Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
John F
Posts: 20545
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Post by John F » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:00 am

Looks like just the thing for Lenny and Sue Goran.

A Senate of Prostitutes? Now That’s Opera!
By CORINNA da FONSECA-WOLLHEIM
Published: March 8, 2013

Heliogabalus was a third-century teenage Roman emperor who dressed in women’s clothes and prostituted himself in the imperial palace, appointed an all-female senate and put a dancer in charge of the praetorian guard. According to the historian Lampridius, he traveled with 600 chariots “full of his male prostitutes, bawds, harlots and lusty partners in depravity” and referred to one blond charioteer, Hierocles, as his husband. He also married and divorced five women. When he was 18 and had ruled for nearly four years, he was murdered by his own guard.

The Box is a nightclub on the Lower East Side of Manhattan designed to look like a 19th-century vaudeville theater, where waitresses in skimpy white togas deliver Champagne bottles topped with fireworks to patrons who crowd around the small stage for live shows, which begin at 1:30 a.m. On a recent Sunday morning the lineup included a dancer dressed as a music-box ballerina who came to life after snorting cocaine from the blade of her winding key, an acrobat who lifted pieces of furniture with her teeth while stripping and masturbating, and a dancing vagina wielding a sparkly cardboard tongue. An aerialist in black stockings gyrated inside a large hoop suspended above the bar.

“It seems like a wholly appropriate setting,” said Neal Goren, the artistic director of Gotham Chamber Opera, in a recent telephone interview. “If Heliogabalus were alive today, he would either frequent the place or buy it.”

Mr. Goren’s company is putting on a production of Francesco Cavalli’s 1667 opera “Eliogabalo” about this most flamboyant of Roman emperors inside this most flamboyant of New York nightspots. Simon Hammerstein, owner of the Box and grandson of the lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, said he is always looking to create a theatrical experience “where, when the curtain goes down on an act, you have no idea what is coming up next.” Beginning on Friday — at the unusually early hour of 8 p.m. — that next thing is Baroque opera.

“Eliogabalo” is Cavalli’s last surviving work for the stage. He wrote it with his longtime librettist Aurelio Aureli for the Venetian carnival season of 1668. The plot focuses on the final stages of the emperor’s life, without any reference to his bisexuality. Instead, Cavalli’s Eliogabalo is a proto-Don Giovanni, whose rapacious sexual appetite threatens the opera’s two virtuous couples. In one scene the emperor, dressed in women’s clothes, addresses the prostitutes in his newly appointed senate and leads them in a game of blindfolded groping that is designed to determine their cabinet positions. The opera ends with Eliogabalo’s offstage murder and the felicitous reunion of the couples he had threatened to break up.

Little wonder, then, that Cavalli’s opera was never performed during his lifetime. (It received its first performance in 1999 in Crema, Italy, the composer’s birthplace.) Ellen Rosand, a professor of music at Yale and a specialist in early Venetian opera, said that contemporary audiences would have understood it as an indictment of the corruption of Venice’s own senate.

“I think that was something you could not make fun of in Venice,” Ms. Rosand said, “because their senate was their pride and joy, and there was a large participation of the populace in it.”

Mauro Calcagno, an associate professor of music at Stony Brook University, who prepared the critical edition of “Eliogabalo” used by Gotham Chamber Opera, traces the censorship back to the owners of the theater for which Cavalli worked, the brothers Giovanni Carlo and Vincenzo Grimani, two teenage noblemen. (In 1642, when it was owned by their uncle, Giovanni Grimani, their theater, Santi Giovanni e Paolo, had hosted the premiere of Monteverdi’s “Incoronazione di Poppea.” ) Mr. Calcagno said he suspects that it was their last-minute intervention that led to Cavalli’s dismissal; the firing of the theater’s impresario, Marco Faustini; and the hasty rewriting of the libretto. “Eliogabalo” was staged in 1668 with new music by Giovanni Antonio Boretti, a 27-year-old Roman composer, and a plot with a drastically shortened and sanitized senate scene and a new ending, in which the emperor survives the assassination attempt by the guard, repents and continues to rule with the help of virtuous counsel.

