Bachtrack – June 2017

June 2017
By Kevin Wells

“But it was Jesse Blumberg who absconded with the laurels as the thieving con man Tracollo. Making his entrance disguised as a poor, pregnant, Polish beggar woman of uncertain age with a parched, nasal, Buoso Donati voice, he replies to Livietta’s challenges in a pidgin of Neapolitan dialect, standard Italian, and something vaguely recollected through the haze of a hangover. Their exchange quickly deteriorates into a “who’s on first” riot of misprision. His batty astrologer later talked nonsense with conviction and the interminable mock lament, “Ecco il povero Tracollo”, where he envisions his fate if handed over to the authorities, was a comic tour de force, amusing the audience but exasperating the other characters. Comparing his dancing at the end of a rope to the twitching and spasms of a strangled chicken was the last straw, sending the rest of the company grotesquely capering around the stage, executing the Baroque equivalent of the Funky Chicken.”

(Livietta e Tracollo at Boston Early Music Festival)