music for saturday

Bellini’s ‘I Capuleti e i Montecchi’ from Gothenburg
18th August, Concert began at 17:30 hours GMT
Romeo: Katarina Karnéus (mezzo)
Giulietta: Kerstin Avemo (soprano)
Lorenzo: Mats Persson
Tebaldo: Karl Rombo
Capellio: Markus Schwarz
The Göteborg Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Conductor: Giancarlo Andretta.
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roméo, interrupted

actually i have no idea what that means, it just sounds cool though not very original :-D. But i was in the middle of cutting out the Pacific to _some_ YT playlist and ending up hitting the repeat button 5 times starting here. Give it a bit of volume to fully feel the energy, especially when the voice soars high above beginning at 31:38, that’s how it felt in the house from where I sat. m.a.g.n.i.f.i.c.e.n.t. I think if you somehow got stuck on the Dresden recording, the contrast can be quite large. Having seen her all 5 times, I somehow have a much greater appreciation for her take here and very very glad it was recorded live (on a side discussion, S who had seen her also multiple times including last summer agreed with me.) In any case, not only the repeat button was hit, some screen caps were also snapped… Here it is, a “how to take on (out) a full male chorus” demonstration



am still convinced you won’t get a better portrayal anytime soon.

capuleti montecchi round 4

this will be an unjustly short report because of shortage of time on my part, again sort of in rambling mode. At the end of tonight’s performance, i somehow found myself feeling silently quite sad. sad because this will have to come to an end, that Vesselina Kasarova might be retiring the role after this Saturday. Beauty is a very subjective term. What i experienced in the past 1.5 week and today especially was sublime beauty. One could really say tonight’s performance was the most complete vocally. The orchestra took another day off from blasting (just what I want, stop playing is fine too); Eri Nakamura’s much lighter voice allowed VK to not have to push. The result was a performance at its highest quality, an immense treat for those who came to appreciate her art. In my humble opinion, this is a once in a life-time experience. Admittedly under-sampled, I do not think I/we will come across such a capable and intelligent mezzo anytime soon. Can we really say Bel Canto is written for her voice AND her interpretation?

As you all know, the commotion is gone. Everyone seemed much more relaxed and both singing and acting fit together nicely. I even had time to appreciate Capellio’s voice, a very very nice bass! Tebaldo also seemed more relaxed and resumed some of his goosebumps-induced fine singing without being pushed by the loud orchestra.

I really like Eri Nakamura. She’s my preferred Giulietta if i have to pick between her and Netrebko. Some of the reasons are personal of course, including the fact that she allowed for a much more relaxed VK (i.e., VK didn’t have to push constantly to be heard). I wrote a long post about her voice last year and everything holds true. It’s also interesting to re-realize how many notes Giulietta actually has :-). The whole evening, that orchestra (except for the incredible clarinetist) dragged itself through (entirely conductor’s fault i point finger), but that’s really fine. When Eri Nakamura and Vesselina sing, individually or in duet, the less the orchestra plays/interferes the better.

So, that should sum it up. I could go on and on about how wonderful the singers performed their respectively aria (such as the incredible and powerful Romeo’s entrance aria, heart-breaking tomb scene, Romeo-Giulietta balanced duets, amazingly making-sense and powerful Romeo-Tebaldo duet, breathing-stopped -inducing (?) Giulietta’s Act II scene 1 aria, Giulietta’s desperate cry for help (entrance aria)…) but where do I end? There’s 1 more show, the big-time-seeker “fans” are selling their tickets away. Get yourself one and come to the Bayerische Staatsoper this coming Saturday to experience Vesselina Kasarova singing Bel Canto live. That is my recommendation. Signing off until the last performance as I traverse Germany again the next several days.

ps- The dynamics of the couple has shifted, a tall VK in her handsome white shirt fits nicely the image of a protector to a fragile and desperate Giulietta. The height difference accentuates this feeling even further. a lovely sight.
ps2- i really thought i took a movie of the curtain call which included a wonderful and warm hug VK gave to Eri, but apparently i didn’t! Sorry. Time to pack and self-reflect on the evening…

capuleti montecchi round 3

It’s hard to put into words so much raw emotions. I’ll try to do my best here. This goes down as one of the finest moments in singing I have witnessed. To have seen previous performances, one can really put into perspective the efforts the singers put forth last night for the audience both in-house and worldwide.

