First pic: Cecilia Bartoli grows a beard

May 26, 2017 by norman lebrecht


She’s playing Ariodante at Salzburg Whitsun Festival.

photos: Monika Ritterhaus/Salzburger Festspiele 

Suits you, sir!

Comments (14)

  1. NN says:

    She looks like a bad copy of Conchita Wurst…

    1. Ungeheuer says:

      Jackpot. I knew she resembled someone but couldn’t place who.

    2. Dougal Maguire says:

      Maybe she picked up hairy hands syndrome off Father Jack, if so she might have to go to St Clabbertt’s.

  2. Bruce says:

    Somehow the picture with the gown reminds me of Renee Fleming (?!).

    The one in armor looks really good!

    1. Derek says:


      You ARE naughty!

      ……but I see what you mean!

  3. bye bye says:

    I think it’s brilliant. Now to put some facial hair on Octavian and Cherubino.

    I never understood who decided that mature married women would fall in love with androgynous teens (which, imho, is more reflective of a middle age gay male fantasy than a straight woman’s desire).

    1. Jim says:

      Hmm, a bearded Octavian? Herr Baron may get a bit suspicious about the chambermaid…

  4. Radamisto says:

    Daft idea, Handel used the soprano castrato, Carestini, if he could not obtain one, he would have used a female lead without a beard Joyce Di Donato for Alan Curtis never used one. The baddie character Polinesso might suit a beard, though beards were out in the 18th century.

    1. Emma says:

      Mate it’s not always about the quest for period authenticity… What else is art for if not to break boundaries and challenge our perceptions? There’ll be a directorial concept behind this which we can’t really grasp from this short article. If all cultural endeavours subscribed to our mainstream tastes then life would be incredibly boring…

      1. Radamisto says:

        Madam, this is precisely why opera productions are so bad today. H v K hated opera producers he did it all himself, why must we have these daft productions. Bayreuth in 1951 started it all. When I attend the green hill I keep my eyes closed

      2. Sir Thomas Beecham says:

        Radamisto is spot on. Opera productions today are getting way too outrageous. Yes Ariodante should be sung by a man without any balls, far better than a bearded lady any day. It would certainly put a frisson to the role. The alternative would be for Cecilia to undergo gender reassignment, however her genotype at present would remain XX. From a cost angle the ball less option would make more economic sense! Maybe they still have one up at the Sistine chapel.

        1. Walter Sedlmayr says:

          Sir Thomas, post H v K Salzburg opera productions have certainly fallen in quality. You only have to read Wiener Zeitung and Die Presse. As you know H v K like to do it all himself. I would rather call in a surgeon and have all these opera producer lanced forthwith. H v K would probably want them all tied up in barbed wire and doused in gasoline.

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