Giulio Cesare

Julius Caesar

The other night we saw  a live performance of Giulio Cesare from Paris. It was relayed to a small cinema in Pesaro. Well as usual Handel was magical and showed his genius as a composer.It was a pity that the Director/Designer felt unable to leave the piece alone and overlayed the work with a mismash of ideas and irrelevancies. Too many times the singers were placed in situations where a mass of supernumeries busied themselves in the background which distracted from the aria and the drama. 

It was interesting to me to see how the manners of Italian audiences have change little.In the 18th and 19th Centuries visitors from Britain regularly commented on the constant talking, the eating and the drinking that went on during a performance. Well now apart from the talking, the major distraction is the mobile phone,which under no circumstances can be turned off ( silent mode maybe).So throughout the performance one was conscious of the faint blue glow of  numerous small screens, whilst owners checked on the latest text from their friends.I wonder if this is so at La Scala?

Despite all this, the singers were excellent with exceptionally touching portraits of the roles of Cornelia and Sesto ( Varduhi Abrahamyan and Isabel Leonard) standing out in my mind. The star, Natalie Dessay, as Cleopatra was bit of a curates egg.When she sung and stood still, she was truly breath-taking but when obliged to move I felt that she ended up looking like a second rate pole-dancer at a disco. Not her fault maybe( the Director again?) but what may work in 19th Century repetoire doesn’t look so good in the early 18th.

 Next offering is the La Fanciulla del West.

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