händel to start the night

Smorgy’s compilation including all videos + blogs.  read into the comment section for a translated review by Sergei too.
and Arashi‘s blog post on the experience.
and a playlist from smorgy of her concert in Moscow, clips courtesy of her fans dolchev and Deoniz. It’s so great she’s so genuine and relaxed in front of the camera. *love* the dress too! haven’t heard her sings Arsace (semiramide) or Farnace (Mitridate) since forever. not sure what all the comments this last year of her voice “problems” were about, she sounds off-the-chart gorgeous to me! link to Dolchev’s blog and Den!s’ blog.
here’s a 30min documentary of Frau Kasarova’s outing and rehearsal in moscow, much much thanks to Deoniz. Head over to his blog (link below on stroll through town) for more photos as well. she sounds soooo great, love the voice, the hand tapping to music, knees rocking, boots, you name it. she seems so comfortable there. Also heard her mentioning Lenin a couple of times at the Red Square :-). i was once there too and can recite a couple of Lenin songs… (btw, what’s with the male-only contingent?)
well, to my surprise it’s thursday! no, wait, it’s friday! y’all should try this sometimes, stay up 22-26 hours, sleep 10-14 hrs. it’s been quite an interesting 2 weeks, i have to constantly check date/time to figure out which day i’m in in case of meetings… BUT! paper is done! pending some last comments from co-authors, am ready to send it off. this long night will be dedicated to combing through everything spotting small mistakes.

And in case you are in the same boat as I am, not able to have a nice stroll through town with Frau Kasarova (!), we’ll just have to wait for reports from Moscow while going about our nights… I picked up a nice “small” pair of studio-recording speakers for the office. great replacement to the laptop’s head-ache inducing speakers. and just in time for Händel. One of the nicest things about recital cd of rare works is that you really get to explore different less-known operas/arias. I’ve been such a fan of a couple of tunes since the pick-up of sento brillar, and finally gotten around to hunt down a live recording of one of the operas: “Arianna in Creta”. As it turns out, this broadcast was on the EXACT day as the famous Agrippina tour to London, and BBC3 broadcasted one and not the other 😦 .

Here’s the first aria, fantastically playing currently on newly picked up speakers:

Onto the really cool tune which got me searching for the entire opera in the first place, with a chorus at the end:

Aria di Teseo………………………..Coro
Bella sorge la speranza……………Bella sorge la speranza
Lusinghiera nel mio seno………….Lusinghiera al nostro seno
Né fallace o menzognera…………Né fallace o menzognera
Più la crede il fido cor……………..Più la crede il nostro cor.
Già la calma io spero all’alma……Già la calma abbiam nell’alma
Né funesta ria tempesta………….Né funesta ria tempesta
Più rinnova il mio timor……………Più non teme il nostro amor.

rough (but good) translation:
The flattering hope rises beautifully in my breast,
the devoted heart no longer believes hope is deceptive or false
I wish my soul peace
I wish the soul
not even a disastrous, evil storm will renew my fear
nor will it renew my pain.

As it turns out, Händel used the same tune in another opera, “Oreste”, and in hunting down for that, i ran across this staging (which apparently got tons of boos) with german singing. who cares, there’s a nice whiteshirt, and the tune is irresistable still:


About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

73 Responses to händel to start the night

  1. I am trying to catch what I can understand from her Russian… I think she was saying in the West she is often mistaken for a Russian singer, but she doesn’t protest, she’s rather flattered she says… Also that she likes Russian literature…

    Ah the other segment really interesting, she’s talking about the anti-Slav stereotyping. I wish I could understand more! There’s a presumption that the Slav singers, like Slavs in general, can’t possibly cope with all that musical culture, that they’re “peasants”. Just like in that interview that Eyes linked, she doesn’t shy away from using the word ‘racism’. I love her dignified, sad anger over this!!

    • thả diều says:

      ah, thanks for the translation! i’m just happy to see her relaxed and “at home” in moscow! and from everything I’ve heard, firing from all cylinders too! love it that you can just turn on camera freely in moscow, and she’s so relaxed, honest, and humbled and let being taped (i really sound like a fan gurrl :D)

    • No, I agree, that is no small thing: how she made herself available. I wonder if she was friends with the cameraman before this? Can’t think of another opera singer allowing this much access to any old video blogger. But if she didn’t know him before, just trusted him, kudos to Vessie.

