Juditha Triumphans at Carnegie Hall, 7/Feb/2017

Silke Gäng, Francesca Ascioti, Delphine Galou, Mary Ellen Nesi, Ann Hallenberg

Yeah i know, this is 7 months late.. and memory is fading, and I didn’t take any notes, so this is all from memory, likely in bullet point format. But I wanted to write about it to perhaps self analyze what exactly one hears. And a warning: this will likly turn into an Ann Hallenberg swooning post. In fact, so much swooning that we (Stray and I) spontaneously made friend with (a very surely White SHirt) friend who was sandwiched between our seats and had to hear our opinions hurling back and forth, and proceeded to discuss with said friend and her other friend for more than 1 hour after the concert.. and it wasn’t until near midnight that I realized I *forgot* my laptop at Carnegie Hall coat check stall, with a flight out at 5am the next morning… That was an interesting experience trying to break into the hall*. But let’s get to the concert.

Tuesday 7/Feb/2017, Carnegie Hall
Venice Baroque Orchestra
Andrea Marcon, Music Director and Conductor
Delphine Galou, Contralto (Juditha)
Mary-Ellen Nesi, Mezzo-Soprano (Holofernes)
Ann Hallenberg, Mezzo-Soprano (Vagaus)
Francesca Ascioti, Contralto (Ozias)
Silke Gäng, Mezzo-Soprano (Abra)
TENET (female chorus)

Edit: This is part of a series, with Dehggi’s take at the Barbican here, and Anik’s take at theater an der Wien here.

Am not sure why they scheduled it on a Tuesday evening, which made trips from out of town very difficult to arrange without possibly losing nearly 2 days of work. But yes, Tuesday evening. Which means yours truly already arrived to the concert hall after some crazy-early-hour flight and fighting through NY metro signs to navigate into Manhattan. The absolute best thing for these kinds of hectic planning is to meet up with fellow equally (or even more?) enthusiastic fan/friend (Stray), who can immediately chill you down and talk real business (singers swooning, for their voices of course.. ). We booked a little bit late way back last year and got tickets on the extreme right side *behind* the singers. The only thing i could say was great was we got a superb view of Ann Hallenberg boots, and wonderful manteau, and swagger. Also on our side was Mary-Ellen Nesi’s swaggering Holofernes. Oh, and a nice view of the Theorbo ensemble!

First up, the Venice Baroque Orchestra (and Andrea Marcon). You know this immense feeling you sometimes have when things are just so *right* your inner cells are dancing with joys and your (missing) apple are coming up in your throat? That’s the feeling I got hearing the VBO playing Juditha. Those who have read my blog in the past might recall my first traumatic Juditha experience. Enough for me to sit there in Carnegie Hall thinking: “jeah, this, they know what they’re doing! They “feel” the flow, it’s in their beings. They Jive with it, they live it, they toss each other little phrases, challenge each other with an extra dose of energy and strumming, jeah, take that, you return something better! wink. .” And they smile widely while being challenged and together bring forth the music. I think there’s a huge difference between having “baroque” in your blood (drink?) versus “following” instruction on what one is supposed to do… And Andrea Marcon conducting Juditha? it’s like water flowing: no matter the course, water will “naturally” meander and flow downhill after trickling in every little extra corner to explore if such space has a path forward. And the contrast between this and having the feeling “why is this conductor forcing the water to go up this uniform ramp, across these strange steps? why are these steps chosen? was it because the conductor thought: hmm, not sure where this is going, let me draw up some steps, and tell my troupe to follow me”.. Enough dig, but yeah. SWOONING. (But a small note, as you can see by our seats, we were *behind* the orchestra. The sound was not good. Carnegie Hall is huge, and likely the stage too I think. Such that a small band like the VBO fitted tightly at the center and seats to the side will not get the warm baroque/focus sound. After intermission i climbed my way 5 seats in and that was what needed to catch Ann Hallenberg at her best.)

Onto the singers. Juditha the role I think is quite a difficult one. If you have a voice with enough colors perhaps you can shade her various (altogether rather somber) moods well? This was the first time I heard D. Galou live, and she has the disadvantage of being on the very far side at almost a 15-20 deg angle to my seat, with her voice projecting out at 90deg angle.

I might have mentioned D.Galou’s narrow-beam focus (to my ears) elsewhere. And admittedly at this extremely unfavorably angle, I’d also say somehow her color is quite uniform. Enough such that at times I did scratch my head thinking “hmm.. Juditha music is long”. I think for this type of music, this particular role, you really need someone who can shape things in 3-D (Please wait patiently, i might have more hand-drawn pix for Ann Hallenberg vocal shaping.). M.-E. Nesi was closer to us. Also, I think her voice is “warmer” and is a bit more in volume than Galou’s. But still a little bit on the similar-in-color-throughout family. Hearing both of them, I kept thinking of the voice tone being trapped inside a circular steel pipe that could not go beyond that narrow solid boundary to add more dynamics, colors, and texture (More precisely: that my ears need that wall to be more like cloth/bamboo, not steel). In any case, beyond all that.. what was suuuuuuuuuuuper enjoyable was how D.Galou joiceously (i made that word up) scaled up and down Juditha’s music without *any* hinderance. AAHHHHHH the beauty of having a contralto singing this role ❤ . She and M.-L. Nesi’s Holofernes also had a nice exchange with the champagne glasses. Too cute.

