The Brussels “Lucio Silla” (2017) Liveblogging Thread

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Welcome to the White Shirt live comment thread for Mozart’s “Lucio Silla” from Brussels (2017), with Antonello Manacorda conducting and staged by Tobias Kratzer.

Cast List:
Jeremy Ovenden – Lucio Silla Lenneke Ruiten – Giunia
Anna Bonitatibus – Cecilio
Simona Saturová – Lucio Cinna
Ilse Eerens – Celia
Carlo Allemano – Aufidio

Libretto: The French version (on ARTE) should have French subtitles, the German version German subtitles. English (html) here, Italian (pdf) here.

347 thoughts on “The Brussels “Lucio Silla” (2017) Liveblogging Thread”

            1. plus Ustinov as Nero…
              well, this overture montage is already a lot – wait, was that a magpie?!

              Also, knives and blood and nightmares?! And turning people into Barbie dolls? Will this be heavy-handed Freud reading?

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            1. tht’s probably the “but power is evil and Jackie wasn’t happy, either” joker of poststructuralist ambiguity. 😉

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    1. I can accept that.
      perhaps she needed to go undercover in a homophobic dictatorship?

      So… Cecilio is Cecilia, and Cinna is Spike from Buffy. Gender ambiguous.

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        1. this looks like a bar fight in my queer home pub ca. late 1997. I swear we had regulars like both of them. And then sneaking off to stand under a girl’s window. –

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            1. Ovenden?
              I think I heard him in Betulia liberata with Mijanovic on the M2006 edition from Salzburg…?

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        1. Yes, as Ismene – and I find the Cinna at least in this aria a little on the low side for her, she has more power higher up.

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    1. I second this motion.
      But singing first!!
      (already from the recit, I am so looking forward to some Bonitatibus – she has such a great vocal seat and color for this repertory)

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    1. AAAaaaah, I had forgotten just how GOOD she is.

      (okay, playing a piny lesbian in nerd glasses with a checkered shirt is a plus, too, but not the deciding factor here. Skip the arias, just give her more accompagnato recits!)

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        1. okay, there may have been facets about Cecilio that I didn’t fully appreciate when we heard Fagioli singing him in spring.

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      1. the aria is also VERY lovely! (and also on record am hearing her significantly better than Crebassa, whose voice is a bit of less heft and less colors <– to my hearing )

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    1. and why does he keep his sister underneath the table?
      Does she control him with that vodoo doll?
      (and I think we also heard Eerens as Celia back in April?)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. okay, but if they paint Celia as a school girl, that her affair with Cinna is just icky.

    (and Celia is apparently roleplaying Cecilia/Giunia with her dollhouse olls…?)

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    1. hm, this way her entire aria is framed not about herself, but about Giunia/Cecilio – I wonder if she will get to do more commentary?

      While Ovenden is basically asked to patent a blasé zombie stare…?

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    1. Celia ripping apart the Cecilio doll?
      is that some “traumatized daughter articulating the things she has seen through doll-playing” take?

      – Barbie dolls are always creepy. Still, Silla, put that Giunia doll away.

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        1. seeing as there are lesbians and vampires and voodoo dolls, I sure do hope that some of this is supposed to be ironic.
          Well, if not we’ll do the job for them and take it down a notch.

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  2. While I realize that Giunia’s dress color is a little garish, is that a reason to drag her with a bag over her head?!

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    1. yes – I was puzzling right now how she sounds a bit more disaffected than as Fiordiligi or Aspasia, but I think it is part of the portrayal?

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    1. Not really seeing her falling for anyone with that detached air? (well, they will meet eventually. Including long piny duet)

      (Silla does a bit of Hannibal-channeling there.)

      (Meanwhile, Giunia does not seem at all surprised by the presence of an actual moth-frayed vampire in the house…?)

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    1. well, he does handle that fake rosé admirably. (still trying to figure out the link between ‘sired by a vampire’ and ‘dictators and powers and also misogyny’)

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  3. oh, come on, don’t tell me you’d go for blood when there is a perfectly chilled platter of oysters? Yeah, fine, to each their kink, but… the oysters!

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    1. not beyond just making fun of it, no.
      ‘Dictators=zombies of power and also patriarchy’ is not enough as a concept.

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  4. Wait, Voldemort is holding a vampire meet-up in the backyard, and Giunia thinks she’s definitely had her drink spiked?

