music for the working night

Since getting back from San Francisco, I have had a new appreciation for Anna Caterina Antonacci’s singing, if you can believe that. Anik was very nice to point out a tribute Parterre wrote up on the occasion of her appearance in SF this year.. which prompted me to dig up this spectacularly intriguing program (the same one in the tribute above) that i really wish she would sing more often. More importantly, I *did* sit through Gluck’s Armide in Wien last October, though admittedly still quite jet-lagged and not knowing the story at all. But of course this curated show did nothing but further stirred my interest..

I already was aware of the existence of various clips on youtube of ACA singing the role to great acclaim back in 1996 and 1999.. There’s also the entire version on youtube (just audio), though I’m afraid per usual, somehow during the processing, the poster damaged the quality of the audio, I suspect… Major ringing + headache inducing.. But no fear! I’ve just found a SUPBERB audio version, wav format, of the entire thing. So, here it is, a clip, the music to finally start the morning of (more) paper writing.

La chaine de l’Hymen m’étonne,
Je crains, je crains ses plus aimables noeuds:
Ah! qu’un coeur devient malheureux
Quand la liberté l’abandonne!


(ps- on the note of SF, she gave two really nice interviews with them. The first, hilarious comments on actresses versus singers 🙂 , and the second providing more info on her background. I’m beginning to love San Francisco more and more.)
(ps2- yes, the Juditha Triumphans write up *will* come, _after_ i finish these 2 manuscripts + 1 final project report + 1 review + 2 proposal edits…, because they must be done prior to me heading off to see more contraltos.. )

About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

40 Responses to music for the working night

  1. dehggial says:

    ps2- yes, the Juditha Triumphans write up *will* come

    whew 😉 though I shut up about it, given I’ve still not finished that Paris Alcina.

    that red outfit looks exactly like the one in that Rinaldo I linked on the Turin post!

    • thả diều says:

      same stage guy.. i found a clip somebody taped, same huuuuuge wavy crap ;))

      ps3- that show she (ACA) had in Paris, a pastiche, was a very curated show. I thought about your previous 2 posts 😉 . But indeed it’s a very different kind of pastiche. Juliette Deschamps dressed and “staged” her as a Heroïne through the *entire* French rep, with superb orchestration from François-Xavier Roth. I think her show are not so much about caring that you love it in the sense of curated you talked about. Unlike Era la notte, i think this one didn’t travel much because it requires an entire orchestra, and i suspect she wants someone who understands French music to conduct (?) . In your spare time, check out that first interview i linked here, she’s having fun comparing actresses and singers.. as well as providing some insights into working with conductors.

      • dehggial says:

        i read it, it was funny what she said about film actors and, yes, I would’ve liked to be a stage actress, too – a film one not so much (you can only stand so much of repeating the same line to a dumb colleague who can’t even play him/herself; also women’s roles in mainstream films = puke). I enjoyed her approach to a role as well. i like that she’s thorough.

        I see that singers nowadays like to take a character and run with it (Bonitatibus springs to mind), it’s not a bad approach. In the end, though, if you like the singer and their chosen repertoire you will enjoy yourself regardless of the approach. I find that the right repertoire voice/temperament wise is the most important thing. And a sense of humour 😉

  2. dehggial says:

    And your colleagues have included Jonas Kaufmann. How was that experience?

    dear god.

    • thả diều says:

      i know, super annoying, the question!

      • dehggial says:

        I especially like that it’s not like she sang with JK yesterday, but 10 years ago 😉 “Hi, ACA, omg you’re super cool but how about JK???”

    • Anik LaChev says:

      that almost beats “So… how do you play a man?” and “What it’s like to kiss women on stage?”. Almost.

      • dehggial says:

        If I were a singer I’d be very rempted to give rubbish answers to this kind of stuff. For instance, we can conflate the two:

        Q: “What it’s like to kiss women on stage?”

        A: “I had to think about JK in speedos to be able to go through with it!”

        How do you play a man? makes me think of how do you play Virgin Mary? I mean I know a lot of men but women who got pregnant through immaculate conception and then gave birth to the self proclaimed son of god… Also along the same lines is how do you play a Roman Emperor? How do you play a 19th century call girl? or how do you play a countess/princess/people from a background different from yours in general? Though my favourite is how do you play a (drumroll) fictional character? Must be weird, right?

  3. Anik LaChev says:

    …I am adding myself to the line of “still waiting for your Juditha report”. (just found out that Hallenberg is in town around my birthday in autumn. That’s it, no party this year, I just want THAT)
    Though I am also adding myself to the list of “can’t protest, haven’t finished my Hasse review yet, and now there’s Ulisse, too”.

