Countertenor superstar Andreas Scholl has produced a very nice short film of interviews and rehearsal voyeurism. Scholl hosts a behind-the-scenes look at rehearsals for Handel's Partenope at the Danish Royal Theater. Even though they're brief, he gets some good insights into the work from both Music Director Lars Ulrik Mortensen and scenic designer Lous Désiré.
I suppose Scholl wanted to reach as wide an audience as possible with this, so everyone speaks English. Although you may have to turn the volume up a bit to hear all the rehearsal chatter.
(From il giornale della musica)
Scholl makes an interesting point about Handel possibly adapting to the new (for his day) style simply to satisfy the public. He ran his own company in London, and had to constantly struggle to turn a profit. Handel's fortunes went through many boom and bust cycles, and it was a tough scene. Sometimes the fad was for oratorios, sometimes for opera in the Italian style, sometimes it was something else entirely. Partenope was premiered at the King's Theatre, Haymarket, London, in 1730.
This was just a couple of years after Handel had to shut down the company he ran for about ten years, the Royal Academy of Music (no relation to today's RAM). He dissolved his company because everyone in London wanted to see John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, and similar works. So his response was to start a new Academy, and Partenope came along soon after. Small wonder he was trying to strike a new pose with the music.
So London has been a tough scene for almost 300 years. No wonder Daniele Gatti was looking for a break.
The short film is well worth watching. The short-haired brunette is Tuve Semmingsen and the blonde singer we see briefly is the Partenope, Ingrid Dam-Jensen. Also, it turns out that Scholl's doing three of these behind-the-scenes films, and he has a link to the first two on his own website. And is it just me, or does Scholl's speaking voice sound like a cross between Placido Domingo and Mandy Patinkin?
Danish radio station DR P2 will be broadcasting the performance live on October 11.