PDA

View Full Version : X-Rated Nudity on Stage ...



HarpsichordConcerto
April 16th, 2012, 11:47 AM
... oh the shame! Post your clips. :tears_of_joy: :adoration:


Preview at about 0:40

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ox6bP5QynCk

Vulgar. Puke.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhHU56_nfrI&feature=related

MAuer
April 16th, 2012, 12:34 PM
If it makes sense within the context of the opera's plot and the singer(s) has/have no problem with it, then it doesn't bother me.

Schigolch
April 16th, 2012, 01:16 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kL1JNzJwS3Y

Aksel
April 16th, 2012, 03:55 PM
I have no objections to nudity in an opera production (or in general, really), but it has to have a good reason behind it.

And I don't see what the big deal with the Ercole clip is. Sure, he's naked, but apart from the generally rather heavy-handed symbolism surrounding the whole show (which is sort of justifiable as well), I kind of understand why they've done it. Hercules does appear rather naked in most depictions.

AnaMendoza
April 16th, 2012, 04:13 PM
Think for a moment of what the auditions must have been like. "Nice voice, okay, now drop your pants."


I have no objections to nudity in an opera production (or in general, really), but it has to have a good reason behind it.

And I don't see what the big deal with the Ercole clip is. Sure, he's naked, but apart from the generally rather heavy-handed symbolism surrounding the whole show (which is sort of justifiable as well), I kind of understand why they've done it. Hercules does appear rather naked in most depictions.

Amfortas
April 16th, 2012, 04:27 PM
Think for a moment of what the auditions must have been like. "Nice voice, okay, now drop your pants."

If I had a nickel for every time . . .

Oh, the memories.

Aramis
April 16th, 2012, 04:54 PM
I have no objections to nudity in an opera production (or in general, really)

What do you mean: in general? Do you accept all those perverts who get undressed before going to take a shower?

On the side note, I saw no nudity in 1st video HC posted, good thing I'm appointed with oculist next month.

Soave_Fanciulla
April 16th, 2012, 07:54 PM
Think for a moment of what the auditions must have been like. "Nice voice, okay, now drop your pants."

I think the problem with Zachary Stains in Ercole was that they looked at the body first and just took whatever voice was accompanying it and it's not very pretty.

Aksel
April 16th, 2012, 08:46 PM
I think the problem with Zachary Stains in Ercole was that they looked at the body first and just took whatever voice was accompanying it and it's not very pretty.

Very true.

CountessAdele
April 16th, 2012, 10:49 PM
Let me pose a semi-related hypothetical question to all of you.

If you were an up and coming young singer who was offered a principal role in a top teir opera house, in which you had to be at least half naked, could you and would you do it?

Aramis
April 16th, 2012, 11:05 PM
If you were an up and coming young singer who was offered a principal role in a top teir opera house, in which you had to be at least half naked, could you and would you do it?

I would trick them by wearing tight custome all printed the way that it would make impression of being natural skin, with all accessories, from some distance it would look like I'm naked, then, during performance of my great aria I would take it off to the astonishment of the audience, revealing that under my own skin I'm dressed in full XVIth century (I would be Don Carlo) custome and then I would undress myself from it revealing that not only I wear historical custome under my skin but I also have another skin under it, I think it would be more than fine with contemporary stage directors.

Amfortas
April 17th, 2012, 01:38 AM
Let me pose a semi-related hypothetical [?????] question to all of you.

If you were an up and coming young singer who was offered a principal role in a top teir opera house, in which you had to be at least half naked, could you and would you do it?

First . . . Congratulations!

Second . . . Yes, absolutely.

Third . . . How do I get tickets?

CountessAdele
April 17th, 2012, 02:21 AM
First . . . Congratulations!

Second . . . Yes, absolutely.

Third . . . How do I get tickets?

Hhahaha woa woa woa, don't go getting any ideas now, this was strictly hypothetical!

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
April 17th, 2012, 02:23 AM
There are some striking productions preserved on video with nudity, that I liked quite a lot:
- La Fenice's production of Thaïs (the dancers were nude, not the singer)
- Alcina with Naglestad
- Lulu with Petibon
- And of course, various Salomes, with for example Karita Mattila, or Maria Ewing.
What can I say, these were all beautiful women with beautiful bodies, and I can't say I didn't enjoy these productions. As a straight man, the vision of those naked bodies was enticing for me, it's undeniable.

All four operas however deal with sex. Therefore, nudity wasn't out of context.