“There was the practice of the broglio at the period, of selling political appointments for money,” Mr. Calcagno said. “For the Venetians to see that, to see senators as prostitutes, especially for the Grimani family, it was too much. To modern audiences, he added, the opera’s appeal lies in the way the sexual and the political mix, and in the resulting psychological turmoil.

“Cavalli writes wonderful music for these couples who are under this constant threat of rape, finding themselves in the opportunity of being close to this powerful guy,” Mr. Calcagno said. “You can really hear what it is like to be under that kind of harassment.”

Musically Cavalli’s “Eliogabalo” belongs to a tradition of recitative-heavy music drama that was then already falling out of fashion. That factor too, Ms. Rosand said, might have led to Cavalli’s replacement by a younger composer who wrote a greater number of fashionable arias into the score. And questions of vice and virtue aside, the opera’s sardonic view of history might have rankled not just noblemen but the wider audience of fun-seeking Venetians.

“In other Venetian operas the comedy is there for delight,” Ms. Rosand said, “and this is perverted. It’s like an anticarnival.”

A perfect fit for the Box, then, where live acts test the balance between the titillating and the repulsive. Gotham Chamber Opera’s production of “Eliogabalo,” directed by James Marvel and conducted by Grant Herreid, will use one of the Box’s aerialists to impersonate an ominous owl. Audience members will be greeted by a live D.J. and a dance performance by members of Company XIV, which its choreographer, Austin McCormick, describes as “androgenous Baroque burlesque.”

The costumes, designed by Mattie Ullrich, will, Mr. Goren said, be “amazing and very sexy.” “It’s sort of David Bowie with ancient Imperial Roman overtones,” he added. “It’s not a toga production. It’s sexy glam rock.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/arts/ ... e-box.html
John Francis

lennygoran
Posts: 14656
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Post by lennygoran » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:15 am

John F wrote:Looks like just the thing for Lenny and Sue Goran.
:) :) :) Got a flyer on that a few weeks ago and in general we've had good experiences at the Gotham Opera including that wonderful Haydn at the Haydn Planetarium! :) However after reading the description it provided we decided to pass on this one. Too bad--I was thinking GOREN might replace my friend Gelb soon but I'm afraid it will now have to be GORAN! Regards, Len [on the run]

Modernistfan
Posts: 1785
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 5:23 pm

Re: Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Post by Modernistfan » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:56 pm

The late Hans Werner Henze wrote a tone poem (I realize that this term is somewhat old-fashioned in the context of a work written in the latter half of the twentieth century, but it fits here) entitled "Heliogabalus Imperator" inspired by the cross-dressing Roman emperor. I have been waiting for years for a recording to surface. Supposedly, Oliver Knussen recorded it and the Henze Eighth Symphony for Deutsche Grammophon nearly a decade ago, but the recordings have never been issued. There have been several recordings of the Eighth Sympohny, but none of "Heliogabalus Imperator." Hopefully, Wergo, which has been working its way slowly through the Henze ouvre, will eventually get to it.

Modernistfan
Posts: 1785
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 5:23 pm

Re: Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Post by Modernistfan » Fri Mar 29, 2019 8:41 am

Well, Wergo has in fact gotten to it! The most recent new releases on the JPC website lists a recording by Oliver Knussen of "Heliogabalus Imperator," the Fantasy for Orchestra "Los Caprichos," "Englische Liebeslieder" for Cello & Orchestra, and "​Ouvertüre zu einem Theater" with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. I shall definitely get this. (JPC lists a date of 2018, so I don't know if any of these recordings were originally made for Deutsche Grammophon; if that date is correct, they were not.) The solo cellist in the ​"Englische Liebeslieder" is the excellent Finnish cellist Anssi Karttunen (whose playing is not at all cartoonish).

Belle
Posts: 1839
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Post by Belle » Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:59 am

"Sexy glam rock". Pass. I admire the work of Cavalli.

