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Vivaldi, Darius and the Shroud of Turin

It’s official, thadieu and I have our tickets for the very silly L’incoronazione di Dario at Torino’s Teatro Regio, where we’ll see this badarse cast under Dantone’s (who else? He loves this one) baton:

Dario, che viene incoronato re dei persiani tenore Carlo Allemano
Statira, principessa semplice, primogenita
di Ciro contralto

Sara Mingardo
Argene, sorella minore di Statira contralto Delphine Galou
Niceno, filosofo baritono Riccardo Novaro
Alinda, principessa di Media, amante
di Oronte soprano

Roberta Mameli
Oronte, nobile perfetto, pretendente
di Statira mezzosoprano

Lucia Cirillo
Arpago, pretendente di Statira soprano Veronica Cangemi
Flora, damigella di corte, confidente delle due
principesse contralto

Romina Tomasoni
Ombra di Ciro tenore Cullen Gandy

So we know the contraltos but what of the baritone? He was also in the original recording as well as at Festival de Beaune:

And here’s Sr Novaro singing not Vivaldi but spinning rather well on that horse statue:

Whilst scratching my no so cosmopolitan head regarding things to do in Torino other than watching contraltos and friends, a buddy reminded me of the famous shroud.

Jesus in the shroud, posing suspiciously like a medieval knight would

Why of course! Who wouldn’t want to see that? Except, upon investigation, it turns out that it’s not that often on display. 9/10 times you’re likely to see a copy. Which means you see a copy of a… fantasy. About right for the post truth era 😉 Though we hope all the above musicians show up in old skool real fashion.

…And the plastic chair shall be king

I’m not going to lie, I enjoy a good cliche when I see one (remember the Reactor of Doom staircase? I want one for my lounge). This blog would be more picture happy had we but media library space enough and time (or at least less laziness). Today I’m neither lazy nor pressed for time, so –

I’ve noticed (regie) opera directors have a weak spot for plastic chairs. Here are some examples off the top of my head, although I bet there’s much more (and even more compelling and statement-making) out there:

classroomR

Rinaldo (Glyndebourne) – I think this one is the Granddaddy of them all, as it’s not simply chairs, but classrooms elevated to the status of compelling spaces. I’m iffy on the production but man, I wish Goffredo, Armida and Argante could’ve been summoned in my history class! The Physics teacher needed some hissing angui d’Aletto coming out of her drawer(s).

chairsId

Idomeneo (Theater-an-der-Wien) – the kingdom has gone bankrupt whilst Idomeneo was away so we’ve learned to make the most out of our chairs. Fear our metallic legs, Neptune!

lootersOE

Orphee et Eurydice (Munich) – Orphee and Eurydice surprise looters on returning home unannounced. Eurydice was so upset with Orphee’s negligence, she decided to return to the Elysian Fields. Channeling Offenbach.

So what did we learn? The plastic chair makes a compelling statement. Of some sort1.


  1. Earlier this week I went to see the Malevich exhibit at the Tate Modern (who doesn’t like the Black Square, eh?). One of the canvases was painted on both sides. Why do you think he did that? asked my ex and fellow art lover. Knowing Malevich’s cerebral bent, I pondered the endless possibilities. Hold on, my ex said, it says here he was skint. 

Somebody give that singer a mirror!

A good aria to cool down to after roaming the streets on a hot day in search of good photos is Venti, turbini. I was very amused – in a good way – by Pokupić’s facial expressions:

By which I mean they are spot on. I can imagine Rinaldo behaving just like that.

Venti, turbini! Do my bidding!

Ever notice that calling on the help of the elements is a favourite past-time in Rinaldo? No less than 3 characters1 do so in grand style.

But let’s talk a bit about this bad-ass aria sung by our hero, one of Orlando furioso‘s great knights. Being as I am a big fan of bravura arias, I’ve heard a good number of renditions out of which three have stuck.

The contralto: It’s a classic so it goes first. La Podles owns when it comes to mighty warriors2.

The countertenor: Slow and dignified; Lazzara does a great job.

The mezzo: And now for one of them downhill races Maestro Spinosi loves so much, warts and all. I like my singers fearless and surely DiDonato is3.


  1. Argante, Armida and Rinaldo. 
  2. I don’t know if she was too close to the microphone when this was recorded but I like this rendition a lot more than the one from 1990 when she sings vaaaenti instead. 
  3. Here is the cute story posted by the uploader in the info: “Joyce was taking over Marie Nicole Lemieux for this recital, the latter being unable to perform this night. She thus sang with sheets of music, and for this specific aria, she made a mistake while reading the score, having forgotten a page. She got lost, the orchestra kept on playing, and she looked at the public laughing and saying “I’m completely lost”. When the encore came, she said “Well, if you allow me, I would really like to sing this entirely!” So this is her 2nd shot :)”