Handel – Tamerlano / Handel-Festspiele Halle, 2001 (2)

(Previous section here.)

Pushee is the only countertenor in this operation – the role of Tamorlano is sung by mezzo Monica Bacelli, sporting a false mustache. (I guess if you’re a mezzo or an alto, false mustaches are just one of those things you have to get used to. Does anyone know: do false mustaches come in little separate pieces, like one for each side, or is it generally one unit? Or does it depend on the mustache?)

Elisabeth Norberg-Schultz as Astaria was probably one of the weaker links in this. All of Astaria’s arias* seemed to go on for longer than they needed to – there wasn’t enough expression or variation in the singing to make them really interesting. She picked up a little as she went on, though, in the duets with Bajazet and Andronico and also in the “Cor di padre” aria in Act III, which was a little more intense and exciting than anything I had heard from her previously in the performance.

Anna Bonitatibus (Irene) gave an impression of more ease and expressiveness – and besides, there’s something about her voice that I just like. It has weight. I wish this part gave her more to do than scheme a little and lose her riding crop. Finally, the thing about Thomas Randle’s performance as Bajazet that really jumped out at me was how he made this part seem alive – there was a real naturalness to the singing and acting that I liked. However, as a whole, I don’t think this DVD is one to get super-excited about. It’s – well, it’s ok.  And the little option where you can have the score of the vocal parts overlaid on the screen is kind of cool. But while I was relieved that the person who broke into my house the other day and stole my computer did not take this DVD, my concern was more of a library fines issue than anything else.


Astaria’s Aria: a children’s book about opera? Or a children’s TV show, with puppets, about opera? Real opera stars could come on as guests.

6 thoughts on “Handel – Tamerlano / Handel-Festspiele Halle, 2001 (2)

  1. Tom Randle is demn fine, whether he is doing crazed terrorists (Death of Klinghoffer) or lithe leaping Oberon (Fairy Queen) or smoochy ambitious Lord Essex (Gloriana). He’s a “guaranteed to sell me a DVD” kind of singer.


  2. Interesting question about the false moustaches. Having some experience with false moustaches and beards I can tell that the most pro way of doing it is by glueing individual hairs (a special kind of wool is used for this – it has the right curl) to your face exactly as desired. However, for theatre and opera where you need to recreate the same look every night in a hurry you’d probably use whole pieces. Not too big pieces though, as you need to be able to move your face without them falling off. I also guess it depends on how naturalistic you want to get – sometimes I think they’re not trying very hard, just throwing on one of those funny curly black moustaches. A beard done the proper way with individual hairs can look great, but it tickles like hell and you get tiny little hairs everywhere, in your nostrils and mouth, which is probably not great for singing.


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