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L'incoronazione di Poppea, SV 308: Act I Scene 3: Signor, deh, non partire! (Poppea, Nerone)
Claudio Monteverdi, Pamela Lucciarini, Francesca Cassinari, Alena Dantcheva, José Maria Lo Monaco, Giovanni Caccamo, Emanuela Galli, Roberta Mameli, Ian Honeyman, Xenia Meijer, Makoto Sakurada, Raffaele Costantini, Andrea Favari, Mario Cecchetti, Romina Tomasoni, Claudio Cavina, La Venexiana
09:55
2
Armide, Act II, Scene 5: "Enfin, il est en ma puissance" (Armide)
Jean-Baptiste Lully, Collegium Vocale Gent, Philippe Herreweghe, Guillemette Laurens, La Chapelle Royale
05:22
3
A Woman Left Lonely
Janis Joplin
03:29
4
Massenet: Manon, Act 1 Scene 4: "Je suis encor tout étourdie" (Manon)
Jules Massenet, Angela Gheorghiu, Antonio Pappano, Orchestra of the Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie, Brussels
03:19
5
Don't Keep Me Waiting
Britney Spears
03:21
6
La traviata: Act I: Sempre libera
Giuseppe Verdi, Mercedes Capsir, Lionello Cecil, Carlo Galeffi, Ida Conti, Giuseppe Nessi, Salvatore Baccaloni, Aristide Baracchi, Natale Villa, Milan La Scala Chorus, Orchestra Del Teatro Alla Scala, Milano, Lorenzo Molajoli
03:38
7
You Know I'm No Good
Amy Winehouse
04:16
8
Hippolyte et Aricie / Act 3: Prélude.."Cruelle mère des amours"
Jean-Philippe Rameau, Bernarda Fink, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Marc Minkowski
05:57
9
Orfeo ed Euridice, Wq. 30 / Act 2: Dance Of The Furies
Christoph Willibald Gluck, Daniel Hope, Zurich Chamber Orchestra
04:03
10
Macbeth / Act 1: "Nel di della vittoria... Ambizioso spirto... Vieni! t'affreta!"
Giuseppe Verdi, Elena Suliotis, Orchestra Del Teatro Dell'Opera Di Roma, Oliviero de Fabritiis
09:31
11
Trust Me
Janis Joplin
03:15
12
Samson et Dalila: Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix
Camille Saint-Saëns, Angela Gheorghiu, Marco Armiliato, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
05:38
13
Dat's Love (Habanera) (from "Carmen Jones")
Marilyn Horne, LeVern Hutcherson, Pearl Bailey, Olga James, Brock Peters
03:42
14
Don Carlos, Act V: Tu che la vanita (Elisabetta)
Giuseppe Verdi, Montserrat Caballé, Carlo Maria Giulini, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
11:02
15
Seal It with a Kiss
Britney Spears
03:26
16
Circée: Air "Désirs, transports"
Henri Desmarets, Véronique Gens, Ensemble les Surprises, Louis-Noël Bestion de Camboulas
03:15
17
Unstoppable
Sia
03:37
18
Giulio Cesare in Egitto HWV 17 / Atto secondo: No. 27 Aria "Se pietà di me non senti"
George Frideric Handel, Tatiana Troyanos, Münchener Bach-Orchester, Karl Richter
10:20
19
L’incoronazione di Dario RV 719, Act III, Scene 2: Sentirò fra ramo e ramo (Statira)
Antonio Vivaldi, Sara Mingardo, Ottavio Dantone, Accademia Bizantina
05:23
20
Typical Male
Tina Turner
04:16
21
Médée, Act II, Scene 4: Ah ! Nos peines seront communes (Néris)
Luigi Cherubini, Karine Deshayes, Opera Fuoco, David Stern
08:36
22
Hérodiade: Ne me refuse pas
Jules Massenet, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Orchestre National De France, François Lis, Fabien Gabel
06:05
23
Hold It Against Me
Britney Spears
03:48
24
Götterdämmerung, WWV 86D: Brünhilde's Immolation Scene - Remastered
Richard Wagner, Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic
20:19
25
Die tote Stadt / Act 1: Glück, das mir verblieb (Mariettalied)
Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Renée Fleming, English Chamber Orchestra, Jeffrey Tate
05:59
26
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? - 2011
Amy Winehouse
04:22
27
Manon Lescaut (1997 - Remaster), Act IV: Sola, perduta, abbandonata (Manon/Des Grieux)
Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Maria Callas, Orchestra Del Teatro Alla Scala, Milano, Tullio Serafin, Orchestra Del Teatro Alla Scala Di Milan
05:12
28
Lili Marleen.
Marlene Dietrich
03:01
29
Lulu / Act 3: "Das ist der letzte Abend" - "Lulu! Mein Engel!" (Gräfin Geschwitz, Lulu, Jack)
Alban Berg, Teresa Stratas, Yvonne Minton, Franz Mazura, Orchestre de l'Opéra de Paris, Pierre Boulez
03:56
30
Salome: Ah, du wolltest mich nicht deinen Mund Küssen lassen [to end of opera]
Richard Strauss, Nina Stemme, Gerhard Siegel, Liora Grodnikaite, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Antonio Pappano, Orch.Of Royal Opera House Covent Garden
16:07