Apology for not many words about Silke Gäng’s Abras.. she did not leave me with much impression.. But Francesca Ascioti!!! JEAH!! She has the “authority” in the tone. First, a mention about the role itself (let’s listen to R.Basso while we check out the fuss about heft and the role as I type):

Feel the scowling? the growling? and in the marching sound in the music? jeah! I don’t care about technique at this point (not that I know any), but what I absolutely loved was Ascioti’s authority in tone and the feeling “she means what she’s singing”. I did wonder about having her as Juditha, whether the role might be too low for her? but I responded much better to her dynamics than to both the two prior mentioned singers. Altogether though, sorry to sound like i’m whining, because it’s nonsense. It was a GREAT evening in the presence of this level of deep female voice. ❤ ❤ ❤ .

Then Ann Hallenberg stepped up. I’ve only heard her in recording on youtube before.. I am telling you, there is NO preparation for hearing her live in this Vagaus role. Actually I’m very convinced I’d greatly enjoyed her in the role of Juditha too, or Holofernes. Let me resort to my hand-drawn pix again, for an attempt to demonstrate how her vocal expression blossomed / exploded / flourished in my brain. No, actually, let’s go with this image I found on the net:

Ann Hallenberg’s sound wave and dynamics, as registered in thadieu’s brain. © unknown

Or here’s another screen cap of my search on the internet. Because it seems that’s what my brain was responding to her incoming sound. Post concert, Stray and I sat there asking out-loud: how did she do it? HOW?? Let me attempt with some hand-waving words.. First, the dynamical range, and the speed at which she can do it: Range: ppp to fff. speed: ranging from an explosion to a steady ramping up, and same in reverse. I think there are few occasions in music where you need to have this “tool” to express. I know i talk about ACA a lot, but it is also this tool, a burst/pull of it, *just* at the right time, to convey the *exact* milisecond of a reaction. Also: color. I think a voice with a “ping” as an asset can be very effective for this kind of “explosion”. Like that which should be used in Ostinati (e tal sarà) in Romeo’s entrance aria. Let it rip as I think of it. It should be used very rarely, but have it at one’s disposal. This is different than when such tools are not accessible to one’s voice, and the singer might then utilize a different approach to the phrasing for that moment, for a different effect in the listener’s brain. And then, the rest: just the technique (now you hear comparison to how i heard M.Papatanasiu in Alcina, the things that she did, which I always thought you just do it, like how VK had done it for decades.. but it was explained to me it’s technique. And know when to use it.) Ann Hallenberg’s voice is not the most powerful. I mean as far as categories go, I suspect she fits in the “thinner” side as we might box? But that is the basis. What is available at her disposal was this tremendous bag of assets. Just listening to her recit alone was an experience. Actually, one can compare a little bit hers to the recent brain-opening experience I had listening to Alice Coote’s Vitellia phrasing. If anything, besides all that have been described, I’d say for me Alice Coote has more “heft” in her toolbox and because of that she can pull more shades if/when needed. Something a more thinner voice wouldn’t be able to pull through because there’s not enough heft to begin with to scale back.

Anyway, her Umbrae Carae was a hypnotizing display at expert level. I thought of attempting to do something about the sound intake but selfishly opted for just letting the jaw dropped and experienced that live moment. Sadly there wasn’t enough of her fans in the hall to capture the piece, sigh. So you’ll just have to take my words for it. and Here’s the rest of the photos, and a tiny curtain call video:

——————–

boots!

more boots!

Galou’s smile

———————-
* if you forget things at Carnegie hall in the middle of the night and desperately need to gain access, don’t try to climb on the gate, go behind the hall, next to the dumpster, there is a security door. It’s locked, but knock on it, there is someone sitting there 24hr/7days to help you out. Many thanks to Stray who was accommodating me on my trek back and strange attempts at midnight to gain access.. I was also secretly hoping to catch Ann Hallenberg coming out at that hour 🙂 .

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About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

214 Responses to Juditha Triumphans at Carnegie Hall, 7/Feb/2017

  1. dehggial says:

    ❤ thank you! As soon as I saw the Hallenberg graph I knew what you meant. I agree it's a smaller voice and very light (though I think she's got some heft since the younger days) but, yea, what she can do and her dialogue with the orchestra (which I think is more natural in Baroque music from the way it's written) is fabulous. I still remember my brain scrambling during Armatae face… because there was so much going on and all of it was just right.

    I think we also found out in Torino that Galou is best experienced frontally. I agree with you that Juditha is a tricky role, based on my live experience, also on various Judithas heard online, your experience here and what Anik wrote about hers. Have you heard the Juditha version with Prina in the title role? I was listening to it yesterday and it’s quite different from others I’ve heard.

