26 April 2007

Re: the two faces of Cleopatra. Sieglinde knows you want her to say that Ruth Ann Swenson is a true custodian of bel baroque, while her alternate Danielle de Niese is the kind of soprano Peter Gelb daydreams of when he's not busy poring over daily box office receipts: a good enough voice of some sparkle, with a willingness to (over)dramatize, palpable charm, an apt physique and a knockout face--in short, an eminently packageable "theatrical" product. But Sieglinde won't. It's not her practice at all. (Right.) In fact, de Niese is a fine singer in her own right, and it's unfair to weave her budding career into the whole Gelb scandale. Sieglinde was, however, on her seat's edge the other night during much of Cleopatra's music, intently observing the "show", when she'd rather sit back and relax into the easing milk of baroque's simple beauty.