Thursday, July 03, 2008


Photo caption left to right: Ruben Drole, Liliana Nikiteanu, Malin Hartelius, Juliette Galstian and Ann Helen Moen.

How I love this Eurotrash Handel--especially the kind they do at the Zurich Opera! Our war isn't between Christians and Saracens--it's between two large corporations, one headed by the heroic CEO Rinaldo and the other by the evil sorceress Armida.

One especially nice thing is the fact that there are no countertenors--just lovely girls having fun in their drag outfits--sometimes in business suits and sometimes in urban guerilla outfits.

There is ballet work but no dancing. It's amazing how much more I like ballet without the dancing. There is an escalator which doesn't move, but the ballet go up and down on it like it did, creating the illusion of an escalator. There is kissing--anyone kisses anyone. There is pantomime kicking in usually imaginary balls.

Ruben Drole, baritone, the one lone male, is Argante, Armida's lover / flunky--we're not sure which. Or perhaps both.

All of this works because of the fabulous, gorgeous, bitchy, glorious Malin Hartelius as Armida. The singing was incredible, starting from the top with Juliette Galstian as Rinaldo and Ann Helen Moen as his girlfriend Almireno. I also like Liliana Nikiteanu who was having a lot of fun with her part.

I loved it.

Here is the official trailer.

In the past I have bitched about La Scintilla, the natural instruments orchestra at the Zurich Opera. The first time I heard them was in Giulio Cesare a few years ago, and I found them seriously out of tune and inaccurate. Things have improved a lot. I noticed Ada Pesch went twice around the orchestra helping some players tune their instruments.

In Rinaldo there was a lovely aria where a flute imitates a bird that was quite charming on the soprano recorder.

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