    Marcon and the orchestra as well – I’ve listened to the online version but until you’re there you don’t realise just how good they are and how thoughtout and idiomatic his decisions are. Since then I immediately trust them for Vivaldi.

    How did the choir do?

    • thả diều says:

      Prina!! a radio braodcast? could u share? no i havent heard… only Mingardo 🙂

      problem with our seats is that we get frontal theorbos + gambas ❤ but lost the choir. i mean, A.Hallenberg's boots were above my head 😀

    • thả diều says:

      brain scrambling during Armatae face
      🙂
      jeah, that s when she pulled out the explosion and the ping

      • dehggial says:

        very sneaky, at the end when everyone else is either tired or has sung their best pieces! I think Vivaldi liked Vagaus. But I’ve heard others (like Invernizzi) sing it and she had more “actual” anger/bite but the complexity wasn’t on the same level. That’s what’s amazing about Hallenberg, the complexity and how she manages to fit all those dynamics so fast and make them work so well.

        • thả diều says:

          jeah, Invernizzi’s approach is an all out avalanche. This is more like a wizard pulling out a very targetted storm with high precision, with precision not done for “clean” effect put most deadly, force per unit brain cell per second 😀

    • Agathe says:

      I wasn’t aware of the Prina broadcast either, but YES, there is one with Dantone on YT! Is that the one you were referring to?
      (Yes, should be totally different from Hallenbergs)

      • dehggial says:

        that’s the one 🙂

        • thả diều says:

          tehee, just got to Juditha’s entrance. she’s very much ready for action,
          Juditha: hello, why stop at the door , let me invite myself in. 😉
          Abra: JEAH, LET. ‘s. g.e.t. i.n. (rapping)

          Interestingly, i half of the time thought D.Galou’s voice was M-E. Nesi’s . theirs are quite similar i find!
          I really like S.Prina as Juditha. She gives the character a lot of dimension. Her voice is very natural over the range, so it’s “suddenly switching gears” . And she puts in a lot of phrasing and colors/shades. It’s a huuuuuge welcome, esp. when one compares to what’s avail. with M.Custer, whose voice i just had trouble with on so many levels, but primarily because of the lack of color and the very “flat” switch in voice right at her transition. I’d say if I had heard Prina as Juditha i’d significantly enjoy.

          Regarding tempo: I find it interesting that Dantone is keeping it very brisk for Juditha, in contrast to quite a wider range of Fasolis’s with Mingardo.

          • dehggial says:

            yes, it’s the very determined Juditha! I’m surprised she didn’t off Holofernes from the getgo 😀 Don’t remind me of Custer…

            interesting you find DG and Nesi similar, I’ll have to listen to them back to back. But if you think Nesi is a very low mezzo with a dark colour and DG is a very high contralto with a dark colour…

          • thả diều says:

            DG is a little bit more “bitter” in the range of dark chocolate 😉

          • dehggial says:

            I think you’re right!

  2. Anik LaChev says:

    Wait, way wasn’t I aware that this contains not just Hallenberg and Galou, but also Nesi and Ascioti? I would have nagged you far more for this over the past 7 months! 😉
    But yeeees, it’s finally here! *now off to actually read it*

    • thả diều says:

      sorry i didnt write much about Nesi :-). I think my ability has its limitation such that i cant say much after wowing over the warm tone and fantastic timbre… I wonder whether if the roles were swapped, Ascioti as Holofernes and Nesi as the high priest that i would hear similar thing, i.e., more dynamics with Nesi and less the Ascioti? that is to say whether it is the role rather than the vocal expression… but i still think i hear Ascioti better..

      • Anik LaChev says:

        I was happy to get to read some of both (but, of course, overall more prevalent matters, like boots…) – and this reminds me that I still have a Nesi piece stalled, probably also bordering on 7 month soon, of that Germanico. Perhaps after I wrap up my next paper and bath some more in all this Juditha glory.

        • thả diều says:

          (ps- they are not just the boots, there are some really lovely prints on them, as both Stray and I got closer views. i left the photos in original resolution for the zoom-in purpose 😉 )

          • Anik LaChev says:

            I am torn between the boots and that smile! But I also love the sound sierra graphic.
            Thank you for the detailed write-up and all the thoughts on how we listen and how that could be described beyond the abstract terms of technique – more what happens inside the listener as a measurement of sound than what happens on an generalized scale of rules. I will reread this a few more times!

  3. stray says:

    Yeah that Umbrae carae was as breathtaking as they come.

  4. Agathe says:

    Thank you, I love this, and all the extras, brain waves artwork (!), seat positioning, plus late-night break in… Maybe writing the review quite late is good for sorting out the most impressive aspects and the general atmosphere of an evening even better?
    I can highly relate to everything you write about AH’s voice, I tend to grin sheepishly on hearing her, but then, I’ve never heard her live, must be extremely effective for hearing the finer nuances of her voices! (checking her schedule right now…)

    • dehggial says:

      you won’t regret hearing her live. On top of being such a great singer she seems like a genuinely warm and approachable person, as the atmosphere is always congenial at her shows.

