a different kind of grasp

Yes, still at it, and this one might set the record for screencaps dear readers, be warn 😉 . Since I talk occasionally about my love for subtle body languagues and subtle acting in general (and this in Semiramide the last couple of posts), let’s have some fun with the screencaps today to the theme “The first encounter”, or as it also occurred to me, ” a different kind of grasp”.

Thanks to Dehggi who patiently explained to me the plot, I sort of blocked out the libretto and was just listening in the first couple of rounds… But then I managed to download that tube version of Semiramide *with* the french subtitle, suddenly everything came together: This Semiramide didn’t just desire Arsace out of randomness.. Yes, she was already dreaming (a subject for another post! very lovely the acting too! with her women!), but let us set the stage for the first encounter:

Semiramide with wandering thoughts, waiting for Arsace
duet1_00 Read more of this post

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screencaps for the weekend

Ann Hallenberg (Arsace), Myrtò Papatanasiu (Semiramide), Vlaamse Opera, Dec 2010--Jan 2011

Ann Hallenberg (Arsace), Myrtò Papatanasiu (Semiramide), Vlaamse Opera, Dec 2010–Jan 2011

There are reasons to not know the story when listening to operas! Now that my (dreaming) bubbles have been bursted, I’m quite pissed at the ridiculous storyline that prevents these caps from having meaningful effect.. you can check out the story of Rossini’s Semiramide if desire.. or just go with the flow here.. I must admit i’m very impressed with M.Papatanasiu’s phrasing in this, as well as her acting. After scanning the first round a few days ago I thought it was the proper time to re-acquaint the ears with the power-house. WOW! talk about bringing the haus down! Ewa Podles! But while I have been a (secret) admirer of Darina Takova’s singing since that gorgeous Amenaide in Tancredi, here i thought somehow she left me out cold… (i even re-listened a couple of times to make sure i didn’t miss it…) and that brings us to this duet! The difference in this live recording (A.Hallenberg and MP) compared to that one with Takova and Podles (same conductor, same haus!) I think, among other things, is the pace: with the power-house singing the music was significantly more robust. In this one it’s very interesting to hear how much more details but much less showcasing of the voice: one would be tempted to just ignore the “Rossini’s (flashy) effect” because it’s more about the drama (it is showcasing but in a different way, here, see if you can hear the difference both in the orchestra and in the singing details in A.Hallenberg’s version of the same aria E.Podles sang). I must admit I came in quite skeptical of MP’s singing of this role (not that I know it at all, but I was not sure if she has the heft, the high sustained notes exposed to little orchestration, the coloratura…). What is most pleasant to discover is that Semiramide’s music is quite low (I think! compared to Mozart) and thus she shines with her strong low notes as well as with some impressive long legato lines where her musical phrasing came through wonderfully. On 2nd round of listening I also enjoyed A.Hallenberg’s detailed singing much more (after blocking out the powerhouse Rossini’s aspect…), and their voices mesh very lovely in this duet (ahh.. one can only dream..madre=[step-]mother)

Arsace-Semiramide

In any case, here’s one last cap for “my” night. And a review that really says it much clearer than what I wrote here. Too bad A.Hallenberg was not present for that reviewed performance. So there, Semiramide, I’ll listen again when up. Oh, and I’m still searching for her Iphigénie, and accidentally ran into this fb post instead: that’s what it takes to achieve “diva” status in the US, by simply asking for the most basic thing 😀 . I’m impressed she managed it though, and I’d have come to hear her Traviata just because the AC was off! It’s not easy to pull that off in the US!
Arsace_Semiramide02