      • thả diều says:

        ah, if you read his blog, he talked about it. He’s just a pure fan, flew to Alcina last year and Berlin this year. Then somehow (google translator was vague there) got to be part of her inner circle for hosting. But he came to rehearsal the first night and she was suprised and happy to see him he said. THen she allowed him to tape away :-). Just finished watching this video too, at the end is her rehearsal of Arsace, sooo cool!!!

        please feel free to translate the after_the_concert scenes too! 🙂

        edit2: YES! i hear her speaking English!!! “Thank you for coming. My pleasure.”!!! can you believe such a great singer would say that to her fans? *LOVE*

      • Purity McCall says:

        Totally, I think Deoniz really deserves a white shirt medal! Wonder if maybe moving managers has made her more relaxed and available… always frustrated that her pr machine was so poor. This kind of stuff would absolutely hook newbies. I mean the combo of such an obviously lovely, engaging and thoughtful person with that voice (some of that rehearsal material was mind blowing). And of course of the already hooked the contemplation of sitting in a rehearsal that close to that voice is the equivalent of dreaming of winning the lottery for most folks!

        And yeah loving the moves… I remember at the London Agrippina and Alcina concert performances loving how freely physical she was with the music.

        • Smorg says:

          I’ll second that! (Medal for Denis). 😀 Something wasn’t quite kosher with the old agent indeed. I’m hearting the new one so far. I think Denis relates somewhere on his posts that she says she enjoys getting to make final decision on what offers to accept or turn down now. I think they were chatting about this allege invitation from the Bolshoi that she never received. 😛

          And the moves! Yup, completely different from moving to sell the music, ay? She is spontaneously moved by the music. It’s fascinating to behold. 😀

        • thả diều says:

          oh? i didn’t know about any management changes, you insiders are great! it’s so nice then that she can see and choose where she wants to go. let me check, may be we can get chicago lyric opera to invite her again? (if that company is not having hardship that is…) also, new york city opera… problem with the MET is you’ll probably never see her given how huge that haus is…

          and yes! am still enjoying the dance! the finger tapping, facial muscle changes, *love*

          ps- then what happened to sesto next year then?? management skipped out on her? (almost sounds like that strange thing w/ Barbican taking her name out…)

  2. Eyesometric says:

    LOVE ….. everything you both said plus – taking the lower octave whilst marking it in the Sesto aria rehearsal, new rocking moves, and particularly the warmth to fans at the meet and greet. A fabulous alternative to bookshop browsing. Will follow discussion avidly 🙂

    • thả diều says:

      ah Eyes, you got a bit distracted from book browsing? Sorry I would have joined the browsing over at your place too… except i’ve been in a bit of a daze following *her* every move/tap/rock/…. ahhhh, what an incredible experience for her fans there and us here, getting *such* intimate glimpses… You know, i realize sometimes it’s not the singers who have problem as much as the stiff-necks in charge. I can imagine even if she lets us here filming her in america, some darn security guy/gal would show up demanding you to turn over your camera…

      Thanks to these close-up videos, i’m really seeing so much more of her feel for the music in every move, facial expression, and i can *hear* it in her voice coloring! and how she roams quietly around the hall checking out everything, sooo charming! the winking, making the cross, just too cute… ahhh

    • Purity McCall says:

      And you have the Alcina DVD waiting for you at home 🙂 What a very VK weekend you are having Eyes !

  3. Purity McCall says:

    “male only contingent”…. err Dr T you do know it’s opera right? How many divas can you name who had a female posse (with the obvious exception!)? Sadly we opera dykes are very much the lesser of the species. Also let’s be honest, despite the whole “women, good, multi-tasking” thing I think most women who admire a singer would struggle to walk, talk and worship at the same time… the boys got us beat on that one 🙂

    Lovely to see the White Shirt VK flames breaking out all over the webz…. she’s still ‘Simply the Best’ 🙂

    • Eyesometric says:

      Simply the Best – cue for more rock moves?
      LOVE … the way she turns to the band in rehearsal in such a gorgeous physical way and gently dictates the phrasing that she wanted the conductor to do, but he didn’t.
      ….. the exchange of views with the conductor in the dressingroom. The man is a piece of wood!