      • thả diều says:

        the thing with these Vivaldi (or many Händel) pieces is really that they are several hours long with “similarity”, and if you have voices that are similar it can go for hours.. and as much as i have listened i’d say you need some ways to maintain the attention span. This is where i find the distinction, i think, between singers where as soon as they sit down you are asking when are they singing next again, why is this character only has xxx number of arias, why cant they sing the whole show 😀 ( that’s why that Orphée with VK in Munich was so rewarding: she sang from beginning to end).

        the art work was really fun. my best was that “parto” one when i heard Clemenza di Tito the 2nd time live. I wanted to draw a different thing for my impression of A.Hellenberg’s wizardry but i think it needs equations to highlight her precision .

        (speaking of wizardry, i had a dream last night of flying, soo fun controlling the body “buoyancy” and wing flips and width while navigating though narrow doors 😀 )

        • Agathe says:

          About ‘why can’t they sing the whole show’, to me, the effect of hearing a ‘special’ singer is actually heightened when you hear that voice in contrast to others, or, very effectively, in duets or ensembles. (Works best with a low mezzo/contralto voice of course :-))
          Hihi, I like the flying dream!

        • dehggial says:

          your dreams are something else 😉 I actually had a bunch of complex dreams whilst I was away but sadly I can’t remember much anymore.

          maybe you need a 3D model for Hallenberg 😉

          she was at the top of her game for Orphee 🙂 have you guys liveblogged it?

          • thả diều says:

            jes we did! we checked with you, but you had to work that day.. and by the time you got back it was over, coz the whole thing was only 1hr30min!! after that was Anik’s post with some 60 screen caps of VK in that shirt 😉

          • dehggial says:

            that shirt…! and your “how to take a seat like a pro” gif.

          • thả diều says:

            jeah, all that came out of the liveblog. and then i posted VK’s “amour viens rendre à mon âme” on the web, and she (VK) posted it on her facebook site 😉

          • dehggial says:

            she posted your yt post?

          • thả diều says:

            jeah, she’s *very* active on her facebook site. including this one:

          • dehggial says:

            she’s being a teenager again 😉 however, maaaan, why isn’t Bayerische releasing that production??? /dreamy smilie/

          • thả diều says:

            that, and Agrippina from Zürich (which she also posted). she has been posting a lot of staged photos from earlier in her careers, very cool. and she made her profile public so you can always check out if you’d like.

            (but jeah, i think she rediscovered her missing teenage years 😉 )

          • dehggial says:

            wishful thinking: if she’s reminiscing about those productions, maybe she’ll throw more Baroque-related recitals 😀 she really had the opportunity to star in some fun stuff.

          • dehggial says:

            ok, that stuff derailed me from what I wanted to say initially: her Viens rendre… is pure buttah 😀 just wonderful etc. reminds me there’s also dressing/undressing going on there and that may call for a gif 😉 for my “things mezzos/contraltos do with coats and jackets”.

          • thả diều says:

            jeah. i think you’ll stash them at yours, i’ll link over… are you going to fix Bradamante badass jacket beatdown? 😉

          • dehggial says:

            I will definitely work on Bradamante! Perhaps not this week as I am working every day but I will. I also need a couple of VK things and more from the Carnegie Ariodante.

          • thả diều says:

            (jeah, i was thinking of VK in her jacket for DR, in the kitchen.. i also have 1 in mind with A.Hallenberg in Semiramide.

            but really, the idea to pass the gif making to you is so i can see different angles ;-). coz once you get the tool, your way of thinking gets transmitted across. there’s no way you can tell me and i’d see the same angle , well, some way, but not the same 😉 )

          • dehggial says:

            good point! and we can also work together on things.

            oh, the kitchen scene in DR is too cute 🙂 you end up trolling videos for the best moments once you start “giffing”.

          • thả diều says:

            (mission accomplished.. now finally Juditha goes soft: “Abra Abra, hug. ❤ ")
            (finally a Juditha with backbone. A bit very “triumphant” in attitude. But you have to have a reason to believe she is capable of running her entire clan. btw, Abra’s aria right after Juditha accomplished mission: Vivaldi stole it from himself for Dario, the girlfriend who couldn’t let go of the plumbing officer, that’s her aria.)

          • Agathe says:

            This is Ruggiero?! Interesting production!

          • dehggial says:

            yes, and you know who Bradamante was 😀 it looks very intriguing. It’s by Loy.

          • Agathe says:

            OH! No I didn’t know, looks VERY intriguing indeed!

          • Agathe says:

            😀 :-O 10/10 in terms of entertainment factor! (why is there no video, that would be a hell of a live blog).

          • thả diều says:

            there *was* a video we’re told!! they just never damn released it!!! people in the audience reported cameras and TV crews, argh argh! ARGH!

          • Agathe says:

            We need more underground contacts in the vicinity of opera video archives! Maybe it’s all digitalized and you could hack it? (my belief in your IT abilities is infinite)

          • dehggial says:

            t can pretend she left her laptop inside and sneak in through the back entry 😉

          • thả diều says:

            then escape via railing in back alley, before being cornered, and finally spring out my wings!

