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Nel tuo seno, amico sassone

“Bollywood dance numbers, kung fu fighting, simulated nudity — and rock-solid musical values — added up to a sterling Giulio Cesare at at the Met.” [New York Post]


  • 1
    Baltsamic Vinaigrette says:

    Aw, only simulated? The soonah the Met engages Calixto, the beddah!

  • 2
    stignanispawn says:

    Sounds to me in reading JJ’s review that the Met’s Giulio Cesare is a production featuring form over substance if ND and DD were off of their game vocally.

    • 2.1
      Milady DeWinter says:

      Cieca’s review is spot -n. Mainly because it jibes with what I heard over Sirius.
      The Met has yet to have a Cleopatra in the razzle dazzle Sills style, although Battle, Swenson, McNair etal. all made valiant attempts. Dessay sounded better than I had hopes, although there’s no doubt the voice carries a permannent huskiness at the core, and glittering staccacti and aigus were in short supply and “Se pieta” was not the great, arching cri de coeur it can be. Still, by the time she got to her final showpiece, “Da tempesta”, her scales and runs were in excellent working order -- and rather showed up the rest of the cast in terms of agility. I think I only heard a real trill from the countertenor who sang Nireno, although his characterization was generally from the Franklin Pangborn school of fussy old queendom. It took pretty much the whole first act for everyone to warm up, and while the Act I closer, the Sesto/Cornelia duet was sung with obvious love and care, nothing can eclipse David Daniels and Stephanie Blythe in that from years ago. Dumaux is a find, and although I am not particularly fond of countertenors (what a Ceasre Battle had in Troyanos!), he had plenty of vocal dash and volume, like Daniels used to have. I suppose the shelf-life for freshness of the countertenor voice, especially in this post-post DD era (he does deserve full credit for establishing the countertenor front and center in the international market), is relatively short.
      Bicket moved things along beautifully. More Cesare please, although I’d cast Garanca and Yende in the leads, and pdq.

  • 3
    oedipe says:

    Here is a shocking suggestion for the Met: cast Dumaux as Cesare the next time around.

    • 3.1
      Hippolyte says:

      and presumably Yoncheva as Cleopatra? (They have sung it together already.)

      • 3.1.1
        oedipe says:

        Great idea!

        BTW, Hippolyte -you probably know it already-, next January at Pleyel, Yoncheva together with Nathalie Stutzmann’s orchestra will give a recital of Handel opera arias. The recital is entitled…Diva!

          Hippolyte says:

          And a big Handel tour with Haim also to NYC, etc. Frankly I don’t hear a Handel voice there but we’ll see I guess. It’s not that I don’t trust Malgoire…well, yeah…that’s probably it.

          • oedipe says:

            I have a feeling what’s happening is that EVERYBODY wants to work with this young lady, Minko, Haïm, Stutzmann, Malgoire, etc. and now she is getting cast by the top houses in leading roles, and she can’t get herself to say no. The number and variety of roles she is supposed to sing in the coming year or so is a little frightening.

  • 4
    pavel says:

    A fine review from JJ as always. And I know that headlines are not written by the reporter, but I must contend that “goes for baroque” ranks as one of the WORST headline puns of all time, right up there with using “purr-fect” for an article about cats. Someone at the Post deserves a boo and a hiss.

  • 5
    pasavant says:

    The Cleopatra ” missed the mark vocally. ” The Caesar sounded “unfocussed “and “labored. ” Doesn’t sound like rock solid musical values to me.

  • 6
    Satisfied says:

    Going into this somewhat blind and like to buy a good recording. Any suggestions?

    • 6.1
      bassoprofundo says:

      Save your money and download one from the internet.

      • 6.1.1
        mercadante says:

        Although Barbara Schlick sounds a bit overly bright her vivacity and musicality can quickly win you over making the Jacobs recording with Larmore/Fink/Ragin/Hogmn the clear front runner even after two decades. The new Curtis with Lemeux/Gauvin/Basso is also excellent, and Gauvin is a much better Cleopatra than Schlick, but Lemieaux is a bit out of sorts, particularly in “Se in fiorito” , although she is impressive elsewhere. Either would be a satisfying choice.

    • 6.2
      LittleMasterMiles says:

      I quite like Minkowski’s recording, despite having mixed feelings about Marijana Mijanovic as Cesare. The rest of the cast is excellent, and the orchestra absolutely glows.

      If you’re looking for a video, I think the years-old DVD of the Met’s “new” production from Glyndebourne is the best option. You get Danielle DeNiese mugging instead of Dessay mugging.

      And for the third time in as many years the Met presents a “new” production that is in fact not only old (I understand that sometimes all houses rent productions from others), but already widely seen and much-discussed. I’m seldom one to prefer a DVD to a live performance, but if the strongest elements of this Giulio Cesare is the production, I’m not going to spend my time and money to see it again with two leads who are, at best, qualified successes.

      • 6.2.1
        shoegirl says:

        For me, the master performance is Larson, gall and Hunt (not yet lieberson) as directed by Sellars, on DVD. It’s not perfect, but Hunt’s Sesto is so moving for me, I still can’t see a Sesto quite in her class. Maybe my mind will be changed for me this week …