      • Purity McCall says:

        Indeed. My assistant Mildred (who seems to have fluent German… I begin to worry about that girl!) informs me that it was a rather toe-curling exchange of views. But then body language gets to that too. Wondered what the Eyes take on a fellow conductor would be 🙂

      • thả diều says:

        exact my thought, she’s passionately explaining and he’s totally brushing her off!
        and Purity, I was thinking too: what would Eye the conductor do, in fact how Eye the conductor would have conducted such sessions? 😉

        beaten by the boys? i might be late to the party so haven’t quite waving any flag yet!! her Amici is currently on. methinks smorgy is missing a couple of videos on that playlist, wonder if i can wake her up… am still looking for that 1-octave down Deh per questo in concert version…

  4. Eyesometric says:

    How would Eyes the conductor conduct such sessions? – probably in a heap on the floor!
    Firstly – the man doesn’t look at her. She wants to do so much with the music and he’s actually looking at the score. If he doesn’t know the dots well enough to watch as well as listen then he should not be there. There is nothing more (musically!) satisfying than the glance between artist and conductor when they meet unspoken agreement. I only saw one such occasion during the rehearsal. She deserves better. ….. I’m free 🙂
    When I get some real time away from my book fest I will gladly expound on the subject. What’s the Russian for plank?

    • thả diều says:

      “probably in a heap on the floor!” 😉
      will wait indeed ’til you can expound more on the subject! (just learned a new english word!)
      you can see in the concert she’s standing almost in front of him and looking at him for eye contacts all the time too.
      ps- i saw it once at close enough range, constant exchange of glances and nods between Tomomi Nishimoto and Sumi Jo, very beautiful to watch and listen.

      • Purity McCall says:

        Absolutely, she really is so collaborative in her music making and he seems to be unable to handle any. Compare to watching her playing around with Minkowski in concerts…

        And hearing her Sesto again had my heart racing…. oh god please one more performance. Gals, we might have to fundraise and mount one ourselves… Anik and I did have a plan like this once before. Step One: one of us needs to win the lottery. Volunteers?

      • thả diều says:

        But Purity, isn’t she slated to sing Sesto in Toulouse this coming year? i thought i read that somewhere… then we (I) just need to make acquaintances in order to borrow their couch…

        It’s interesting she’s singing with the philharmonic this time. those conductors aren’t known to be so adaptive to singers, are they? google translator is not helping me, but Dolchev new blog post seems to be discussing about conducting+orchestra sound and her low register overlapping (??), and something about opera in moscow not willing to invite good singers in… I used to have several russian friends… need to make new connection here!

        edit: actually while listening to the mozart clips earlier, i was wondering why she doesn’t sing mozart anymore? She could keep Tancredi, perhaps 1 run as Arsace ;-), then a load of Mozart and Handel and whatever else…

      • Purity McCall says:

        She was but it disappeared from her website and I can’t find anything else about it. I was devastated!

      • Smorg says:

        Hey gals! I’m afraid I’m really unfashionably late to the party this time. 😦

        I think she’d still want to sing Mozart roles, too, especially Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Sesto. The competition for those roles is pretty fierce these days, though. Perhaps she isn’t getting offers for them…

  5. Eyesometric says:

    …. and event better to experience! A part of the job which makes up for all the negative stuff we have to get through eg. training an amateur mens’ chorus when they have to sing and move at the same time!!!

  6. I’m just watching this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdv726O4wDI&feature=channel_video_title, how generous she is with the people who came to the concert. She signed a picture of her with her son and her husband at one point for somebody.

    I love that she touches people a lot! I can’t imagine a certain Scandinavian diva that I adore touching anybody, let alone a stranger in the signing line.

    So many men in that line up; old men, middle aged men, young men, until that young woman bursts out with her enthusiasm and VK immediately grabs her hands to put her at ease. What a lovely moment.

    • thả diều says:

      hey, i have a hunch that that young woman is Arashi on YT 🙂
      and I’ve seen that picture before, that’s actually Ramon Vargas, not her husband (but the kid is her son I believe). That’s from the Werther performance way back in May 2010 when i saw her live for the first time ever at Wiener Staatsoper ( i documented my experience over at Purity’s 😉 ).

