In Act I, Scene 4 of Partenope, the rather shy Prince Armindo of Rhodes expresses his love for Queen Partenope, but she is, of course, not there to hear him.
Reviewers found San Francisco Opera's Partenope (Act III pictured left, photograph by Cory Weaver) delightful.
Julian Wachner (pictured left) is to conduct San Francisco Opera's Partenope, which runs from October 15 to November 2, 2014. He replaces British conductor Christian Curnyn, who has withdrawn from the production for personal reasons.
Here is the promised review from the Opernphrenologe. I must say that I'm quite jealous that she got to attend a performance of this production. However, I hear there is to be a DVD release, so at least there is that to look forward to.
* Notes *
The recent production of Händel's Partenope at Copenhagen's Royal Theatre was wonderful! No, really! It was really that good! I traveled all the way to Copenhagen for this one measly opera, and it was worth it.
Andreas Scholl as Arsace was so exceedingly funny! He had these marvelous comic facial expressions as he vacillated between two women. At one point, he crawls after the queen on his knees, then on his stomach, then he lifts his leg as if urinating. It was so silly! He made grunting sounds when the women abused him, and they were so utterly absurd that I kept on laughing aloud.
Then there was the Barbie doll of the queen. Armindo first fondles the Barbie doll as he sings about his true love for the queen. Later, Arsace got into what appeared to be a fist fight with the queen Barbie, and it seemed as if the Barbie was winning.
During the "fight scene", the two sides first played musical chairs, then rock-paper-scissors. Fight scenes are usually dumb in the opera, and I enjoyed how this one poked fun at itself!
As for the singing, Andreas Scholl (Arsace) was a bit weak at first but then sang beautifully. Inger Dam-Jensen (Partenope) and Christophe Dumaux (Armindo) were spectacularly good. Only Tuva Semmingsen (Rosmira) was not too good, but considering that she was too sick to sing and that some mysterious woman in black was singing for her in the orchestra pit, it is not that surprising. On the other hand, her acting was good.
Indeed, the opera cast has been plagued with the cold since opening night. When I saw it, Andreas Scholl had recovered but poor Tuva Semmingsen was in no shape to sing. According to some others, the opera director Francisco Negrin was the origin of the cold (according to himself in an interview). Very naughty, Mr. Negrin!
The stage was a simple rotating stage with what appeared to be tilework. I found it quite dull, until it rotated and exposed an octopus and seven fish, all done up in fake tilework. It was lovely! But that was it, it became boring after that.
During a discussion with some people with a Scholl Problem (tm), it was noted that Negrin made some hefty changes to Acts 2 and 3. The Arsace-Rosmira duet "E vuoi con dure tempre" from the 4th scene in Act 2 is missing, perhaps because Rosmira couldn't sing. Ormonte sings "La gloria in nobil alma" at the beginning of Act 3, which was originally sung by Emilio earlier in Act 2. When Arsace dreams, he is not awakened by Rosmira (this has been cut) but instead sings the terzetto in his sleep. It may be possible that Arsace's aria "Fatto è Amor un dio d'inferno" in Act 3 was also cut.
* Tattling *
The audience was reasonably well-behaved. In fact, they would probably tattle on me, since I kept on cackling with laughter (though I tried to be quiet, but is quiet shaking from laughter much better?). I suspect that there were a lot of nutty opera people there. The woman on my left talked about how she was going to travel to London to see Partenope performed there (with mezzo-sopranos, though, she discovered that I was a Scholl fan and looked down upon me I think). The woman on my right kept on clicking her eyeglasses and sighing. Perhaps she was bored. She also dropped things twice, with a loud clang.