          • Agathe says:

            LIKE!, another chapter in my mental ‘adventures of thadieu’.

          • dehggial says:

            and calibrate your flight between the buildings 😉 and bring the production to the world at large – this is a new type of superhero movie 😀

          • dehggial says:

            we need to pick up out WS pitchforks and protest in from of the BS 😉

          • Anik LaChev says:

            just the VK one, so I think I need to make another addition to the list?

          • Anik LaChev says:

            ah damn, for a moment there I thought there was an Orphée with Hallenberg around…

          • thả diều says:

            may be she did sing it! i will fire up my search engine

          • Anik LaChev says:

            little bit of the low and hefty side for her, maybe? But after her skillful Ariodante and her recent Marguerite I would say: Bring it On!

          • thả diều says:

            don’t forget she sang Juditha!

          • Anik LaChev says:

            True.
            And I think she is technically so good and so smart that even if something were a bit less than ideal in fit, she would still make it work.

          • dehggial says:

            she sang Arsace and I doubt this is heftier? If she can sing something Barcellona excels at I guess with the right (light touch) conductor she could do it?

          • Anik LaChev says:

            Not heftier in range, but perhaps in orchestra density? but she just did Berlioz – yes, with the right conductor. So that should work, too.

          • dehggial says:

            did you hear the Berlioz? I was surprised when I heard.

          • Anik LaChev says:

            yep, and I wasn’t sure what to expect going in (I think she posted the link, at least ot excerpts, also on her FB?)

          • thả diều says:

            she was really great at the Proms, but that’s via “recording” so i can’t say how she sounded in the hall. I think JEG probably would balance her voice with the orchestra? i might be wrong it it’s also a period instrument orchestra? i captured the whole proms with her, in case you’d like i can share, they’re already in my db.

          • thả diều says:

            ok, the whole thing is also in vid on tube! though i suspect whoever it was captured vid then merge with audio from bbc radio (ffmpeg can do that! 🙂 ). not only this, but the one AH posted. so it seems you won’t get heckled by your neighbors in the Royal Albert hall for performing humanity duty :-).

          • Agathe says:

            OHH, aren’t these two cute together! I love this take musically, had it running most of the last days (thanks again!), for me it’s a wonderful fit for both Hallenberg’s and Spyres’ voices. And now with ‘acting’ ❤

          • thả diều says:

            jeah, i clicked to check out what it was… and then sat through the 2 hrs!
            he does get credit for the vest with cute tie, and the side burn 🙂

          • Agathe says:

            Hehe, yes, he knows how to wear this, (also: hair) can’t say I’m much into the side burns (but wait, was this maybe especially for the character? then I’m impressed), He manages to give the character a lovely naivety and then those smitten glances and smiles by Marguerite….can’t wait to find the time to watch this in whole.

          • thả diều says:

            ps- why were you surprised? i love this opera, and i’ve heard just about everyone singing it! and i love AH’s take of course.. the one with ASvO was also exquisite, also at Proms, some long time ago.

          • dehggial says:

            I think I’m stuck with Hallenberg = Baroque, though you’re right to throw ASvO in for your argument. I’m not overly familiar with the opera, either, but the idea of Berlioz I’m stuck with is LOTS OF STUFF.

          • thả diều says:

            ahhh i see. i know Berlioz damnation de Faust extremely well. and knew it way before i knew about operas! it s dated back to my discovery of classical music from that classette tape in the trash. in addition to Beethoven 9th choral, there was the Hungarian March. i didnt know what it was at the time but of course it s impressive.. so i set out to find its origin, and ended up with hours on end listening to the entire Faust while doing homework. (too bad i ripped it from cd borrowd from the school library so cant tell whi the singers are. though i didnt read up on the content until VK sang it and i have the radio recording, some years later 🙂 )

          • dehggial says:

            I had one Berlioz vinyl when I was growing up – La Symphonie Fantastique. I hated it so much it was very hard to come around and even give any Berlioz a listen.

          • thả diều says:

            did you know Berlioz suffered greatly because people hated his music? 😉
            ACA said in an interview that if there is 1 composer she’d like to meet it’s Berlioz, to tell him that he can give all his music to her to sing for him 😉

          • dehggial says:

            it’s not Monteverdi?! in his favour, Berlioz had great hair.

          • thả diều says:

            i think Berlioz is who she said she wants to meet. but i am quite sure she is very attached to Monteverdi music given how descriptive she can be?

          • dehggial says:

            then it must be the hair 😉

          • Agathe says:

            Chuckle, that’s you definition of great hair?

          • dehggial says:

            one of them 😉 remember I also wanted a lock of Sesto’s hair from the Salzburg 2003 production. Gauvin’s, too.

          • Agathe says:

            Maybe you could get a ‘lock’ as a souvenir from tonights’ concert?

          • dehggial says:

            the famous forelock 😉

          • thả diều says:

            this one: (not sure why the video doesn’t come out on my screen, it’s this one).

          • Agathe says:

            ‘Ping’, did someone say Barcellona? I heard Hallenberg’s Arsace before Barcellona’s and liked it but afterwards there was no going back. Maybe it falls into the category of ‘not ideal for the voice’ but still she makes it work well?

