Opera Chic is just back from la Scala where she just witnessed the premiere of Robert Carsen's staging of Haendel's "Alcina" (the old Opéra de Paris staging) where the loggione has mercilessly booed (at the end of Act I, then massively at the end of the opera) Patricia Petibon -- an underwhelming Morgana, OK, especially in Act I, but in Opera Chic's opinion not deserving of the fury unleashed on her by the peanut gallery (she took it quite proudly, smiling all the way through her exit from the wings -- that's an A for grace, at least: her singing was indeed problematic, as Opera Chic will explain in her review tomorrow).
Very weirdly, Robert Carsen, the director, got a few boos, also -- maybe for the frequent male nudity displayed on stage? Hard to say. The staging is not Carsen's best -- not sheer explosive genius as his Salome from Teatro Regio di Torino was last year, OK, but very few stagings can achieve that kind of awesomeness -- and there were a few moments that were really too static for Carsen's standards, but seriously, it's understandable that Petibon -- whose tiny, tiny, not particularly beautiful voice doesn't sound right for a theater as big as la Scala, she's probably more at home in smaller houses or, sadly, in the recording studio -- got booed. It's really quite strange that Carsen, of all people, a director whose talent is on a level not exactly seen many times in a Scala season (he's interesting even when he badly flunks a staging, and this isn't the case anyway), had to taste some of the loggione's crankiness.
Anja Harteros, as Alcina, started out very underwhelmingly in Act I -- she had OC worried that it would be a very, very long four hours -- but then recovered in Act II and ended very impressively (and she got applauded heartily at the end by the whole theater).
In Opera Chic's view the show was almost stolen by Monica Bacelli as Ruggiero -- maybe Opera Chic is lucky, but every time she witnessed a Bacelli performance, she always, always rocked.