I must start with Vesselina Kasarova. This trip was my first time ever hearing her singing Romeo live. Before that, it was all just audio inputs from 10+ years ago, be it her 1997 aria cd, studio recording 1997, Dresden 1998, New York 1999, or Chicago 2001 version. I was stuck on the Dresden 1998 radio broadcast for almost 2 years, couldn’t get past listening to any other take/singer. Somehow, after missing her here in Munich last year but getting to see a live performance of Romeo (with Tara Erraught), I became curious with the characterization. Since then, I’ve been on somewhat of a spree “sampling” Romeo from many other singers as well as other Kasarova’s take. This is not just listening to 1 or 2 arias but to go through the entire journey (opera) in multiple sittings. With that, I arrived here in Munich with high hope, not for the “perfect” voice I’ve heard in Dresden recording, but for the 3-d dynamic Romeo as interpreted by Frau Kasarova. Not all high/low notes are at the same place, but that doesn’t matter because a human-made product should never come in identical shape but rather be filled with warmth, inner feeling and emotion. Every night you don’t know which Romeo will be presented but whoever that is would make sense; that’s what I’ve come to love from Vesselina Kasarova’s performances.

I have said plenty about her voice on the premiere night, and at risk of being repetitive, everything holds true. What was more impressive last night was the effort she put in for the audience worldwide. That was the most powerful take of Romeo I’ve witnessed. It took 3 performances for me to understand Romeo’s “La tremenda ultrice spada“, and i think it does require a mezzo decisively blasting through the male chorus in “Taci! e tal sara!“. At least that’s the only way i can make sense in my head, an irreversible moment, all chances for peace are forever lost. In this version currently presented at the Bavarian opera house, the male chorus are loud but rather unorganized. Adding to that the full-strength orchestra and that requires Romeo’s “scream” sharply to pierce through. She brought her adrenaline last night, along with the attitude befit the scream. I am not saying that Romeo’s entrance aria is make or break  depending entirely on that particular moment. The first part, soft regretful phrasings in “se Romeo t’uccise un figlio” are also goosebumps inducing, that I always understand. But the 2nd half of the aria reflects such a big shift in mentality: the huge shock of an ideal youth arriving with hopes of negotiating peace and marrying Giulietta, only to hear his (her) love is lost and revenge is the only answer.

For the same reason, she brought her power in Romeo/Tebaldo duet as well. Here’s another case where loud orchestra + Tebaldo can make for a weak and indecisive Romeo. She was at her best here. Actually i was a little bit worried if she would have energy and any voice left for the very long solo in the tomb scene as it seemed everything was poured out in the grief for Giulietta’s death in the finale of the duet. A little bit on “Deh tu bell’anima”: the ending of the aria is very high, many of us have noticed her approach to the high notes are not as effortless as 10+ years ago. I wonder if a tiny bit slower tempo here would enable her to caress the phrase more, as twice now it appeared a bit rushed to my ears (and feeling during that moment). Let’s not even mention this comes after 2 hours of duetting + fighting through male chorus + orchestra!

And last but not least, all that powerful singing sometimes means nothing without the soft part of the voice which enable the dynamical characterization. Don’t you love her little self-talk in “Deserto e il luego” ? Another bit which always raises the hair on my back-neck was this in the tomb scene, which coincides with the moment Romeo raised Giulietta up in this staging.

whew, that’s a load of typing!! On to Netrebko! She BROUGHT it to the worldwide audience too!! big time! and paid much much more attention to the fine details in the singing this time around, which really helped bringing Giulietta’s feeling to live. I wonder if I’m getting used to her big voice, or that she softened it a little bit to help bring out so much more details in the dynamical phrasing (which i reallly love). Pair that with Kasarova’s tender phrasing and we have the duet for you dear audience. I really enjoy both their Act I duets, scene III in Giulietta’s room as well as scene IV during the standoff on the staircase. Here we also saw a little adjustments by the singers with Netrebko facing into Kasarova (who was holding her hand and faced out). This offered a much more balanced sound. At the very end though, Giulietta came down the stairs and this balance was lost (as I mentioned before, due to Kasarova being much higher up and in in the set).