          • dehggial says:

            I agree. When I heard she sang it I was like “say what?!” I saw on yt some Rossini (Italiana, I think) she did before and I thought “perhaps not”. If you need power you need power but with careful choices you can still sneak it on occasion 😉

          • thả diều says:

            i confess to having Hallenberg’s Arsace imprinted in head (and love it). i might have listened to that recording a lot (cough).

          • thả diều says:

            WELL, she *did* sing it, and there was a radio broadcast!! must find, M.U.S.T.

            i’m convinced, very

          • Anik LaChev says:

            Oooooh, sleuthing aarm!!

          • thả diều says:

            (the question is: what were we doing on that date? anyone of us might have downloaded/captured? we could search within our circle 😉 . i think back then i didn’t have my capturing skill sorted out yet… and lookat at that date, i might have been busy following VK on net in Moscow…)

          • Anik LaChev says:

            if it’s the 2016, that should be somewhere (NP4?) – but I am guessing it was assorted arias then?

          • thả diều says:

            no, unfortunately it’s recorded on Radio Classica, and took place in some strange hall in Madrid.. i searched but no trace yet.. bed time now, but i’ll persist 🙂

            (ps- i listened to her Juditha again yesterday, mastery. I can’t believe you don’t even get a hint there is any problem singing Juditha! piece of cake! and as i listened to her i had M.Custer’s line running along in head (because i’ve suffered a lot with her 😀 ), and i was just amazed how Hallenberg phrases the music. Also, to my surprise, her voice was *very* warm, might have been that she prep the whole thing in the lower register and just settled there! the whole thing is here, in high quality.

          • Anik LaChev says:

            the whole thing is now brightening my morning, thank you!

          • Agathe says:

            Thank you for the link!

          • thả diều says:

            (am tapping feet right now to it 🙂 )

          • thả diều says:

            ps- i get it now, your question. i think your question was based on the youtube clip. there was also a link in my reply pointing to a whole “Orfeo ed Eurydice” in Madrid on 30/Oct/2011. that was the one i was hunting for.. and possibly someone within our circle might have captured?

          • Anik LaChev says:

            yes, I meant the clip – I hadn’t caught onto Madrid, I was so distracted by the singing…

            I didn’t catch it back then, but in late 2011, I was abroad and not as aware of musical happenings.

          • thả diều says:

            she’s really incredible in invoking emotion. i hear it “immediately” within the first phrase. and maintaining it throughout. this is one of those occasions you hear a clip and want to see the ENTIRE staged version with her..

          • thả diều says:

            ps- don’t you think that she’s really taking it “deep” in the color? as if she’s making the same approach as the one with Juditha, “dark”. I guess when she sings high notes it sounds “brighter” so i’m getting a different sensation with her low notes..

          • Anik LaChev says:

            yes, I get the impression she is consciously using dark/light color here.

          • thả diều says:

            Anik, i was searching for where to comment on your blog, but this might be a more pleasant spot 😉

            So, Stray just told me, and i searched… there’s full staged version of Serse with the line-up of:
            Paula Rasmussen (who i don’t know), A.Hallenberg, P.Bardon, S.Piau, I.Bayrakdarian, and some guys .. with Rousset conducting. we shall add this to our liveblog ja? 🙂

          • Anik LaChev says:

            Oh, I know that one – I think it was the first Serse I watched! Yes, let’s add that to the list.

          • Agathe says:

            Found it! Yes, that would be great to liveblog, we didn’t do a Serse yet.

          • thả diều says:

            omg, P.Bardon has just arrived. I’m not asking you any more Anik, i’ve decided for our collective group: we WILL liveblog this!!

          • Anik LaChev says:

            Bardon is SO much fun in this one!

          • dehggial says:

            sure, why not? It’s a great opera.

      • Agathe says:

        Sounds good, I assume she has appeared at Wigmore Hall? Unfortunately she does not have anything scheduled within reach of me in the new future as far as I can see.

        • dehggial says:

          yes, she’s been here several times in the past few years. I’m pretty sure her part in that Ottone at TADW later this month is very rewarding but sadly I won’t be able to attend either.

          • Agathe says:

            Hmm, yes, I have already reached the limits of my personal ‘travel allowance’ in terms of time and money this year as well.

      • thả diều says:

        omg, look what i found! there’s a whole album here!

          • thả diều says:

            (ps- am now “live commenting” Juditha with Prina in the same “teehee” comment 😉 . SUUUUUPER LOVE her Juditha. absolutely would love to hear her in this role live.)

          • dehggial says:

            judging by this year I’d love to hear her in most things 😉

          • Agathe says:

            Agree! (and eagerly awaiting your review of upcoming event, I wish I could make it!)