    Or is this a Goth conference? And what’s with little Dracula kneeling down in front o Giunia? Specters of power? Not clear enough!

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    1. as in ‘seeing stuff that isn’t there’? So now that makes her doubt Cecilio, too?

      (would work, but what do the vampires represent, then?)

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  5. The start of the scene, which is higher, was a bit too steep for me, but I like the not-upper-top work she does here better. But I still have a different impression of her here than all of last year.

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    1. am getting the same impression actually. perhaps i did listen a bit extensively last year 😉 (i notice her recit way is the same, and with acting, it’s not 100% in character per se , not when compared with either Sifare or Cecilio here..)

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      1. yes, that 90% in scene thing, that’s the same. I just have a different memory of her live concert, and also her Fiordiligi…

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  6. But who ARE the Goths? Ghosts of Christmas past? A choir after 300 Traviatas gone south? The killed Roman souls? The dictator entourage that thrives on evil?! If you give me zombies, give me zombie plot, too!

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  7. HEy, wait a minute, is my vision queer, or is the headstone saying CECILIA?

    (also, hey: reunion! An under a realistic Christmas tree, too, though god knows why)

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        1. perhaps he’s long since been turned into a vampire too?

          And apropos vampires, the screens/surveillance…. just when you thought he had it the creep quota with the blood he goes off to ogle sleeping sopranos

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    1. Ruiten’s annual schedule must also be like “So, what’s my Mozart seria this year to get pined over by some soprano/mezzo in trousers?”

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  8. we could already talk about Dario’s sound here? his singing sounds “covered” somehow to me, like he’s closing his mouth 50% at all time singing, sound warped and muffed..

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    1. yes, but I also wondered whether part of it is the very wide set? Ruiten didn’t get across well from behind the blinds, Saturova also less gettin through less easily than in the Mitridate – perhaps a soundmix issue?
      (Ovenden is a bit more on the throat side, though)

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        1. Allemanno has that ‘a little frayed around the edges thing’, and he gts across, but it’s not the clearest or most focused of front projections.

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        1. people going mad because it is the only way of dealing with power mechanics unless you want to become an evil vampire yourself…?

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  9. …and Cecilia even brought her journal diary. This couldn’t look any gayer if they tried.

    (also “let me kill that dictator – with a brittle torn of tree branch”)

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      1. okay, the actual Wedneday Addams is Celia, and she has some plans for Cinna who… does not look bad scowling with the hair falling into her face. Oh my.

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  10. Oh, that bar fight continues!
    (we did we never have singing as good with it?! And a period band instead of Melissa?)

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  11. okay, so Cinna is a vampire, too.
    (well, his look kin of did give him/her away, so that should not come as a surprise).— hm, perhaps everyone not a vampire in this one is straight from a ward?

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  12. One of my favorite things about Silla is that it offers a more or less coloratura soprano a chance to play a badass scheming g trouser role.

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      1. Hmm, I thought the house and garden would still be real, maybe Silla as well, but he might be a perfectly nice gentleman with no ill intentions whatsoever? Thought right this moment he seems to have issues as well, holding his head…

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  13. But the video surveillance really looks a lot like paranoia, maybe that’s her imagination how he would act, drooling at the videos… No, put the knife away….

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  14. her yellow dress is the only spot of color, and if he dresses her in that white and black, that will be gone, too.

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    1. Is this the point where I admit that I always had a soft spot for Spike (very easily readable as a butch lesbian, too).

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      1. vocally a bit more phrasing could be possible?
        i secretly want to try out both this outfit and the wig..
        (this is not Idamante, but her movements are interesting actually, sort of this indignant way..)

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        1. the final walk off with shurggun on jacket,s tuffing hands in pickets… nice.)
          (I don’t mind the wig, either)

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  15. Is Cinna taking pills to not vamp out? or is he an illusion, too? (in the end, perhaps it’s all dreamt up my Celia in her dollhouse? – meanwhile, I will not complain about another Cinna scene)

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    1. yes! Blonde-type voice, too – really a very might lyric.

      Ahaha, Giunia’s “Are you crazy?” look at Celia’s doll interaction of Celia/Cinna.

      (are these two sharing a room in the ward?)

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      1. The bridal dress does have this belt that looks a lot like a system you could use to tie someone to a bed if there’s no other possibility, this is all a bit much.

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        1. mixing bridal wear with detish gear fits in with the whole ‘goth vampires in the harden and violence against women’ style? it didn’t even strike me as something from a ward. Hmm.