While I'll not complain or feel offended by the presence of beautiful nude bodies in an opera, I do admit to the fact that if an opera that isn't about sex has nude characters or extras for the exclusive sake of titillation or shocking value such as we often see in some Regie productions, it's a lot less artistically valid, and I perfectly understand why it might displease some members of the audience.

HarpsichordConcerto
April 17th, 2012, 04:57 AM
The other problem with the Vivaldi opera clip was that the rest of the stage didn't go with all that nudity. Why have columns of erect half-male organs? What did that do/add? There were just too much "penile" themes going on the stage. I'm not necessarily against nudity on stage per se. All in good taste. Vulgarity is not.

rgz
April 17th, 2012, 09:29 AM
I do have a production of Rigoletto that opens with nude bodies and (simulated) sex in abundance, will give production info if desired, just need to find which disc it is.

There's also a Hoffman where Patricia Petibon isn't nude per se, but ... well:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dG7n0g8mA0w

I'm not opposed to nudity / sexual content in opera productions as long as it is part of a viable interpretation by the stage director. If it's there just to titillate, then it crosses the line into tastelessness.


Let me pose a semi-related hypothetical question to all of you.

If you were an up and coming young singer who was offered a principal role in a top teir opera house, in which you had to be at least half naked, could you and would you do it?

I'd argue strenuously that the audience should be there to appreciate the music, which is difficult to accomplish as they gaze on my form with shock and horror.

AmericanGesamtkunstwerk
April 17th, 2012, 03:08 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOGZeuhCSEI&feature=related
around :40, but don't just skip to there the whole clip up to that point is COOL. despite being a huge fan of Harry Kupfer and contemporary opera I have not bought this yet.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOZieJJ7qXE
Calixto Bieito's Parsifal. tame and even pure here in the prelude, but that's a contrast to what I've heard about what he does with the (take a guess) flower maidens.

Also, there was a clip of a production of Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulysses in which the countertenor of the prologue got full frontal, and it was nothing short of MAGNIFICENT, one of my favorite opera clips in the history of youtube. the lighting is what did it, and the music spoke so much more than I usually get from Monteverdi. alas it has since been pulled from youtube.

AmericanGesamtkunstwerk
April 17th, 2012, 03:22 PM
about the idea in general, to me I have no objections. I do have principals of artistry.

but even if it is motivated by aesthetic rather than intellectual content, that still counts as artistry.

but think about an actor or actress on stage- there will be action, there will be movement. Therefore you will find a distinct difference between nudity of stage (or film) and nudity of painting. (Parsifal's Mother as told by Bieito may be an exception, that was rather painterly)

also: boobs rule.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
April 17th, 2012, 05:03 PM
I do have a production of Rigoletto that opens with nude bodies and (simulated) sex in abundance, will give production info if desired, just need to find which disc it is.

It's the one with Juan Diego Florez

Amfortas
April 17th, 2012, 05:53 PM
Hhahaha woa woa woa, don't go getting any ideas now, this was strictly hypothetical!

Story of my life. :(

Amfortas
April 17th, 2012, 05:57 PM
It's the one with Juan Diego Florez

Or David McVicar's Royal Opera House production, with Marcelo Alvarez presiding over a very sexually free-wheeling court.

rgz
April 17th, 2012, 06:25 PM
Or David McVicar's Royal Opera House production, with Marcelo Alvarez presiding over a very sexually free-wheeling court.

Yes, this is the one

Soave_Fanciulla
April 17th, 2012, 09:06 PM
The other problem with the Vivaldi opera clip was that the rest of the stage didn't go with all that nudity. Why have columns of erect half-male organs? What did that do/add? There were just too much "penile" themes going on the stage. I'm not necessarily against nudity on stage per se. All in good taste. Vulgarity is not.

While I thought that the symbolism of the broken penises in Ercole was rather heavy-handed, it had a place in representing the defeat of the male in the Amazons' world, which is threatened by the arrival of the naked and virile Ercole and his troups.

But I was pleased when Ercole finally put some pants on. Zachary Sstains is very beautiful but the stress of keeping my eyes above waist level was getting a bit much.

Soave_Fanciulla
April 17th, 2012, 09:09 PM
The most shocking nudity, and indeed scene, in opera for me, was the rape of the housekeeper in the Ventris/Westbroek DVD of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. It was graphic and disturbing and I take my hat off to the middle aged woman who agreed to do it.

Aramis
April 17th, 2012, 09:17 PM
I did read somewhere that Rossini had to change the leg thing to hand thing in La Cenerentola because lifting dress to reveal part of the leg on stage was risky at that time.

There is no decency anymore.