I hope everyone enjoyed Netrebko’s Act II scene 1 take, she was always at her best here taking the time for the phrasing. I don’t like what the director made her do at the very last moment of the scene though: semi lying down while trying to sing the highly dramatic notes through the full-forced orchestra, especially when you can see she continuously trying to get back upright to launch the notes. Ideally i’d prefer that she makes Giulietta’s desperate plea while falling vertically along a post and then collapsing for example :-).

How long is this post already? I did promise a little explanation about the staging. In my opinion, this is a staging that is very very difficult to pull off. Last year i was completely lost. This time around… the brain is still processing… The Romeo/Tebaldo duet: this is an example of staging getting in the way of singing in my opinion. All those moments where Romeo / Tebaldo are supposed to sharply turn to facing each other in the standoff? Even Kasarova with her excellent leg-apart en-garde pose couldn’t quite help i confess. It’s a little too staged, no trust in the singers to do it based on feeling. The leg-together hands up-in-the-air pose was quickly done away by Kasarova to my delight. Oh, i think they should have put the plastic glove on her LEFT hand, don’t they realize she raises her left while singing and not right?

Ok, a last paragraph (however long) to express my “understanding” of the tomb scene. Oh, before that, a little detour if you don’t mind: I LOVE her way of using the wall, both in duet with Giulietta and in the tomb. To some of us, a wall is a non-movable obstacle. To Kasarova, it’s a story-building tool. The young Romeo is quite uncertain, it being the first in a long time seeing his (her) love, (s)he treads lightly hiding behind Lorenzo, staying as close as possible to the wall while peeking at Giulietta in her bedroom. During persuation, (s)he leaned onto the sink for support. At Giulietta’s refusal of his (her) plea, Romeo retrieved back to the wall in sadness and disappointment. I can tell you the difference between this Romeo standing facing wall and last year’s version: that last Romeo was so annoyed with the whiny Giulietta (s)he can’t see eye-to-eye with her any longer and must look away to hide his (her) anger. Yep, i was confused big time last year. This one, dare i jump off the 5th floor balcony into Romeo’s arms??

Ok, tomb scene (<– do click on that link). It took me until the premiere night this year (4th time) to understand the fine line between life and death they asked us to imagine. Something else even more chilling (in bitterness) on the 2nd night finally put the whole thing together for me. Let's start from the beginning. In the theater, it really gives you goosebumps at the first sight on Giulietta lying in the tomb with Romeo shrinking in the little corner. The poor chorus mumbled some in-cohesion to the fast jolly tune, whatever. Romeo mournfully monologuing, looking to Giulietta playfully waving fingers. Haven't we all done that, reciting a fun conversation we once had during good old time with a loved one? The resurrecting part, i have no opinion actually, it didn't bother me at all. Romeo continued to retreat to the corner shrinking further. Giulietta stretched a tiny bit, sadly un-noticed by Romeo. She woke up, chaos ensued. As Giulietta lamented that she had come back to only see Romeo leaving, Romeo turned over to hug her, but no, it is too late. Their hands barely touched and Romeo is already drifting into unconsciousness. It was really chilling to observe the timing of this from way above, the moment where there’s still breathing but sadly (s)he’s no longer there… That split moment is one of the two keys (the fine line is the other) to understand the staging here. When the acting is natural and instinctive, it just works! (or may be i have too much imagination 🙂 ). When just slightly unnatural, it leaves you scratching head.

