Handel spice and Hallenberg nice
Those who have long stepped into the second decade of the 21st centuries must’ve caught on to the fact that Ann Hallenberg is to return to Wigmore Hall in March (Ferrandini), April (Scarlatti, Handel and Vivaldi) and May 2016 (Gluck and Mozart; perhaps a bit of Lucio Silla, pretty please?). I, still being stuck somewhere in cca 2002, did not know all this until thadieu pointed out to me that you don’t even need fb to read AH’s fb page. So now (a couple of weeks after AH’s post) I am in the know as well. Time travel!
Let me celebrate this in a random-ish manner with a medley of mostly Handel opera covers that have long made me chuckle:
- So… JDD’s cover of Furore/Handel Arias makes me think of the film Face Off. She seems about to remove hers. Wouldn’t that make a good music video for a duet with herself? (Has she not recorded one yet?)
- Chaconne is giving us a glimpse at local pasttimes. Handel Duets in the bathtub? Every Wednesday. Nipple tweaking with tea and biscuits? Makes chatting more lively.
- Teddy Tahu-Rhodes DG is pointing his sword at the Sydney Opera House logo to say cheers, SOH, for making everyone remember me as the Chippendale Zorro.
- The fourth one is a good example of what happens if you market opera to tipsy prom queens (Chaconne, who else is that cutting edge?).
- As for the oldie but goldie, the facial hair is priceless. I think I need a new facial hair post, now dedicated to gents singing gents’ fashions. The writing utensils and candle add a nice, old fashioned touch. I can’t fathom who he is supposed to be and what is he supposed to be writing other than dear mum…
Can somebody explain Mimi to me?
The heroine from La boheme, that is. Why are we supposed to care? Is this – finally!!! – a story about the good girl next door where – finally!!! – the cheeky, sexy one has to take the sidekick spot? Looks like Musetta can do her own rescuing.
Why is Mimi so popular? Because we feel sorry for her? I’ve been told “the music is so beautiful”, but I’ve always struggled to remember how stuff like Si, mi chiamo Mimi and Che gelinda manina goes. I do – unsurprisingly – have a better idea about Musetta’s aria.
Through the opera Mimi is massively passive belying her initial boldness of visiting Rodolfo and pretending she’s lost her key. Immediately after this somewhat lively entrance she settles into the role of Rodolfo’s girlfriend. There’s a bit of drama midway through where she wants to spare him heartache by passive-aggressively breaking up with him when she knows she’s dying. So she’s continuously lying to him in one way or another but it’s ok because she means well and she deserves a bit of happiness, doesn’t she? You’d think she could’ve got her happiness without these unnecessary lies. But then there’d be no plot. Because it’s the 1800s and Musetta is a bit too bold to take centre stage.
Thursday’s Something Else (Puccini)
Since I spent most of the day in bed, I thought I’d go for a short opera. I chose the 2004 Gianni Schicchi production from Glyndebourne. Typical Puccini: I liked the drama way more than the music. Not that the music was rubbish, in fact it was very clever, just sort of… what can I say? my usual reaction to Puccini: a bit underwhelming emotionally. But the comedy was funny and the production top notch. I’d like to see more productions where stage movement is so well directed.