Between the ENDLESS repeats, the idiotic gimmicks -- with loads of stupid anachronisms (WWII warships and BLIMPS!) -- and "countertenor overload," Peter Gelb's latest excursion into opera "updating" produced one of the most tiresome afternoons that I've experienced in a long time. Natalie Dessay, who, according to published reports and interviews, dotes on this sort of fluff, must be at least as much to blame for this load of nonsense as director David McVicar. Judging from her vocal lapses yesterday, Dessay is in the twilight of her career. She needs to perform a punishing role like this one like she needs to gargle with gravel! (Instead, I always will remember her fondly for her role in "Fille du Regiment" rather than in this Caesarian turkey.) Neither will I run to see the unexciting David Daniels again anytime soon. Pardon them, Maestro Händel, for they know not what they do!