Anyway, as i said, multiple views can only offer you more insights into this puzzle that is the staging. With the help of Kasarova and Netrebko, I hope to enjoy a couple more to come. I stood and screamed and waved for 20+ minutes. Frau Kasarova looked up, i wonder if she saw. I left the theater deeply moved by her art. Signing off for now as i tour Haar today before heading to Berlin, Bremerhaven, and Hanover (with of course detours back to the Nationaltheater for my beloved Romeo…).

ps0- excuse the shaking, first some annoying people wanted to leave behind me… then i wanted to clap and scream too (yes yes that's my voice :-)).

ps1- oh yes, the camera men/women deserved to be scorned! in this dreamy imaginative staging where not everything is exactly at the right place, zoom-ins are just nuisance, all perspectives lost.

ps2- yes, Dimitri Pittas sang quite well with good dynamic shaping too, Anik, it's not acoustic maneuvering.

capuleti montecchi round 2

back, from climbing off the rail to a free seat in front for the last 2 scenes (with Kasarova singing in full swing, yayyyy).  Tonight’s standing spot was severely limited in view (I knew that the moment they sent me the tix).  The staging is highly anti-symmetric, so a ticket on extreme left side (round 1) offers 60-65% view whereas on right gives only ~20%.  The other 20% (Act 1 scene 4, quintet on stairs) can only be viewd if you’re either sitting in the middle or at a lower level.  Anywho, this report is more in rambling mode…

Some details to report: Kasarova’s voice and musicianship are in top form! *love* , reallly *love*.  Without climbing, i wouldn’t have managed to see her in the tomb scene, which was why i was so adamant and decisive, apparently to the surprise of many upscaled opera-goers in the vicinity.  She breaks my heart everytime.  pooor Romeo.   Deh tu, bell anima was no longer rushed this night.  I’m really in awe, she pays so much attention to the fine detail in the singing.  And i spotted a really nice pianissimo just before the duet with Tebaldo too.

Anna Netrebko has a HUUUGE voice, she blasted above the all-male chorus plus full-strength orchestra at the end of Act II scene 1 without any problem.  Actually her singing was in top form this whole scene (though i saw only 20% of it, she migrated to the corner where the entire right standing side couldn’t see).  Unfortunately, because of the big voice, she also masked out Kasarova in their duet on the stairs (Act I, last scene), mainly because she’s standing directly in front of the audience and VK much higher up and in. My ears might be going south, but i have a feeling her voice is so big that it’s not the most flexible (and is once in a while off-pitched (?))

Anyhow, I have a few open questions for the readers, given that you will see the staging in 3 days!!  I don’t quite get the staging of Romeo / Tebaldo duet (hence the lack of discussion for it in last post as well.)  So, a hand-made version of it is to the left (black sloping asymmetric triangle + the “moon”).  Romeo started out standing on the apex, which one can easily interprets as standing on top of a hill to the rising moon in the far field, waiting for Lorenzo.  After mumbling (in very very nice piano and pianissimo bits), (s)he descended to the left… just in time for Tebaldo to arrive from the right climbing up to the apex.  Then they started singing to each other while exchanging positions around the corners (while showing off their plastic gloves, that’s just really strange.)  At one point, Tebaldo grabbed Romeo’s glove, only to see him (her) shaking it off and they faced off again.

Then Giulietta’s funeral came and gone, Tebaldo took off his plastic glove while Romeo stood legs together hands apart to finish off the most energetic part of their duet. I guess both actions symbolize them giving up in different manner, but why is Romeo using that stand? It looks quite strange every single time i’ve seen it. At the end, Romeo walked off (just that, not quietly, not forcefully, just off) leaving Tebaldo looking quite lost on the “hill”. Somehow i just can’t connect the storyline together in this scene at all. To make the matter more “confusing”, I can not understand the tempo set here by Yves Abel. It seems he wants high drama by making it exceedingly slow. I know Kasarova is one of the few singers who can sustain the audience’s attention just from her singing (e.g., the beautiful monologue in the tomb), but here, it seems both Romeo and Tebaldo were pushing to their limits trying to sustain the drama… and yet when they were done singing each elaborate phrase, the music was still not up and running. So, twice now (and every single time last year) it sounded, at least to me, quite dragging. That really irks me, especially when we know this duet can really generate high charges (and here’s another reason i really wish Marcello Viotti has the baton).

