Cher Public

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]

  • Baltsamic Vinaigrette

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

  • stignanispawn

    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.

    • Milady DeWinter

      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.

  • oedipe

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

    • Hippolyte

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

      • oedipe

        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

          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

            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.

  • pavel

    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.

  • pasavant

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

  • Satisfied

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

    • bassoprofundo

      Save your money and download one from the internet.

      • mercadante

        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.

    • LittleMasterMiles

      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.

      • shoegirl

        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 …