* Notes *
Händel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto opened for the first time in Seattle late last month. The production came from Florida Grand Opera and featured a great deal of dancing, choreographed by Donald Byrd. It was a bit loud and distracting at times. Paul Steinberg set had the effect of a pop-up book, rather flat and plenty of primary colors. The scribbles on some of the scenery reminded me of the painter Lilo Rinkens.
The singing was not particularly stunning. Everyone had far too much vibrato, especially for Baroque music. Alexandra Deshorties did not impress as Cleopatra, though she is rather pretty, her stage presence left something to be desired. Ewa Podleś was certainly not the most convincing Cesare, she is not terribly manly in her deportment. The role seems tasking for her, she was better as Erda at Seattle in 2005. Kristine Jepson at least looked boyish as Sesto Pompeo, but her voice was thin. Brian Asawa was a villainous Tolomeo and his voice was good. Helene Schneiderman was strongest as Cornelia, she both sang and acted well.
The orchestra, conducted by Gary Thor Wedow, did not seem to be together. The horn solo in "Va tacito e nascosto" was appallingly bad on the March 3rd performance. It sounded as if the person playing was being strangled, the notes were not just off-key but completely wrong.
* Tattling *
This was a very well-behaved audience. A few people fell asleep and snored, but other than that, there were no disturbances.