On that same tempo note, I really don’t understand the jolly tune to start the tomb scene. First, it’s sped up very fast, then slowed down to epic tempo (many of us noticed that last year). But why speeding it up?? I can’t envision a scenario that makes sense of the tempo, argh. At least the “typical” tempo like that set by Eve Queler, it implies a sense of bitterness; i always have the image in the head of chill wind blowing the leaves outside the tomb, with the next phrase in the music taking us to the inside…

Anyhow, now that i’ve seen VK’s 2nd take on Romeo’s entrance aria, i’m still a bit puzzled by the mood of Romeo as well. In this 2nd take, she acted a bit less, so that didn’t quite help… (The singing is top notch, just trying in my head to get it fit with what’s going on on stage 🙂 ).

Dear Bayerische Staatsoper, may i have this wall-sized poster when you’re done?

Lastly, we’ve all seen the trailer with VK spectacularly executing the “fall” on top of Giulietta next to the sink. (Oh, first, she ditched the leather, might have been too hot? ;-), tux, even tux shirt are gone, it’s all white shirt now.) I quite curious which version of that “fall” we’ll see on broadcast night. Round 1, might have been Netrebko forgetting to get to the sink (?), they somehow made the fall happened in the middle of the stage but it didn’t look very convincing. Tonight, Netrebko was still working on falling, but VK was spectacular ;-). very very nice. Sadly, i missed seeing the entire first part of the duet as they sang/caressed each other in the corner that was invisible to all standing-tix on right side… Anyhow, i now have the luxury to sample each night various parts to try to make sense of this entire staging + conductor… but wow, singing is top notch. Even Tebaldo is great! I really like his singing tonight.

So there you have it. hopefully i can also see the broadcast at some point down the line, as it might provide the most complete picture… Below is the curtain call, note the fabulous view from climbed-down seat! (still uploading, 60min to go…)

ps- At least now i understand why my tix are so off at extreme points in the theater: the darn double-tix prices. I was very specific with my price range to end up on door 2 on either side (1 = middle, 3 = extreme left/right), but thanks to that nice tix jump, i end up 4/5 times at doors 3…

Anna Netrebko & Vesselina Kasarova brought the house down

wow. just wow.
i’ll be back much later todaz-tomorrow after jetlag and hopefullz with an adjusted kezboard… but ja. uhm, also in love with Romeo.

Edit:
Back. So, my friends got a 40-min very animated version of the description of last night, one which left them amazed at my enthusiasm for the music and at ability to describe the shaping of phrases in the voice (loads of hand waving). Let’s see if i can duplicate the act here with written words…

I left the National theater in a daze. If one leaves the opera house last night not impressed, i don’t know why they would go to opera. At some point after the duet, i realized _this_ is exactly why I fly here in hope to see this _five_ times.

The evening started a bit rough as i got up quite late from an afternoon nap and ran frantically to the subway/theater. Got there 2 min before starting time, sweating profusely while still heavily jetlagged, the whole thing was a bit unreal, had to remind myself who were set to appear *live* in 20min… With so much discussion on the internet about Kasarova’s voice, register break, heading toward heavier repertoire, some how i found myself worried a bit… what if she is singing very different from what _you_ expected? How will the audience receive her? Will the acting make sense or will it look artificial? This is the problem when you fly 1/3 way around the world to see something you have been so looking forward to for so long. Would it be a set up for disappointment? I even laugh at myself a bit while reminding what I heard in her masterclass, the voice is still there i self-mumbled, just relax and enjoy the show, take it as is!