If some people don't think HIP is legitimate, watch this hilarious damp squib of a performance of an opera by Cavalli:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZToJPUxEz4

jserraglio
Posts: 5393
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Post by jserraglio » Sat Mar 30, 2019 6:23 am

Belle wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:59 am
"Sexy glam rock". Pass. I admire the work of Cavalli.

If some people don't think HIP is legitimate, watch this hilarious damp squib of a performance of an opera by Cavalli:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZToJPUxEz4
That Calisto was my first Cavalli and it's damn well arranged and sung:

Image

Belle
Posts: 1839
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Post by Belle » Sat Mar 30, 2019 6:46 am

Sure; but nothing really like it would have been performed and heard at the time. It would have sounded much closer to this (though this is not the same work as the thread title):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-FsVkmaQtw

And this little sequence with the dancing bear:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfpLDQe6rQw

jserraglio
Posts: 5393
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Post by jserraglio » Sat Mar 30, 2019 7:18 am

Yes, but this guy ain't tossin' Raymond Leppard, Janet Baker, Ileana Cotrubas and Hugues Cuénod just because. This (with the Wenzinger/Wunderlich L'Orfeo) was the record that started me off buying as much "Early Music" as I could lay me grubby hands on.

lennygoran
Posts: 14656
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Post by lennygoran » Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:37 am

I looked up Gotham Opera and see it closed-they did quite a few operas-we saw some that were quite entertaining.

"About Gotham Chamber Opera

Gotham Chamber Opera was the nation’s leading opera company dedicated to vibrant, fully staged productions of works intended for intimate venues from 2001-2015. Its high quality presentations of small-scale rarities from the Baroque era to the present earned Gotham an international reputation and unanimous critical praise. Moreover, Gotham Chamber Opera is credited with legitimizing and popularizing the hitherto deprecated genre of chamber opera throughout the world.

Founded by conductor and Artistic Director Neal Goren, Gotham debuted in 2001 (as Henry Street Chamber Opera) with the American premiere of Mozart’s Il sogno di Scipione. In subsequent seasons, Gotham produced many more local and world premieres, including such works as Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Milhaud’s Les Malheurs d’Orphee, Bohuslav Martinu’s Les Larmes du Couteau and Hlas Lesa, Sutermeister’s Die schwarze Spinne, Handel’s Arianna in Creta, Britten’s Albert Herring, and Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino. The company renamed itself Gotham Chamber opera and became an independent 501(c)3 organization in 2003.

Gotham partnered with notable New York and national institutions, including Lincoln Center Festival and Spoleto USA for the 2005 production of Respighi’s La bella dormente nel bosco; the Morgan Library and Museum for Scenes of Gypsy Life (an evening of song cycles by Janáček and Dvořák) in 2008; and the American Museum of Natural History and the American Repertory Theater for 2010’s production of Hadyn’s Il mondo della luna. That production featured lunar exploration video developed by the Museum and NASA and broadcast on the Hayden Planetarium’s 180-degree dome.

Gotham earned a reputation for showcasing outstanding young singers alongside established directors and choreographers such as Mark Morris (the 2009 production of Hadyn’s L’isola disabitata), David Parsons (the New York stage premiere of Astor Piazzola’s tango opera, María di Buenos Aires), Karole Armitage (the world premiere of Ariadne Unhinged), Basil Twist (La bella), Christopher Alden (Scipione and Arianna in Creta), and Diane Paulus (Il mondo). In October 2010, Gotham partnered with director Moisés Kaufmann and his company, Tectonic Theater Project, to co-produce the first United States stage performances of Xavier Montsalvatge’s El Gato con Botas, at the New Victory Theater.