These are the things which are not to appear again in any of my operas:

- Nudity
- Half-nudity
- Third-nudity
- Quarter-nudity
- Semprini

Soave_Fanciulla
April 17th, 2012, 09:19 PM
Also, there was a clip of a production of Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulysses in which the countertenor of the prologue got full frontal, and it was nothing short of MAGNIFICENT, one of my favorite opera clips in the history of youtube. the lighting is what did it, and the music spoke so much more than I usually get from Monteverdi. alas it has since been pulled from youtube.

Yes, the singer was playing "Human Frailty", and his nakedness made him so vulnerable to the taunts and mockery of Time, Fortune, and Love, it was masterly.

This is the production, very good indeed:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514ZY2FJCSL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
April 17th, 2012, 10:41 PM
Yes, this is the one

The one I mentioned with Florez also has lots of nudity. There's also a Tannhäuser - the one with Waltraud as Venus - with lots of nudity in the Venusberg scene. Oh, the M22 collection has several operas with nudity.

CountessAdele
April 18th, 2012, 12:51 AM
I've got that Rigoletto dvd with Florez. I loaned it to cute guy who likes opera having totally forgotten that there was nudity in the begining. I didn't remember till he gave it back to me, and that was the first full opera he'd seen. Yeah, awkward then. Now it's funny. :D

Oh also when I took my brother to see the La Scala telecast of Don Giovanni with Mattei, there was spontanious nudity. I mean it was really out of nowhere, girl sits down fully clothed with her back to the audience, girl stands up completely naked and walks off stage. That was my brothers first full opera experience as well. Thank goodness my mom and I went to see The Barber of Seville!

Amfortas
April 18th, 2012, 04:44 PM
I've got that Rigoletto dvd with Florez. I loaned it to cute guy who likes opera having totally forgotten that there was nudity in the begining. I didn't remember till he gave it back to me, and that was the first full opera he'd seen. Yeah, awkward then. Now it's funny. :D

You've made him a fan for life!

Whether it's of opera or of *you* is another question . . .

MAuer
April 20th, 2012, 07:17 PM
The one I mentioned with Florez also has lots of nudity. There's also a Tannhäuser - the one with Waltraud as Venus - with lots of nudity in the Venusberg scene. Oh, the M22 collection has several operas with nudity.

Hmmm -- obviously not the version I have with Meier as Venus. There's no nudity in the Venusberg scene in this one -- just lots of folks costumed like creatures from some 1960s sci-fi film.

Meanwhile, Jonas Kaufmann is on record as saying that he doesn't object to nudity in opera in principle and might consider it himself. On the other hand, Anja Harteros (in an interview in the April issue of Opernwelt) says that taking her clothes off (in an opera staging) is the one thing she absolutely will not do. Of course, if she keeps cancelling appearances, she may not have to worry about it . . . :laugh4:

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
April 20th, 2012, 10:22 PM
Hmmm -- obviously not the version I have with Meier as Venus. There's no nudity in the Venusberg scene in this one -- just lots of folks costumed like creatures from some 1960s sci-fi film.

Meanwhile, Jonas Kaufmann is on record as saying that he doesn't object to nudity in opera in principle and might consider it himself. On the other hand, Anja Harteros (in an interview in the April issue of Opernwelt) says that taking her clothes off (in an opera staging) is the one thing she absolutely will not do. Of course, if she keeps cancelling appearances, she may not have to worry about it . . . :laugh4:

The Tannhäuser I mentioned is this one:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41QsbXcbepL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

If that's the one you have and you don't see any nudity, then it's a question of censorhip - this video was indeed released twice, I wonder if one of the versions had the nudity scenes edited out. My version definitely has lots of nude women, including, one who is being devoured by a crocodile!!!

Piotr Beczala in his interview with Opera Lively positioned himself in the ranks of those who hate nudity on the operatic stage.

MAuer
April 21st, 2012, 03:10 PM
I have the version from the Baden-Baden Festival, with Gambill in the title role, Nylund as Elisabeth, and Stephen Milling as the Landgrave. No nudity, just lots of bizarre costumes (like the minnesingers got up to look like Liberace clones).

AmericanGesamtkunstwerk
April 21st, 2012, 07:19 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPILi6znJTE

Did anybody notice the inspired and glorious Kundry costume in this clip?
:ohmy::ohmy::ohmy::ohmy::ohmy: (thankgodforthis)

Nekrotzar
June 19th, 2012, 11:56 AM
I like these Rhinemaidens:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MrDuWYV6rM&feature

CountessAdele
June 19th, 2012, 04:02 PM
:scared2: I don't think I could ever stand onstage in front of hundreds of people, completely naked, and be relaxed enough to sing mary had a little lamb, let alone an opera aria. Whether you approve of the artistic decision or not, you have to admit, those singers are brave.