          • dehggial says:

            I’m a bit miffed she changed the setlist and isn’t singing Berio anymore. I was looking forward to something out there. Still 😉

          • Agathe says:

            Yes, still…. I think it will be very interesting to hear her in such a variety of styles and she will sure provide a good show with it! (Grrr, getting green)

          • dehggial says:

            certainly! Not complaining 🙂 on the bright side, looks like you’re getting all the Barcellona action this year 😉

          • Agathe says:

            Yes, Barcellona seems more accessible this season! Still, no fixed Prina plans, sniff, still considering…

          • thả diều says:

            you should check out Prina’s latest rehaersal photos (and shoes) on fb 😉

          • Agathe says:

            Can’t see them, is that maybe only on her page for her friends? 😉

          • thả diều says:

            ah right, friends 😉
            can you see this? It seems it’s public, but you have to have fb to see i think…
            and here’s one for Dehggi, who might not have fb.

          • Agathe says:

            AH, hightops and great hair-rehearsals! ❤ I'm very curious about that Falstaff, but I guess a video coverage is unlikely.

          • dehggial says:

            so you’re not sure about next Spring yet?

          • Agathe says:

            Still unlikely, but I have not completely giving up hope about conferences…

          • thả diều says:

            ps- search for wigmore Hall on facebook, S.Prina has a charming message for you regarding the new repertoire and she’d be very happy to see you there 😉

          • dehggial says:

            cute! I guess we’ll have fun with them 😉

          • Agathe says:

            I had this one quickly converted to mp3 during breakfast (ffmpeg, so liberating! <3), to listen to it on my way to work. Have not come very far yet, but isn't Dantone amazing? I even like the CT in this.

          • thả diều says:

            there shouldnt be any CT!?

          • Agathe says:

            Haha, well, that explains it, it’s Galou I took for a CT, I don’t know her voice well and was totally tricked, audio only. As usual, contraltos are the better CTs.

          • dehggial says:

            :-o!!!
            let me reiterate: :-O!!!

            😉 if only more CTs sounded like that…

          • thả diều says:

            jeah, i didnt know how to respond there 😉

          • dehggial says:

            to be fair, I was amused. Agathe ❤

          • thả diều says:

            (ps- if only more CTs were female…)

          • dehggial says:

            especially that 😀

          • Agathe says:

            😀 What’s so shocking about it, she resembles to me one of these warmer, more colourful CT voices like Mehta’s. But I also already mistook Stutzmann and Mijanovic for CTs so I’m probably just quite bad in distinguishing…

          • dehggial says:

            I’m shocked only because my like for DG is on par with all of you’s recent creaming over Annio 😉 so when I hear that voice there’s no mistaking for me.

            that being said, I heard others say they thought Mijanovic and Stutzmann were CTs and I kinda can see it with Mijanovic, and considering DG’s tone is rather similar to Mijanovic’s… you have a point 😉

          • Agathe says:

            Oh, I had no idea you liked Galou so much. She did struck me as a particularly attractive CT here….

          • dehggial says:

            it’s been a regular ❤ ❤ ❤ since that really ugly Tamerlano in Brussels where even Hallenberg sounded a bit unconvincing (I know, WHAT?). But it goes back to Mijanovic, whose entire career I manged to miss and have been crying in my cornflakes even since I heard her Penelope. So when I heard someone who reminded me of her I was like MORE! MORE!

          • thả diều says:

            you’re right, i immediately thought of Galou here! though I think Mijanovic’s voice is just a little bit “wamer” in density (?) . also, her phrasing approach is quite different, very interesting to hear!

          • dehggial says:

            yes, MM’s voice is very warm. There is a “yt comment fight” just about how Galou makes a better Cesare than MM because her voice has more bite. I wouldn’t mind either!

            (you know what I hate? this WP “improvement” where if a post has a lot of replies it just won’t upload more than the last few).

          • thả diều says:

            my laptop shuts down when there are too many comments in the reader mode. i think it s the flash crap.. in the end it s easier to read if i go directly to the site, but then sometimes i cant reply!
            a fight on Galou and MM voives? :-D. sounds proper youtube! even SMingardo had sung Cesare! but yeah, why the hell Galou hasnt been casted for the role? oh jeah, effing CT… pardon me.

          • dehggial says:

            I think she has sung Cesare before, not sure. The fight occurs under a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZtBm3ByMS4″>this REALLY good rendition of Qual torrente. I thought you liked Zazzo? It’s the first time I’m going to Cesare for Cornelia 😀 I hope she gets to swat Tolomeo with her score.

          • thả diều says:

            i tolerated Zazzo.. but recently he’s just every freaking Cesare.. and i always remember the first time i saw him as Cesare, i quickly went back to S.Connolly.

          • dehggial says:

            Cesare just isn’t a role for CTs 😉

          • thả diều says:

            counting the days until next year Glyndebourne…

          • dehggial says:

            😀 WS pilgrimage!

          • thả diều says:

            fingers crossed it’s not end of June / beginning July… there’s like an entire run right? like Glyndebourne is gonna be flooded with WS 😉

          • dehggial says:

            last performance is 28 July. How does that sound?

          • thả diều says:

            sounds f.a.b.u.l.o.u.s. !!

          • thả diều says:

            sooo many WS are gonna trip and tumble 😉

          • dehggial says:

            a regular Dinah Shore 😉

          • thả diều says:

            (for the longest time i thought people was saying dinosaur wrong 😉 )

          • dehggial says:

            😀 or with dentures!