      Ja, i’m very touched by how she touches and hugs fans and friends during the conversation too. makes it more a friendly chat than an intimidating give-me-the-darn-picture affair you know. She also said she enjoys scanning the audience so that she remembers who is who when they queue up for autograph. if that’s that case, she’d never see me from standing room 100-200m away, but one of these days 🙂

      but is it really true Dame Otter gives such a vibe?

      • Arashi says:

        (Geez, how do I answer a comment without a Reply box?)

        As for the first rehearsal clip (with Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix) there’s not much to translate. Simple work process stuff. The only special thing is VK’s speech to the orchestra before she starts singing. She said: “There… (waves hand) …in the West they always used to take me for a Russian, though I’m not a Russian, I’m a Bulgarian. And it’s such an excitement to be in Russia at last!”

      • thả diều says:

        ah, good “morning” Arashi! ah, so i have it set up so that we can only have 3 level of reply. it seems to not work well for a couple of people, let me go change it to 5 perhaps. then you should see the “reply” button then!

    • Oh I see. She said “oh, my son” so I presumed the grown man with the beard would be the hubby. Should have known you know everything about that picture. 🙂

      I wonder how much the camera affected her behaviour (people behave better when the camera’s around) but things like this you simply can’t fake. She seems genuinely interested in striking up a conversation with everybody who came to shake her hand. Brava.

      • thả diều says:

        ah, that’s what she said? Could you be so kind to translate the rest? 😀
        no, just that pix. somehow i came across it, i think via a youtube post, someone also taped a section of the performance, might have been one of these 2 russian guys as well…

        ps- i think Arashi just confirmed it on the same clip 😉

      • Luckily, Arashi is on the case now so she will. I was translating based on the similarities of my first language (Serbo-Croatian) and Russian… and there are plenty of faux amis in Slavic languages.

      • Smorg says:

        Yup, I think she says ‘O, my son’ and that he’s taller than she is now. 😀 The lass is probably very used to being followed around by a live camera by now. She’s been in quite a few television portraits and she hosted that Euromaxx program that followed her to Bulgaria a few years back.

      • Arashi says:

        The rest of the translation is up!

      • thả diều says:

        thanks so much Arashi! the other day you also sent Smorgy a translation, was wondering if we could put that up on the YT clip as well? that’s the first rehearsal Denis put up 🙂

  7. Eyesometric says:

    I also thought it might be Arashi. She has posted many, many words on her site but I only have the iPod with me and cannot translate to get the gist –

  8. Purity McCall says:

    I don’t think there is a white shirt anywhere who is sleeping much right now, or staying very far away from the web even if they should be working ;(

    • Eyesometric says:

      Anyone seen Smorgy?

      • thả diều says:

        the mormon girls might be keeping her away from important matters…

      • Smorg says:

        Sorry I’m late! Denis spent his morning posting a couple of new videos, then I went fishing around for the concert’s reviews, and then thought I’d just compile everything in one place ( http://smorgzone.blogspot.com/2011/09/vesselina-kasarova-in-moscow-2011.html ) and make playlists for Denis’ and Dolchev’s videos. Then Indi the dog needed to go potty… and then the laundry had to get thrown into the machine. 😛 It’s a typical restless Saturday chez Smorgy. 😀

        Luckily, I won’t see any Mormon again until tomorrow (and hopefully they’ll allow me to escape back home afterward). 😉 But you should have seen them when they dropped in Thursday. I’m telling you, that third girl looks exactly like Elina Garanca right down to eye pigment and body shape (if only she’s much shorter… only around 5’4 while Garanca is around 5’7 1/2″). It made for a surreal visit… 😉

    • thả diều says:

      ah, was about to mention i need to sleep at some point too, and paper is still calling, references needed to be added, 1 more figure needed to be fixed…. while eyes glued to YT vid…

      • Eyesometric says:

        Eyes glued – hmm, I could use a big screen and your new speakers right now. Somehow the iPod isn’t quite up to the job. Perhaps Smorg has had another power failure? She did report about the 3 mormon girls ( one a dead ringer for Garanca) and lunch but then her day took a crazy turn. Maybe she’s recovering.

      • Purity McCall says:

        “Three Mormon Girls for Lunch” sounds like an Oprah book of the week, or a porn film…

  9. thả diều says:

    Arashi is posting a short segment of translation on this clip (very funny) :-).

