Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This ought to have an effect on my reader stats! Renee Fleming as Ariadne

This is a very recent performance in Baden-Baden.

I'm not a Renee detractor per se, although I question some rep choices she has made over the years.  Even as a woman "of a certain age" she makes really glorious sounds.  In this video, my questions are about some of the apparently arbitrary acting movements ("OK, this is where I make the cross", "OK, this is where I turn back to the audience because I'm going to sing at them in a moment").  Usually that is not my experience with dear Renee's acting.

I will include some videos of other renowned Ariadnes, not for Renee-bashing--this is a bash-free blog--but for added insight.

Lisa della Casa, whose name is bandied about as another lyric Ariadne, not in the spinto/dramatic Ariadne mold (Berliner Philharmoniker, Alberto Erede):

And my beloved Debs.  No other info given by the YouTube poster:

The one so many hold up for comparison, Jessye Norman at the Met (James Levine, 1988):


Lucy said...

I'd missed the Ariadne stream; thanks for sharing this. I think Fleming is at her best in Strauss (or at least, I like her best in it.) The comparison with Ariadnes past is fascinating. It's been too long since I've heard the Sinopoli recording for me to guess whether the Voigt is taken from that or her "Obsessions" CD.

Anonymous said...

Lucy, If you are interested in seeing the entire performance, I believe it is available for free at medici.tv until May 24. It's well worth seeing.

Dr.B said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. She must have heard the one by ES. Ausgezeichnet.

Dr.B said...

I am curious about your comments about the blocking. You seem to actually be under the impression that the singer decides where they go. Which of course they don't. There's this guy called the director who decides that. Some of them are idiots, but they are in charge and can get quite nasty if you don't do what they say.

Taminophile said...

Thank you, Dr. B, for shedding light on the holy mysteries of opera production. In my innocence, I somehow thought that, between the actor, the director, and night watchman, someone might have an idea for why a cross or a turn is made, and might consider conveying that to the audience. The optimal approach might be through acting, although there are other methods available.

Carol said...

My impression watching the characterization is that she was overdoing everything, seemingly intentionally. I didn't get the same impression you did, though, about the telegraphing of movements. Just slight exaggerations.

She said in an interview that she still had trouble seeing Ariadne as much more than an archetype. And I think that's how she played her. I also got the same sense of exaggeration from everyone, so it may have been directorial intention overall.

I thought it was very risky for her, this kind of role. Very unusual, especially the campy humor moments. She probably wasn't entirely comfortable, but I really do think it was supposed to be overdone.

I thought she was great, actually, even though the production was problematic for me. I'm glad she decided to give this a try.

I do like a bigger voice like Voigt in it, generally.

Dr.B said...

I'm feeling crabby. Sorry. I do feel that Ariadne is not a fully developed character. This is possibly a logical place for park and bark.