    Armide now queued! (sigh, October…!).

    From the stage photo and the HORSE and the COATS, I#d say PIzzi, or Pizzi-adjacent?

    • thả diều says:

      (ps4- oh, it’s only a short clip 2min , of ACA’s beautiful legato line 🙂 , so you can have a go without queuing. i was almost “shocked” to hear it.. because for some reason i don’t normally pay attention to that, and she normally doesn’t focus on that.. might have been Gluck’s music… I am still listening to the whole radio broadcast.. i think i’ll upload the whole thing because it is SUCH great audio quality.. but will keep it under, because there’s already 1 on tube and am always not inclined on stepping on someone else’s foot, but for sure this is faaaar more superior in sound)

      ps5- and now you have a new follower in Nesi 🙂 . Definitely great to have singers who also have a good sense of humor.. i still regretted the things that bothered me with her singing Penelope in the BEMF Ulisse, but i think there’s a huge difference between Jacobs and not-enough-time BEMF version where it seemed everyone was on their own in phrasing..

      Speaking of Nesi, last week i saw several clips of her singing Sifare!!

      • Anik LaChev says:

        Sifare clips? Where??
        – The Jacobs was amazing (of course), and all three parts were good fits for her.
        Looking forward to queuing that radio broadcast, then! (at leas the shorter clip will not take me away from work that much) but still reading the ACA interviews before I continue.

        • thả diều says:

          on tube! starting with Lungi. Then soffre mio cor..

          • Anik LaChev says:

            thank you!
            (I admit that it is hard for me to imagine anyone but a certain compatriot of hers at the moment when it comes to the role)

          • thả diều says:

            hello, Farnace!! can we have both please!

          • Anik LaChev says:


          • Anik LaChev says:

            I think she was posting sword training photos from that production…?

          • thả diều says:

            might have been.. i was amazed and wonder what her range was.. because here she is singing Penelope.. and i just saw she also sang the role with E.Haïm just earlier this month! i’d have loved to hear that. I quite like her tone better than Kozena.. (since we’re on the sujet of phrasing, the way Kozena did it in the broadcast was how M-E Nesi did it in Boston (crying while singing, instead of singing and phrasing about crying), and i do wonder if that is how she sings or whether it was entirely different under Jacobs. In any case she has a really nice warm gorgeous tone.

          • Anik LaChev says:

            I think she sang Ericlea in Paris? Also last night, plus Melanto and Fortuna. All three suited her well. Penelope might be a bit low for her?
            It was the same thing with Bradic last night: even for lower mezzos with a dark timbre, the tessitura remains pretty low and some longer phrases sat right on the break, and I think a contralto would have been able to sail under/over it.

          • thả diều says:

            ahhhh, ok, i thought she sang Penelope last night! ok, i’ll wait until you write up the report :-). she sang Penelope in Boston, as well as Holofernes, without any issues to my ears (range-wise). That’s why i thought she’s a low mezzo / contralto originally.. and was quite amazed to hear her in Sifare. (may be the casting went something like this: get the Greek soprano for Sifare! then M-E Nessi showed up.., oh! ok, the other Greek “soprano” then! :p )

          • Anik LaChev says:

            I thought MP was “the other Greek soprano” because “the Greek soprano” (though she is rather German) is Harteros, and “THE GREEK SOPRANO” is Callas…?
            Oh, which reminds me, on the issue of Greek mezzos: Theodora Baka.

      • Anik LaChev says:

        …whenever people outside the WS circle follow me, I think “but, uh, do you realize that basically all I do here is being GAY?” Sure, I talk about singing and opera, but usually I don’t manage to keep the gay out of it (not that I’d be trying very hard).

        • thả diều says:

          i imagine they should be able to handel it, the way we handel the straight ;-). if they can’t, tough luck, they just have to unhook you since you can’t be who you are not!

          • Anik LaChev says:

            besides, I need all my closets space for my recordings, and for the outfits I wear to the opera. 😉

    • thả diều says:

      ps6- oh, autumn, may be i find an excuse to show in in Wien? i definitely need to hear more A.Hallenberg.. what is next year’s sched like in Wien? another Alcina? 😉

      • Anik LaChev says:

        not out yet. You know I’d alert you the very second something Alcina-ish came out! (there might be a Staatsoper Ariodante…)

  4. Anik LaChev says:

    I think I have found the convergence point of both gay and lesbian opera fandom: ACA because our brethren over at parterre are continuing to write lovely posts about her, too:

  5. stray says:

    OT but on the subject of BEMF they are doing a concert version of Almira for their Thanksgiving thing in Jordan Hall this year.

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