Femmes Fatales

The femme fatale... A classic figure in novels and operas or a macho fantasy? Circe, Dalila, Manon and Medea (to name but a few) have traversed our imagination for centuries. Ancient man (and bourgeois writers) expressed fear and passion for the ‘eternal feminine’ via La Traviata, Salome and Lulu in the 19th century. For contemporary life we have Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears and Tina Turner, adored as much as they’re sacrificed.

I would have liked to have known those early 20th century starlets who were fought over to the point of duels. Their lives were often similar to the parts they played. They were phenomena, sacred monsters. To represent the fatal Traviata, the Second Empire courtesan who devours fortunes, I chose the incredible Mercedes Capsir, who appeared as her on stage at the age of sixteen! Enjoy her stunning voice in this beautiful recording from 1921 .

We also have Lady Macbeth – Shakespeare’s criminal enabler – played by Elena Souliotis, a Greek diva who damaged her voice in trying to fly too close to the flame that was Maria Callas. Someone with quite a different level of stamina was Montserrat Caballé, who we hear here playing Elisabeth de Valois, caught in a fatal love triangle between Prince Carlos and his father, the dark Philip II of Spain. Passion would send them in turn to prison, to the convent, and to the grave.

In order to live independently, Carmen chose sexual liberation. In 1954, Otto Preminger made a swing remake with a diverse cast. In the 18th century, Manon Lescaut paid for her freedom by becoming a sex worker. Whilst Massenet imagined Lescaut as a bourgeois drawing room maid, Puccini brings tears to our eyes when, condemned to exile in the New World, she dies from loving her lover Des Grieux too much. It is the same destructive passion that the shooting stars of pop, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears and Tina Turner, proclaim. Four sublime voices, four firebrands in life. Some have survived the trials of success, others have not.

But let’s start with Poppea, who inspired Nero to do his worst. In the Baroque period, powerful women were witches and could transform themselves, much like Sia does today. Their beauty was a matter of fatal obsession and dying for love is a common theme. Circe is abandoned by Ulysses; Cleopatra is Julius Caesar’s temptress; Neris is poisoned by Medea; Delilah is a seductress; Phaedra is the incestuous mother who causes her stepson’s death in Rameau’s beautiful opera. All of them experience demonic devastation, Gluck-style.

There are also sacrificial virgins and sublime deviants. These are Herodias, Lily Marlen and Salome, and men like to consume them as they’re dying – under the knife of Jack the Ripper for Lulu (in an opera that includes the use of twelve-tone rows); at the stake, like Wagner’s impressive Brünnhilde; or in the paroxysms of orgasm for Richard Strauss.

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