For the 2011-2012 season, Gotham celebrated its tenth anniversary with the world premiere of Dark Sisters, by Nico Muhly, and a revival of its first production, Mozart’s Il sogno di Scipione. Moving into its second decade in 2013, Gotham presented a sold-out run of Cavalli’s Eliogabalo at The Box and two performances of Daniel Catán’s La Hija di Rappaccini (Rappaccini’s Daughter) at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Cherry Esplanade. That production then toured to Los Angeles, where it was presented by the Broad Stage at the Greystone Manor in Beverly Hills. In the 2013/14 season, Gotham partnered with Trinity Church Wall Street to present the US stage premiere of La descente d’Orphée aux enfers by Charpentier and partnered with the Metropolitan Museum of Art to present Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda in the museum’s Bloomberg Arms and Armor Court along with the world premiere of Lembit Beecher’s I have no stories to tell you in the museum’s medieval court. The season closed with the United States premiere of Toshio Hosokowa’s The Raven, which featured celebrated dancer Alessandra Ferri, as the inaugural event of the New York Philharmonic Biennial. The 2014/15 season, which proved to be Gotham’s last, included a reprise of its 2010 production of El gato con botas and concluded with The Tempest Songbook, which juxtaposed songs of Henry Purcell with the United States premiere of songs by Kaija Saariaho, featuring the Martha Graham Dance Company.

Gotham Chamber Opera ceased operations in October 2015 at the height of its artistic success."


http://www.gothamchamberopera.org/production/listing

maestrob
Posts: 6164
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Post by maestrob » Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:19 am

I had a feeling they weren't around anymore. Producing opera in NYC is now hideously expensive, and fundraising comes up short every time. Ticket prices barely cover 1/3 of the cost, and that's if you sell out. NYC offers only minimal support, barely enough to cover the cost of a sound system in Central Park: I have no idea what, if anything, is offered to smaller companies. All the large donor money is now pouring down the fiscal black hole which is the MET.

Music education is the key. Bring back the arts to our school systems!

Belle
Posts: 1839
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Post by Belle » Sat Mar 30, 2019 3:38 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 7:18 am
Yes, but this guy ain't tossin' Raymond Leppard, Janet Baker, Ileana Cotrubas and Hugues Cuénod just because. This (with the Wenzinger/Wunderlich L'Orfeo) was the record that started me off buying as much "Early Music" as I could lay me grubby hands on.
Fair enough!

lennygoran
Posts: 14656
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Post by lennygoran » Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:36 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:19 am
Bring back the arts to our school systems!
Brian completely agree! Regards, Len

Modernistfan
Posts: 1785
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 5:23 pm

Re: Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Post by Modernistfan » Wed May 01, 2019 12:41 pm

Well, since this discussion was launched, I have been trying to find a recording of Cavalli's "Eliogabalo," about the cross-dressing Roman emperor. I finally found one on Amazon Italy, on the very obscure Recording Arts label, conducted by Roberto Solci. This is a 1999 digital recording. (If you are looking for this on other Amazon sites, watch out--some recordings that were identified as this opera were in fact not, but were songs by the French popular singer Charles Trenet. I cannot explain the mix-up, except that the label on which the Trenet recordings appeared and the Recording Arts label may be somehow related.)
I shall order the recording of Henze's Heliogabalus Imperator as soon as it shows up at Presto Classical or Amazon.

Modernistfan
Posts: 1785
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 5:23 pm

Re: Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Post by Modernistfan » Fri May 03, 2019 12:37 pm

Back to the Hans Werner Henze "Heliogabalus Imperator": According to the Naxos Direct website (Naxos is now the United States distributor for Wergo), this is to be released on June 14, 2019 in the United States. I also got and listed to the Cavalli opera "Eliogabalo"; it is definitely worth an occasional listen, but I really can hardly wait to hear the Henze.

barney
Posts: 3136
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Post by barney » Fri May 03, 2019 9:37 pm

That Baker-Cotrubas-Bopwman-Cuenod-Leppard Calisto has just been re-released on the ultra-budget Australian label Decca Eloquence. It is sitting on my desk still in its cellophane. Also released was L'Ormindo,another Cavalli opera, also conducted by Leppard.

Modernistfan
Posts: 1785
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 5:23 pm

Re: Cavalli: Eliogabalo

Post by Modernistfan » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:47 am

Well, I finally got the Henze "Heliogabalus Imperator" from Presto Classical in England and listened to it this morning. What a spectacular piece! Henze throws everything but the kitchen sink into that work (and the kitchen sink may well have been in it with the percussion).

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 21 guests