          • thả diều says:

            (were).. ignore english.. i’m overdue for bed.. in case you find yourself not working and wanting to hear S.Mingardo at end of Oct beg Nov let me know 😉

          • Agathe says:

            Hoho, great Glyndebourne cast, that’s going to be quite an event!
            I’m at the moment still hung up with Barcellona’s 2003 Cesare, unusual, but very good (also: Mingardo!), And today, (of course) Prina is the best Cesare around ;-), I have not listened to Galou’s yet, but don’t think she has that much power. Anyway, much better than a CT for sure!

          • thả diều says:

            while checking out fights on tube comment sections , i just came across your take on the tempo of my beloved Juditha Triumphans with SM 😉

            actually, it’s the first one i discovered.. and memorized music+tempo.. i didn’t have that much trouble with tempo compared to other takes.. though i was also very happy with the “chilled” Juditha , arriving quite “jeah, chill, i’ve got this” (haha, wasn’t this your take pre-red-dress?) . and hence all my comments regarding later Juditha, esp. the version with Prina, was to me curiously fast.. I didn’t notice A.Hallenberg’s Juditha’s tempo. perhaps when a singer is good, i jsut listen and try to fit into the story.. and only when it’s Custer than you revolt :p

          • thả diều says:

            ps- i take it back, now that i get to the end of act 1 of that Fasolis’s version, i remember questioning how “smoothy” it was the chorus, esp. when compared to Andrea Marcon’s or Sardelli’s takes! And the high priest is a little bit “smoothy” compared to both Basso’s and Ascioti’s takes. But “O servi, volate” aces with that fast tempo!

          • dehggial says:

            re: O servi, volate – it’s actually amazing how different from each other all of them are done. That’s vintage Invernizzi 😉 I still like Marcon/Gauvin’s better (and now I got sucked back into the overture! it’s a black hole! I can’t listen to it just once 😀 ).

            (for …and it ends like Parsifal-style O servi, volate check this one out 😀 ).

          • thả diều says:

            (i pressed play, and stayed for the entire opera, you can’t stop! )

          • dehggial says:

            I really don’t know why it’s not in the regular Baroque repertoire.

          • Agathe says:

            But, on listening on, I think it is a bit of an odd choice casting Prina as Juditha? (No, I claim this is not about the pants :-)). She’s doing great of course, but it seems that Juditha is located a bit above her best range? I like how she still keeps the higher parts very soft but it’s probably in parts a technical necessity since it’s so high for her, and she could show more colours and intensity in a lower range?

          • thả diều says:

            actually i thought it was perfect for her voice! a bit on the triumphant side, but so is the title :-). i have Juditha’s music memorized thanks to discovering it w S.Mingardo. and since then I have suffered through quite a few. It s amazing how A.Hallenberg made her interesting and not being drown in the low notes. It seems to me Juditha’s music is as low as you get ? I thought it sits just perfect for Prina. and her phrasing was very fresh, i could imagine Juditha in head ( with a bit of a mohawk 😉 ).
            would be quite wonderful to here her Holofernes as well. My guess at the time may be she did get cast with Holofernes in mind , but Galou was also on the team and she was more comfortable as Holofernes? I think i can hear Iervolino better in this role (but havent only listened, was always with her growling in that split outfit with cleavage in Venice)

          • Agathe says:

            Let me finish listening to the end, maybe I’ll be persuaded…In any case there should not be any drowning in the low notes with her. Definitely persuaded by Mohawk-Juditha mental visuals! And I think I need to return to the Venice version again as well, to, ehm, memorize the story better.

          • dehggial says:

            I think this Juditha is definitely wearing trousers 😉 most likely combats.

          • thả diều says:

            with sword. right at her entrance: yo, Holofernes, wanna go for a round of practice?

          • dehggial says:

            someone needs to stage it like that 😀

          • thả diều says:

            Juditha: yo, let’s go for a round of spar. hey, look at that, my sword is longer than yours? hm, interesting.
            Abra: (blinking) ❤ ❤
            Juditha's troupe: viva Juditha, viva viva

          • dehggial says:

            ehehe!

            Holofernes: I like a woman with a long sword ❤

          • Agathe says:

            Ah, now I understand… Yes! And poor Holofernes, she will eat him alive before beheading

          • thả diều says:

            you see the A.Hallenberg’s stance? can you tell which aria she was singing? 😉

        • Agathe says:

          Nice! Interesting fashion report and great posture, everyone!

    • Anik LaChev says:

      …a few times in Vienna this season! *whistles*

  5. stray says:

    I know I’m supposed to be out buying cat litter and beer at this hour of a Friday night, but doing Serse brush-up on youtube prior to review writing I’ve gotten sucked into AH et al Dresden y2k. There is some boss singing in that joint.

    In related news, digging out list of Serses on the various hard drives around here leads to Dallas newspaper review from the (now somewhat water-logged) Houston Grand Opera’s 2010 production, You may be interested to know that SP was considered “promising”.

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