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          1. Maybe it’s deliberate that it’s all mixing up (I was only waiting for the self-harming, there it is, certainly the first wound wasn’t caused by Silla as well)

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        1. haha. actually i like her entire set of movements. very in character, in tune with her phrasing, and made the character very believable.

          (and contrasts very sharply with Ruiten here for example, as soon as she (Ruiten) starts the recit i feel again it’s a bit “acting”…)

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  16. Dr T, you were right about the hectic zooms – I could follow this better with less extreme zooms and cuts to some side moment or other.

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  17. oh, the Goth garden party continues (s whenever Giunia has an episode she sees Marilyn Manson giving a free concert in the garden?)

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  18. I don’t know, I’m quite moved by this psychiatric setting, because for them it’s all real. And seen like that even all the overdone vampire stuff is not so silly any more. Also the dialogues make surprisingly much sense.

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    1. I’d really be interested in the dicrector explaining how she came to stage it this way, and what her thoughts were.

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  19. I this foreshadowing Silla’s change od heart in the end? Him suddenly being aghast at the footage of beating Giunia? (or am I reading his empty facial expression wrong?)

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  20. And now vampire Giunia is turning Cecilio (last one shuts the door!) and then wants to kill him with a pair of scissors, whole he seems oddly used to Giunia having such episodes?

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      1. “Aufidio sorgi, dunque non sei…”
        that is not original, is it now?
        “I imagined the vampire, so I’m the only normal one, but I managed to turn everyone else into a vampire?”

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    1. It’s… it was a metaphor for something, right?
      Or did Giunia in the ward just kill the nice maintenance guy/lady because she had an attack…?

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      1. Celia is either the sire at the bottom of it all and actually everal thousand years old, or she is the only one who’s real and the entire opera happened in her head’s dollhouse?

        (And why do we get vieo rape footage? In whose mind did that happen? – or is this the version that would be ‘real’ as opposed to the one mediated by an imagines Aufidio?
        (And why would anyone watch a video screen if there is a mezzo to look at instead?)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. which would make this a bt like Herheim’s Rusalka – the entire opera trip in one person breaking down.

      A, no, final clue – the real vampire is Cinna? Or at least the really evil guy? (also, the distractingly attractive guy, but I digress)

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        1. yes. Also major lesbian points for basically copying the end of When Night is Falling with the dog running away.

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      1. i think she loves that suit and wig.

        me like Celia! will check her name

        here comes Bonitatinus! like! and are thos her real glasses? i like it they work these into stagings (like with Mingardo) so they don’t have to swap out for terrible contact lenses

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      1. much better kind of speechless and confused that after that Naples thing. 😉

        So for a moment we were supposed to believe that there was no evil vampire spell that Silla was under, but then Cinna told us with a wink that he was the evil vampire… or that is my take, at least. I may have missed part because MEZZO)

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  21. well, i just searched for Anna Bonitatibus, and the first link that comes up is:

    Bonitatibus – en travesti:
    The Anti-Diva, as she likes to describe herself, is renowned for the noble passion with which she interprets titles between the most famous of ‘teatro musicale’…

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  22. Everyone seemed to act like normal people in the end, so that would suggest everything was someone’s imagination… but whose? Folie à six, or something?

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    1. Either Cinna in an evil vampire overlord who played everyone including Silla, or everything is in Celia’s head, or possibly Giunia’s?
      I am still looking for the link to the overture pitch, which so gar is powermongers an oysters – so when do the vampires come in? As an allegory on the bloodsucking forces of capitalism? Or as a figment of imagination of people who get caught up in power mechanisms and get their minds deformed by how hey are treated?
      (there must be some heavy delusions going on, if Cecilio cannot shoot Silla (or Silla is an actual vampire?), or if the scene where Giunia is assaulted which was visible to the audience as Aufidio restraining her later replays on video as rape, without Aufidio (but if Silla is a vampire, why is he visible on video?)

      (…or perhaps they all six smoked the same thing.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m still wondering as well, maybe it’s a more general statement of how trauma causes trauma with the vampires symbolizing self-repeating terror and violence? Silla was alarmed when he saw himself raping Giunia in the video sequence, so that would maybe imply a dissociative identity disorder, likely caused by serious childhood abuse? All other people in the house seemed to be hostages of mad Silla’s terror regime, maybe for a long time, so in a way, their decompensation is understandable. But don’t ask me where winking Cinna fits in…

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