Let me state that I’m a Kasarova “worshiper”, in case it’s not clear. She blew me away! Beyond all my expectation.  It’s (self) unanimous, if I hadn’t heard her before, I would have become an instant fan last night, NO DOUBT. First, there’s the voice. WOW!! i found myself drowning in it, unbelievably warm and full (and you know Bellini wrote it so the singers can keep singing for loooong time, to the pleasure of the audience (me!)). Haven’t heard her live in such a long time, i really forgot how happy the inner body feels listen to Kasarova live. It’s not just the beautiful voice, but what she does with it, varying intensity, shaping the word, the phrase, creating 3-D visions (a vase of warm fluid instead of a vase image), tighting knots in one’s stomach, tingling one’s spine. truly blew me away. The acting is so subtly accurate, and such great fine details vocally (little piano trills here and there to convey uncertainties). It’s all in the timing of the phrase when/what she does with the hands + body. The duet, all that to slowly arrive chest-to-back behind Giulietta, Romeo, take me… The tomb scene, how hopelessly unfortunate, why couldn’t she wait 2 minutes, Giulietta would have woken up!!! Poor poor Romeo.

Having impeccable and intuitive timing for acting, these are the words one would use to describe both Kasarova and Netrebko. Anna Netrebko has a HUGE and beautiful voice!! In fact the voice was so big, it took a lot of self convincing on my part at the beginning to believe this is a very young Giulietta (the voice really gave a first image of a very mature and lustrous woman.) Her ability to shape the words/phrase through voice intensity is also on display and complement the acting well. The scene dueting with Kasarova is truly the vocal highlight. For acting, i have to say the final minute was amazing. I’m sure previous singers had tried to get this idea across but i didn’t see it until last night. Romeo has taken the poison and is now slowly drifting away from Giulietta to the brink of death–an imaginary line on the stage. Giulietta quickly caught up, only to catch Romeo at his(her) last breath, CLICK, Romeo crossed the line. Their timing of this catch (CLICK) was incredibly accurate, you really understand the fine line separating life and death. Giulietta let out her final cry, and CLICK, she is reunited with Romeo. As the lovers slowly drifted away, the capulets rushed out to the empty Giulietta dress in the bright tomb, light shut down, total darkness, the end! amazing!

“Some duets should never end” (c) Wilfried Hösl (clik on image for review in German)

Tebaldo sung very well, though i admit didn’t really quite pay close attention to his first aria (still in daze due to sweating and such). The other characters are fine too with their small parts. I’m still not a big fan of the chorus, i supposed the staging doesn’t help, putting them behind the walls altogether in the tomb scene. I don’t know why it doesn’t sound “sharp”? Is it the distance? the number of singers? the timing? no idea. The conducting was very sharp, though tempo is still dragging a bit (more later). I’m sure my seat has everything to do with how well i heard the orchestra (way on top, a bit way to the left).  Big applause also to the solo clarinetist, cellist, and harpsichord player! In fact i was busy looking at her and missed Netrebko climbing up the sink.

So, some more words about staging + acting. It almost completely makes sense to me now!! If you have read my post from last year’s performance, surely you remember my VERY loud complaints for tempo + acting + staging. Romeo and Giulietta are not allowed to touch each other very much in this production. I was VERY confused last year of the reason, mainly because the acting suggested that they were practically strangers or distant lovers at times. But here, it seemed they actually touched each other a lot more, and the time they were singing apart, it still made sense. How? hmm, not sure, though i attribute it undoubtedly to mainly Vesselina Kasarova’s (and some of Netrebko’s) ability to make sense of any staging idea tossed at them.

This being Netrebko’s first run, i wonder if she was still adjusting to some of the “crazy” things she has to do. “Oh! quante volte” started a little bit shaky, which i entirely attributed to her trying to adjust balance standing on 1 leg facing the wall on that sink. The stretch of the hand still didn’t quite fit yet… It took her at least 3 phrases in to reorient herself on 2 legs facing out (I really thought she was going to fall off that sink!) before the rest of the aria was given full attention and delivered with great emotion. During her scene before taking the poison, she literally sat down (though with legs hanging, great legs btw) and sang through the entire scene. Hanging legs mentioned because i don’t think it gave her all the support she needed, hence various moments of legs tensing up as she caressed the phrase. Huge applause resulted there.