Amfortas
June 19th, 2012, 04:17 PM
:scared2: I don't think I could ever stand onstage in front of hundreds of people, completely naked, and be relaxed enough to sing mary had a little lamb, let alone an opera aria.

You just have to work up to it in stages, Countess.

Let us know how we can help.

Arsamatora
July 25th, 2016, 01:40 PM
Actually, the phallic columns are called Herma, which were common in ancient Greece. There were used to mark country borders, were symbol of security and were also placed at the crossing of roads. Added to the fact that they refer to Hermes, the god of travelers, I think the parallel with that scene is quite obvious.
Also, Hercules was always depicted, during antiquity, nude, wearing only the skin of the Nemean lion that he killed, symbolizing pure virility. The male figure is opposed to the female Amazon.
Phallic symbols were not shocking in ancient Greece. I understand that it can make you uncomfortable, but I don’t think it’s “a shame” or vulgar. Everything as its purpose.
Ps: English is not my mother tongue, I’m sorry if there are some mistakes.

Festat
July 25th, 2016, 01:51 PM
My only issue with that Ercole is that I wish it had a better singer in the title role than Zachary Stains.

Soave_Fanciulla
July 25th, 2016, 07:05 PM
My only issue with that Ercole is that I wish it had a better singer in the title role than Zachary Stains.

A shining example of someone chosen because he'd look good in nothing but a lion skin as opposed to being able to sing the role.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
July 26th, 2016, 12:18 AM
Actually, the phallic columns are called Herma, which were common in ancient Greece. There were used to mark country borders, were symbol of security and were also placed at the crossing of roads. Added to the fact that they refer to Hermes, the god of travelers, I think the parallel with that scene is quite obvious.
Also, Hercules was always depicted, during antiquity, nude, wearing only the skin of the Nemean lion that he killed, symbolizing pure virility. The male figure is opposed to the female Amazon.
Phallic symbols were not shocking in ancient Greece. I understand that it can make you uncomfortable, but I don’t think it’s “a shame” or vulgar. Everything as its purpose.
Ps: English is not my mother tongue, I’m sorry if there are some mistakes.
Interesting post. Welcome to Opera Lively. Your English is fine.

Hoffmann
July 27th, 2016, 06:43 PM
My only issue with that Ercole is that I wish it had a better singer in the title role than Zachary Stains.


My guess is that the company likely had to go with whoever was willing to sing the role naked, so would have had to settle for whatever voice they could land (and probably didn't have a lot of choices).

Nudity is, at best, a rarity in U.S. opera houses - none of the aforementioned productions were performed in the U.S. The sole exception would be Maria Ewing's Salome, which she did sing at the Kennedy Center, however, her nudity lasted all of 1/10 second, as the lighting was extinguished so precisely that any and all "assets" remained a mystery.

I was intrigued by the nudity in the Tristan und Isolde I saw at the Deutsche Oper. The first act had a totally naked (very beautiful, too) lady stroll across the stage and take the hand of what appeared to be 10 year old boy and continue to stroll across the stage and exit. I don't recall that this was in Wagner's otherwise explicit stage direction, so the point/symbolism was much too subtle for me to figure out.

Similarly, the totally naked fellow in the 2nd act just standing there until he started digging a hole that he ultimately disappeared into, made my mind start to wander: Are these supernumeraries paid at a higher scale than regular supers? And, who does the auditions and just how does the company advertise ("20-30 yr old male needed, must be willing to stand totally naked center stage for about 30 minutes without shriveling, no need to worry about your motivation").

Festat
July 28th, 2016, 12:32 AM
I recently worked on a documentary on live nude models (mostly for fine arts but also theater) and I can assure you: it is their calling. :laugh4:

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
July 28th, 2016, 11:10 AM
Nudity is, at best, a rarity in U.S. opera houses - none of the aforementioned productions were performed in the U.S. The sole exception would be Maria Ewing's Salome, which she did sing at the Kennedy Center, however, her nudity lasted all of 1/10 second, as the lighting was extinguished so precisely that any and all "assets" remained a mystery.

Yes, it's a rarity but your example wasn't the sole example. Karita Mattila also did a Salome at the Met in which all her "assets" (and I mean all, top and bottom, front and back), did not remain a mystery at all... and they were fine "assets" indeed. She repeated it in a revival several years later when those "assets" had suffered a little from natural aging, and this time she was significantly more discreet (but still allowed a brief display). Also, the recent Rigoletto at the Met updated to a Las Vegas setting had a brief topless scene by a pole dancer. Interesting enough, in the performance I attended in person the Met which has some stunning-looking young ladies in their ballet corps did not pick a particularly gifted lady for that brief scene. Regardless, even this very brief incidental scene apparently generated strong protests from the Met's conservative donor base.

