One more insane queen

It occurred to La Cieca that she might be well advised to listen (with her mind and with her ears?) listen to the music files she’s posting into her podcast “Unnatural Acts of Opera.” Not that there are technical problems with the source materials, oh, no, never that, but rather she thought she could start commenting in more detail on what is coming up in that day’s episode. You know, sort of the way that charming Robert Osborne does when he introduces the movies on TCM. (“When Joan tested for the part of Mildred she showed up in a little cotton housedress that she’d bought off the rack at Sears. Director Michael Curtiz took one look at her and snarled, ‘You and your damned Adrian shoulder pads!’ Then he ripped her dress from neck to hemline, only to discover — Joan’s shoulders were still there. They were real!”)

Now, where was I? Oh, oh yes, previewing the operas. Well, this morning La Cieca was riding into the city on the soon-to-be-trendy 7 train, Ipod earbuds firmly in place, and she got a major earful of Act 4 of Maria Tudor. That’s the Gomes opera, you know, about yet one more of those impossibly temperamental British queens, and, let me tell you, Maria is a Dementodiva dream role. Starring in this performance is the Brazilian soprano (and mainstay of the Vienna State Opera) Elaine Coehlo, who is, shall we say, not exactly shy about using chest voice for effect. (That’s her in the photo — as Salome.) It came as no surprise to La Cieca to hear that the soprano is a product of Leyla Gencer‘s studio, where apparently Coelho majored in glottal attack with a minor in baleful glares.

Amazing stuff, and it’s coming soon on “Unnatural Acts of Opera.” This week we finish off Il piccolo Marat (starring Virginia Zeani) and then on Friday night we’ll hear a brani scelti program, also featuring La Zeani. Next week…. no, not Maria Tudor, not quite yet. La Cieca thought first we should refresh the palate with something lighter and more delicate: Massenet’s Manon, with Montserrat Caballe in the title role.

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5 Responses to “One more insane queen”

  1. Chalkenteros Says:

    Did you catch Midgette’s review in the Times of Massenet’s one-act sequel, “Portrait de Manon,” at Glimmerglass? Unkind words. “It is full of wistful longing for its predecessor …”

    As for “Death in Venice,” Scott Chiba is not how I imagine Tadzio!

  2. This is going to date me, but I miss Milton Cross terribly for all kinds of reasons. He was a great storyteller on the Met Opera broadcasts and his synopsis before each act were models of compression. And his breathless descriptions of the gowns that the divas were wearing at the curtain calls with the audience screaming in the background were beyond compare. He was THE Opera Queen.

    Why not use him as a model?

  3. floridante2k Says:

    Just wanna give you kudos for all your “unnatural” podcast episode… They are better than some of the more dreary broadcast on the radio these days.. and every new epsode is eagerly awaited 🙂

  4. What a revelation the Zeani recordings have been! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! r

  5. I love Il Picolo Marat. The Met was going to do it but ended up doing Francesca di Rimini instead. Pity.

    Hmmm..Scott Chiba. No, not what I’d imagine Tadzio to be like either. The guy they had dancing Tadzio at the last production of DiV in San Francisco was wonderful. *Sigh* What a great opera, despite its flaws; I wish I’d been able to go to Glimmerglas–that’s a perfect size theatre to see/hear it at (I’d seen the Albert Herring there 15 years ago and it was wonderful).

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