There were 2 places Kasarova’s voice was masked out: (1) in duet with Giulietta in the last scene of Act I where the Capulets and Montegues met each other on the stairs ready for battle and (2) toward the end of duet with Tebaldo. (1) was mainly due to my seat, she was completely invisible at the top of the stair (hence singing behind the stage ceiling) while Netrebko was in full view with a large voice. (2) was probably because i was directly above the orchestra, and by the end of that duet, orchestra was blasting in full strength, only Tebaldo’s voice managed to get out on top.

© Wilfried Hösl . Clik on image for link to Bayerische Staatsoper photo album on facebook.

Second to lastly, Romeo’s entrance was portrayed quite interesting. Based on recordings only, i’ve always imagined a Romeo coming up full of youth’s arrogance sword swinging. This Romeo was somewhere between being afraid and i still not quite get the part during “La tremenda ultrice spada”, not sure what his (her) feeling was. Can’t wait to see the next version :-). “Deh tu bel anima” was surprisingly rushed. The last bit of that is soo high, and Kasarova (from various recordings) always seemed to take time to caress the phrase to convey Romeo’s anguish. Yet last night, it sounded somehow rushed through, i almost thought she was short of breath. It might have been that she was a bit overcome by the emotion (as she once mentioned in her interview!) Will be looking forward to hear that again too.

So, last bit, white shirt related: I LOVE Romeo’s hair!!!! They’re probably tuning everything for the stream broadcast this coming Saturday. I wouldn’t be surprised if they taped this entire run so the singers can smooth out any kinks in the acting… And they must have gone through that last few interviews preparing Kasarova’s hair and settled with her lovely masterclass’ version? anyhow, i decisively love this much better than the previous edition of hair down by the shoulder :-). The boots during the first duet were LOVELY. Too bad she switched out for a different pair for the rest.

Anyhow, altogether, much much to discuss. Not too many photos, but here’s another curtain call. We stood there and clapped for a good 15min! Moments during scene-change, where it was dragging last year, felt short this time as the time were fully occupied with spontaneous applause. Oh, i was overwhelmingly surprised when Netrebko didn’t receive the loudest applause during curtain call! They LOVE Kasarova here in Munich!! Another blogger posted some VERY lovely photos including one of the two of them hugging immediately after the end. And as some readers might have noticed, that was a very nice exchange to decide who should go get the conductor too :-). In my opinion, if you didn’t leave last night show with much much to discuss and praises, I don’t know why you go to operas!

to heck with orchestra

for the first time i can claim i *love* an opera because of the singers alone! More specifically of the very very nice Giulietta and fffffaaaannnntasticcccc Romeo! Am totally captivated. And before you come to any conclusion that i *only* listen to alcina, i capuleti e i montecchi, and tancredi, let me clarify! actually i was listening today (while writing up review) to Handel’s Oreste. Not sure which version i got though… But, back to the recording of Romeo! I’m always quite amazed of the things you stumble on on internet these days… like live performance of Vesselina Kasarova in New York! with French soprano Annick Massis, and the Opera Orchestra of New York conducted by Eve Queler. Anyhow, it’s a bit sad that the recording of the orchestra is not that great (pretty noisy). Whoever recorded this must have been sitting right in front of the 2 main singers! I’m beyond happy with the recording of Frau Kasarova’s voice actually. There’s so much one can absorb it it, to a point you (I) literally stop breathing!

Anyhow, the opening aria for Romeo is very well sung too, but I didn’t upload it. In place, we shall have the complete (uncut) fantastic duet between Romeo and Giulietta,

and the complete final scene (above). Alternating between these are 2 posts by a fan of Massis’ of her great opening aria and the duet between Romeo and Tebaldo, posted by Arashi. For me, she’s the best Giuliettas (in term of voice, my scale is pretty biased though and heavily weighted by non-headache-inducing factor) of all the ones I’ve heard in recording :-). Here are also two write-ups (1 and 2) of the performance back in 1999.
like
mucho