Opera Chic likes and doesn't like René Jacobs, that historically correct Belgian potato, a sweet man, a better countertenor than a conductor, a relentless nostalgic of museum-ready musical dogma who irritates us almost as much as the vinyl LP geeks who in 2008 still insist that CDs sound "flat", not to mention René is a staunch supporter of criminal endeavors such as slapping Sussmayer's recitativi in the middle of a Mozart opera (as if the Requiem wasn't enough bootleg Sussy-posing-as-Wolfie to last us for a lifetime). But oh does René have a long list of redeeming qualities: among them, his devotion to Alexandrina Pendatchanska, the dark-colored fearsome voice that lately haunts many of Opera Chic's favorite opera-listening moments (and who boasts a pretty bada$$, even if Flash-heavy, website).
Valladolid seems to have gone down extremely well already. OC has a weakness for Idomeneo because, even more than La Clemenza, it tends to be overlooked and not get fully recognized as a masterpiece, because obviously the splendor of the Mozart/DaPonte trilogy can be blinding at times, and we are all in love with that crazy bird-catcher Mozart himself loved so dearly.
But Idomeneo nevertheless soars; and it's nice to have la Pendatchanska in charge of that, this time.
Today's Corriere della Sera -- not online -- in a review under the headline "The Two Abbados Mesmerize Pesaro With Ermione" -- cheers Roberto Abbado's conducting of Rossini' Ermione at Rossini Opera Festival -- the awesome Pesaro musical institution -- the other night.
Conductor Roberto Abbado earns a "bravissimo" from Corriere's critic and his cousin Daniele Abbado (Claudio's son), the director, adds, in Corriere's words, "a pinch of madness" to the production. Ermione gets relocated to Weimar-era Berlin with a bonus -- a final "procession of masks, a chaotic, Dyonisian humanity". Propsicles to the lead, Sonia Ganassi, to Marianna Pizzolato and the unsinkable Gregory Kunde ("even if he has shown signs of fatigue towards the end", writes the paper).
Opera Chic -- a Rossini lover who could easily spend the rest of her life without going to see another Barbiere -- Marinuzzi's old veto still makes a lot of sense -- has a weakness for Rossini's opera seria, and it's really lame that such a genius of tragedy has been sentenced by Fate to be remembered as opera's silly funnyman -- it's a shame that many works, written in Italian, that gave scholars a better understanding of Rossini's opera seria achievements -- works, among others, by the essential Bruno Cagli and by Paolo Isotta -- have never been translated into English.
Anyway, patriotic as always, OC is happy to report that the USA answered to this Italian invasion of Rossini scholarship with an all-American heavy hitter -- thank heavens for our dear Uncle Philip Gossett aka Il Professore aka The Dark Knight Of The Critical Editions -- he's Cavaliere di Gran Croce of the Italian Republic, yo. His "Divas And Scholars" latest book is a constant -- as authoritative as it is massive -- presence on Opera Chic's desk, right next to her pile of magazines (the latest issues of Vogue Nippon and Russian Elle & vintage copies of Egoïste for reference), her framed portrait taken by Terry Richardson, her Pettinaroli personalized stationery and her MacBook Air.