
Bethualians: YHW! Pieta, signior, pieta!
Giuditta: clearly, someone has to do something.
Ozias: YHW bless you, noble widow! We will pray for you.
Buffo bass: she’s so hot when she gets bossy.
Bethulians – in this case, Amanda Forsythe – are still busy fretting. Major fret aria, so-so on the Mozart scale. They keep talking, obsviously Giuditta is busy… wait, she’s back. I wonder if Metastasio was short on funds and couldn’t afford the Assyrians in this libretto 😉
The choir is back and so is Giuditta – together. Nice idea, could be a powerful scene to stage. We need more Galou + choir, smartly conducted, though. Very nice ending, Wolfie recovered well.
Well, is it?
It depends. It’s certainly rather too long. The story has potential not matched by the librettist’s skills. The mezzo hopeful doesn’t have access to any arias on the level of Parto or Deh, per questo…
But there is a ravishing duet that does often include a mezzo and there is Fuor del mar for the Mozart tenor. Most famous of all is Elettra’s showstopper. And lest we forget, the choruses, which do rival Tito‘s (I have been quoted in the past saying they are better. Again, it depends on who’s conducting/singing). Also, Mozart himself was very excited to write it and there are many letter back-and-forths between him and his father to document the (not particularly smooth – due to external forces -) process.
Conclusion: mixed bag. Definitely worth a listen but pick your conductor/singers/chorus combo wisely. Make sure your Idamante is a mezzo, the other options simply fall short here.
Yes, it’s that time of the year again when we harvest what we sow. You may have noticed I’ve been rather quiet this month but the backstage has had some activity recently, with yours truly busy tinkering at this little gift which I hope everyone who reads the blog will enjoy 🙂 and if you don’t… well, you can skip to the 12:55 and listen to Eterni dei, in a version I’m sure you will recognise.
Ep 3: True Crime Tito
Without further ado, here’s episode 3 of the opera. innit? podcast, from which I drifted away a couple of years ago due to it taking too long to produce. But I like to hear myself talk too much to actually give up, even in the face of laziness (which I admit is one of my – very few 😉 – weaknesses) and competition from pressing “real life” activities.
So, yea, that’s where you get after years of thinking about Tito too much and talking about it too little (although, thanks to you, dear reader – and often more than once, opera buddy – I’ve talked about Tito more than I thought I ever would 5 years ago).
edit 17/10/18: sounds like Vesuvius may have erupted later than we’ve thought for hundreds of years… rather after 17 October 79AD than on 24 August 79AD…
Giulietta Simionato is one of my (few) favourite Romeos but I just found today – whilst researching the state of Tito nowadays – that she’s ended her illustrious career (willingly) singing… Servilia in La Scala’s small hall. File it under odd choices to go out on. It’s interesting, but more like how Annio would sing it (obviously):
ps: don’t get excited, it’s not her singing Non piu di fiori later – though it would’ve been cool for her to sing Vitellia, however she apparently made her decision late in the game (every other role was taken). So, yes, La Scala allowed Tito about 90 years ago – in the small hall, mind.