Handel’s Giulio Cesare

Apr 21, 2007 5:17 pm
So far this broadcast with David Daniels and Ruth Ann Swenson is better than the one I heard a couple weeks ago, but I was hoping for better. If you have Sirius, be sure to listen on Tuesday and hear Danielle de Niese sing a very different Cleopatra. (If you were listening to the opera today, she was the host of the opera quiz during the first intermission).

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~ by severalfourmany on April 21, 2007.

5 Responses to “Handel’s Giulio Cesare”

  1. Jun 5, 2007 4:13 pm
    I started watching the Glyndebourne Giulio Cesare. It is set in the 19th century and the “Romans” look British to me. However, this was very well done and I think worked very well. It certainly had a very good cast. I was particularly impressed with Danielle de Niese (Cleopatra). She is a rare talent that looks gorgeous, can sing, and, as a very big plus to this particular performance, can dance as well.

  2. Jun 5, 2007 9:28 pm
    I have been raving about her for years. She is especially good in this role in this production. She also sang this role at the Met just a few weeks ago. And she hosted the opera quiz the weekend before her singing broadcast. The Glyndebourne is a great production on video. Glad you enjoyed it. She also has a small but hilarious part in Rameau’s Les indes galantes available on video. Very amusing. I think you will like it.

  3. Wed Jun 6, 2007 5:10 pm
    Hmmm. I have a bit of a problem with the way this praise of a singer is phrased. “She is a rare talent that looks gorgeous, can sing, and, as a very big plus to this particular performance, can dance as well.” Are the priorities in the right order? Shouldn’t “can sing” come first? That is the first thing I expect from an opera singer. The rest are all pluses. If she looks gorgeous, great. If she can dance, the better. But isn’t singing, he ability to create and transmit a character through the human voice the most important thing? At least it is for me. The other things end up in situations like the Debora Voigt affair in London two years ago.

  4. Wed Jun 6, 2007 9:29 pm
    It all depends if you are looking for bel canto singers or gesamtkunstwerk artists.

  5. Wed Jun 6, 2007 9:57 pm
    No. Opera is about singing. Any kind of opera and artist. Otherwise it would be straight theater. That is why Montserrat Caballe did a great Salome, even on stage, and Lindsay Lohan, a great actress despite her personal problems, will never be able to play the Strauss piece. And aren’t you talking about Giulio Cesare? Baroque opera where singing virtuosos is the first thing needed. No, the priority is on singing. That is why Luciano was Luciano, Bergonzi was Bergonzi and Gencer was Gencer, though they were not the best of actors from the strictest point of view. But they were magical and that is what I expect from an opera artist. It does not have to be the strict bel canto thing, which one would not expect from a lady singing Tosca or Fanciulla. But she has to sing in the first place, to produce that character with her voice. Otherwise everything else goes down the toilet. And, on the contrary, lack of looks or dramatic (from the stage point of view) talent can be compensated with the vocal acting, the singing. How else could you believe Price as Butterfly, 60 year old Kraus as Romeo or Horne as Arsace? That is the bog mistake in the Opera World today. Theater directors who don’t understand the magic of Opera have taken over and now casting is done by looks and acting capability, and there is no magic any longer from most performers and performances. I remember how 30 years ago I attended performances with Caballe, Domingo, Cossotto, Kraus, Aragall, Carreras, Pavarotti, Deutekom, Gruberova, Gencer with very primitive stagings but the audiences went wild. Many of those performances are now available on CD and are considered historic. How many of the performances we attend today would we care to listen to only 10 years from now? Very few.

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