Of course, this is nothing compared to what we see in Europe, like a recent Les Indes Galantes that has a full troupe of male and female dancers completely naked and present on stage under full lighting for long and recurring stretches. The Pelléas et Mélisande I just saw has a scene of both male and female frontal nudity, and the extremely erotic Così fan tutte production I saw there has a topless scene with some of the most shapely cough cough assets cough cough I've ever seen on stage.

Clayton
July 28th, 2016, 03:21 PM
:laugh4:

A complete account of productions in the US including nudity provided by Almaviva.

- - - Updated - - -

of course this is just a funny subject; Almaviva can probably give detailed accounts on most aspects of opera productions...

JohnGerald
July 28th, 2016, 07:10 PM
I am far from a prude ... FAR!

But in my little world, there are some things that are way more fun to do than watch others do.

Just sayin' :lightbulb:

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
July 28th, 2016, 08:35 PM
I am far from a prude ... FAR!

But in my little world, there are some things that are way more fun to do than watch others do.

Just sayin' :lightbulb:
Sure. That's why I *only* pay attention to these singers' vocal assets. I swear! :angel:
[fingers crossed behind my back]

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
July 28th, 2016, 08:46 PM
Canadian baritone Daniel Okulitch was nude in the LA Opera production of contemporary opera The Fly.

In 1998 a production of L'Orfeo by the NYCO featured several naked male and female dancers.

A recent production of Carmen at San Francisco Opera in May 2016, directed by the infamous Bieito, featured male nudity.

Nadja Michael (whose body is to die for) was naked in the recent Met production of Bluebeard's Castle (which I attended in person). A female dancer is naked in that production too, and the Met went through 200 candidates to select her.

I'm struggling to think of other examples in America in addition to the ones I've quoted before, and these additional one.

In Europe it's common place, of course.

Now, an interesting piece of information that will say something about human nature: I have access to some background stats as the administrator of this site, and this thread about nudity is the most clicked-on thread in all of Opera Lively, by visitors.

Speaking seriously about the topic, one needs to realize that nudity has always been a significant part of the arts, since the Greeks and the Romans, in paintings, sculpture, and so on. Opera is high art; opera makes reference to Greek mythology, to Roman gods, etc., etc. Nudity *is* a justified part of opera. The human body is beautiful and can ibe an artwork in itself. Opera is also *the* art form that deals with human emotions and desires, and the plots very frequently address love, passion, consensual sex, sexual violence, and everything that has to do with human sexuality.

So, yes, absolutely, opera must include nudity when it's called for.

I was talking about the very sensual Così fan tutte from the Aix-en-Provence festival, which not only has piping hot scenes with non-naked singers (who take the temperature way up without the need to disrobe, although sometimes they are scantily clad) but also a topless scene. Così *is* about seduction and sex. How can it be staged without putting these elements in play?

Barbara Hannigan and Patricia Petibon show a *lot* of skin in their performances as Lulu. Again, how can someone stage Lulu without prominently featuring sexuality?

So, I have nothing against nudity in such works.

When it is absolutely gratuitous, divorced of any context suggest by the libretto and the music, and only meant to titillate, increase the box office sales and invite controversy (there is no such thing as bad publicity), it becomes distracting and inappropriate.

As a heterosexual male who believes that the ladies are very exquisite and beautiful creatures, I won't exactly complain of a production with some gratuitously naked beautiful female dancers in scenes that have nothing to do with the libretto. But if I let go of that cough cough appreciation and down my critic/reviewer hat, I might find that the director's solution is not particularly successful.

But for operas like Alcina, Lulu, Salome, Così fan tutte? Yep, bring up the nudity. It's entirely appropriate.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
July 28th, 2016, 09:33 PM
For those who read French, this is an interesting paper on nudity in the opera and ballet of the Palais Garnier in Paris between 1830 and 1850, showing that the issue has been there forever: [clicky (http://rives.revues.org/2373)]

Amfortas
July 30th, 2016, 07:25 AM
I am far from a prude ... FAR!

But in my little world, there are some things that are way more fun to do than watch others do.

I like watching others do. It helps me remember how.

Soave_Fanciulla
July 30th, 2016, 07:35 AM
I like watching others do. It helps me remember how.

You made my evening.

Amfortas
July 30th, 2016, 07:42 AM
You made my evening.

Thanks! Been a while since I've heard that.