Tag: Dumaux

Handel – Partenope / Royal Danish Opera 2008 (3)

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There is only one little puzzle that I have yet to work out about this production. The orb. It first appears as a bowling-ball sized golden ball that Partenope’s servant Ormonte hands to Rosmira when she is having misgivings about what she is doing at the end of Act I. (I should say, when at the end of Act I she is having misgivings about what she is doing. The scene does not rise to that level of meta-criticism.) He hands it to her as if she’s supposed to know what to do with it, or as if she ought to expect it. Rosmira takes it, and then gives it back.

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Handel – Partenope / Royal Danish Opera 2008 (2)

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Two things stood out to me about this performance. First of all, the production strikes what I would call an excellent balance between visuals and music – it’s interesting, but it’s never distracting (well, except for when two of the walls start closing in on Partenope in Act I as her servant Ormonte suggests that Emilio’s visit may not be about war alone; the sudden inward movement of the walls and Partenope’s startled look reminded me of nothing so much as the first Star Wars movie when they get stuck in the Death Star’s trash compactor. But this is one of those things that is more of an Earworm problem than a Danish National Opera problem.)

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Handel – Partenope / Royal Danish Opera 2008 (1)

partenopeHandel’s Partenope is not, as one might mistakenly guess from the DVD cover, about the various unpleasant things that can happen when you wear armor without a lining. Rather, it’s about Queen Partenope of Partenope, which later became known as Naples. (It sounds strange, but you could do that kind of thing back then. “This is my city! I am named Gretchen. The city shall be called . . . Gretchen. Until such time as we see fit to rename it something else, like Heidelberg or whatever.”)

Partenope (Inger Dam-Jensen) is a very attractive prospect, what with having her own city and all, and she has several suitors: Arsace (Andreas Scholl), Armindo (Christophe Dumaux) and Emilio (Bo Kristian Jensen). She starts out by loving Arsace, but there is a bit of a problem with this, because Arsace is in a Ruggiero-type situation, but without the excuse of having been literally enchanted. His girlfriend Rosmira (Tuva Semmingsen) soon arrives in hot pursuit, disguised as a young man, Eurimine, complete with the inevitable mustache. (Though I have to say, the mustache technicians at the Danish Opera know their trade. They managed to find one that really suits Semmingsen.)

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