  10. Eyesometric says:

    “Three mormon girls for lunch” – a title I shall search for tomorrow but not sure what kind of establishment I should try.

    • Eyesometric says:

      Ok. You ARE too young! I’ll explain when you have more time. Sleep well and thank you for hosting the impromptu WS gathering.

  11. Purity McCall says:

    Sleep well An, sleep the sleep of the Kasarovian Army warrior who has done her job well today 🙂

    OK someone, Mormon girls or not time that Smorgy was up and at ’em!

    • Eyesometric says:

      Now can someone please tell me how to reply to a comment that has no reply black box thingy.
      Perhaps if we all sing a VK aria loud enough Smorgy will hear?

      • thả diều says:

        ah, Eyes, that’s me. i set it up such that there can be only 3 levels of reply 🙂 (default gave me that, i thought it’s a good idea…). But you can see we have no problem replying underneath it. I think if you just hit the 2nd reply, yours will pop up as the latest within that string of thought 🙂

    • Smorg says:

      “Three Mormon Girls for Lunch” sounds like an Oprah book of the week, or a porn film…”

      Or a triple date! ;D Why only lunch with one pretty girl when three shows up? ;D

      • thả diều says:

        smorgy, i thought u were the 1-gal kind of gal 😉 did u ask the 3rd one to sing? they charmed you enough to secure a 2nd 4-some date eh, i impressed!

        • Smorg says:

          I AM a 1-gal kinda gal (though I’m really gal-less at the moment)! 😉 You know, I was tempted to as Ms Garanca-ish to sing, but she even has the Garanca-ice-stare, so I decided not to risk it.

          Talk about a 4-some date, they invited me to this evening songs concert thingy last night where all the Mormon missionaries in San Diego area got to sing to us at this big church in Clairemont area. So there were the 3 cute Mormon gals on the stage with their peers, and one moderately cute one escorting me everywhere (my designated driver, apparently), which was surreal enough. Then in the middle of the concert this absolutely gorgeous singing missionary I had never seen before started throwing positively flirty smiles at me from the middle of the group and she kept at it the rest of the show. 😮 (First, of course, I wondered if she was flirting at someone she knew behind me, but apparently not).

          That was quite disconcerting (I mean, I had looked up on the missionaries online at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missionary_%28LDS_Church%29 before and darn if I’m not going to behave myself with them. Wouldn’t want to get struck by lightning or anything 😛 ). Gotta say… now I know where all the cute girls hang out at, but I wouldn’t touch ’em with a 10 foot pole. 😦

  12. Eyesometric says:

    Thanks Dr. T. I’ll give it a go.

  13. Eyesometric says:

    Miss is still too starry eyed to think logically 😉

  14. Eyesometric says:

    From the sublime to the ridiculous …. Johnboy was a character in a US tv series in the ’70s called The Waltons. Each episode used to finish with a shot of the house at night and all the characters calling goodnight to each other – very homely and cosy. The last one was always Johnboy!
    Hope the work is going well 🙂

    • thả diều says:

      ah, not only that it was before my time, i wouldn’t have seen it regardless because we had that nice cold war going on and i was on the other side :-). however, good night to you too, as i just sent off to 1 co-author the last (really last) modifications to paper+response. the article is nearly double in length compared to the first version we sent back in Feb. will iron out any last bits when i wake up, then off it’ll be sent away…
      meanwhile, i can’t get the image of jeans + belt + boots + swagger out of me head…

      • Eyesometric says:

        Likewise. The jeans episode is very .. er .. compelling. I may just have to do some video research before I turn in. 😉
        I have identified the scene with the glasses cleaning and the orders from on high – just unbelievable. Is there any more stuff to come do you think?

      • Smorg says:

        O, and don’t forget all the dance moves, too. The lass really has got all the right beat! ;D

        • thả diều says:

          ja, i was so smitten by the dance move in them jeans, ahhhh
          why the girls are keeping you sleepless in SD now? so it’s the white shirt that charmed the one onstage eh 😉

  15. jcmwee says:

    A week late, but finally caught up with everything! Thanks for all the alerts and chat and video compiling and cataloging everybody!

    • thả diều says:

      :-). glad you caught up though, incredible videos no? does leave us with imagination of what it could have been had she a better conductor, especially when the videos were so up close…

  16. Pingback: Divas on the internet: a primer « Definitely the Opera

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