I am more than happy to advertise opera chic by showing this picture from Clari. I once knew a guy who had a giant oil painting of a cow in his living room, so this seems quite plausible to me. We are asked to believe that Cecilia Bartoli is milking a cow.
Is that a wig, or has Cecilia lightened and cut her hair? If so, that is a first. Would it work for her to be a blond?
Sigh. If I hadn't spent so much money last month, I would have gone. The Zurich production of Clari seems to have been quite silly, virtually Monty Python-like in its silliness. There were not enough arias for Cecilia Bartoli as the title character, so more were interpolated, including the Willow song from Rossini's very serious Otello. One critic called it a failure. Others found it much ado about nothing. One thing we can be sure of: we will never hear it again. Except if it comes out on DVD. This entire style of opera is very seldom revived. We prefer that an opera clearly make up its mind--comedy or drama. This blogger has an audio clip.
According to one reliable source, Halevy composed 39 operas of which, by my semi-informed count, 20 were "opera comique" (most one- and two-act pieces) in the style later made famous by Offenbach (which interestingly featured Halevy's nephew as co-librettist). How sad that Zurich elected to present such a trifle when others of his oeuvre seemingly deserve re-exposure - notably those composed for the Paris Opera with libretti by Eugene Scribe. Even eliminating the two five-act giants ("La Reine de Chypre" and "Charles VI") that history tells us are masterful - and probably too expensive to mount these days - that leaves quite a few other works they could have done instead.
I would guess that Cecilia became interested in it because it was in Italian.
It is curious to note that Zurich revived it the following season. So there.
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