Archive for April, 2006

I could go on singing ’til the cows come home

Posted in alagna, dessay, fleming, florez, gala, gelb, giordani, levine, met, nyco, pav, voigt on April 30, 2006 by lacieca

La Cieca has just learned the scheduled roster and repertoire for the Volpe Farewell Gala to be performed on Saturday, May 20 (and, if all this music stays in the show, part of May 21 as well.) Deborah Voigt will open the program with special material by Ben Moore, accompanied by Brian Zeger. The first of the James Levine stand-ins, Valery Gergiev, will then conduct selections from Ruslan and Ludmilla and Tannhaeuser. (Further baton duties for the evening are shared among Marco Armiliato, James Conlon, Plácido Domingo, Peter Schneider and Patrick Summers.)

The first operatic solo of the evening (“La speranza” from Semiramide) goes to Juan Diego Florez. Further highlights of the first half include a duet from L’italiana in Algeri (Ildar Abdrazakov, Olga Borodina), “O mio babbino caro” (Ruth Anne Swenson), “Una furtiva lagrima” (Ramon Vargas), “Ah non credea mirarti” (Natalie Dessay), the Count’s aria from Figaro (Dwayne Croft), “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” (Denyce Graves), “Tacea la notte” (Renee Fleming [!]), “Je vais mourir” from Les Troyens (Waltraud Meier), the Prize Song (Ben Heppner), and Marietta’s Lied (Kiri te Kanawa[!!]).

Frederica von Stade, Salvatore Licitra and Domingo (who sings, too!) will also perform a few songs in this segment, and after a “gala film” is shown, la Voigt will return to perform “Pace, pace.”

Susan Graham is first on after intermission with another Moore ditty, followed by Stephanie Blythe (“Ah, que j’aimes les militaires”), Thomas Hampson (Pierrot’s song from Die Tote Stadt), Samuel Ramey (Mephisto’s serenade from Faust), Dimitri Hvorostovsky and Rene Pape in arias from Don Carlo, and the double-barrelled mezzo excitement of Dolora Zajick‘s “O mon Fernand” and Ms. Meier’s Easter Hymn from Cavalleria.

Two numbers from Così fan tutte follow: “Ah guarda sorella” with Mmes. von Stade and te Kanawa, and “Soave sia il vento” with Fleming, Graham and Hampson. The baritone returns with Karita Mattila for selections from The Merry Widow, and then the audience will take a well-deserved bathroom break while the Met Ballet performs a jolly polka. (UPDATE: further clues suggest that this number will accompany an “open” scene change, so the audience will finally learn the meaning of all that yelling and banging that goes on while we sit in semidarkness for ten minutes at a stretch. It’s important that we see this now, because that spoilsport Peter Gelb has vowed to use some sort of voodoo “technology” to facilitate instantaneous scene changes, the way they do on Broadway, at the NYCO, in every European opera house, and, well, basically everywhere in the universe besides the Met.)

James Morris will then lead the Gods into Valhalla, and Susan Graham will bid us all farewell with “Parto, parto.” But wait, the show’s not over yet. In what might best be called the “TBA Segment,” we will (or perhaps will not) hear tenors Roberto Alagna and Marcello Giordani in arias from Cyrano de Bergerac and La gioconda respectively. The legendary Mirella Freni is penciled in for an aria from Alfano’s Risurezzione and a Puccini song, and then comes an item listed merely as “(34. L. Pavarotti).”

Returning to the scheduled program, Mattila, Heppner, Pape, Morris (and Matthew Polenzani) bring the curtain down with the finale to Fidelio under the baton of Maestro Schneider. At this point, La Cieca assumes, Rudy Giuliani will present Volpe with a plaque or something and perhaps make a joke about how he’s expecting Joe to be on time for work. And then The Beautiful Voice will be heard once more asking the musical question “When I Have Sung My Songs.”

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California dreaming

Posted in cher public, diva, san francisco on April 27, 2006 by lacieca

La Cieca, who only yesterday was perpendicular hanging from a cable car, has been annoying San Francisco natives this week by humming the immortal theme song of that city by the bay while strolling her streets. (That’s the Jeanette MacDonald song, not the Tony Bennett number, but that’s not the point here.) Providing a welcome break to the incessant “beat my feet up and down Market Street” was a visit to the Berkeley Opera’s production of a brand new musical theater piece, Chrysalis, with music by Clark Suprynowicz and libretto by John O’Keefe. In mood and style, it’s Lady in the Dark meets Trouble in Tahiti (smart and jazzy) with a Twilight Zone plot oncerning cosmetic surgery. Mezzo Buffy Baggott does a dazzling diva turn as a driven cosmetics CEO. Our publisher JJ will write about the piece in detail for musicalamerica.com early next week, but, in the meantime, La Cieca urges the Bay area segment of her cher public to jump on the BART train to the Berkeley Opera and take in this entertaining and thought-provovking new work. Remaining performances are Friday the 28th and Sunday the 30th.

Idomeneo Jacket

Posted in youtube on April 23, 2006 by lacieca

La Cieca’s on vacation this week, but here’s something to watch until she returns.

Princess Fire and Music

Posted in levine on April 21, 2006 by lacieca

“Not since Delia Rigal,” comments one of La Cieca’s regular correspondents, referring to the ongoing (not to mention inscrutable) publicity juggernaut for soprano Erika Sunnegårdh. Now she’s headlining a revised concert program for the Met Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on May 14. According to an “URGENT” press release sent out yesterday, La Sunnegårdh will be heard in three operatic excerpts by Puccini, Mozart and Wagner. Her assisting artists on the program, Ben Heppner and Rene Pape, each will sing two arias. Changes to the original roster for this concert include James Conlon substituting for James Levine, Giacomo Puccini for Johannes Brahms, and Piotr Illitch Tchaikowsky for Charles Wuorinen. That’s at a $155 top, by the way. See you there?

Envelope, please…

Posted in stephen costello on April 21, 2006 by lacieca

La Cieca has just learned that the winner of the 2006 Richard Tucker Award is tenor Lawrence Brownlee. Career Grants will go to Kate Aldrich (mezzo-soprano), Jordan Bisch (bass), Quinn Kelsey (baritone), Dimitri Pittas (tenor) and Gerald Thompson (countertenor). Sarah Tucker Study Grant winners include Stephen Costello, Ann McMahon Quintero and Trever Scheunemann.

"We’re your Verdi Girls"

Posted in aida, youtube on April 20, 2006 by lacieca

Yes, the opera is Aida, of course, but is La Cieca the only one who thinks these three should be singing “It’s Raining Men?”

Earring Magic Ben

Posted in Uncategorized on April 19, 2006 by lacieca

Oh, it’s been a lot of years since La Cieca’s days in the campy cabal. How long, you ask? So long that she plumb forgot the moment where Lohengrin hands Elsa the Cockring of Remembrance.

Dies Horn soll in Gefahr ihm Hilfe schenken,
in wildem Kampf dies Schwert ihm Sieg verleiht;
doch bei dem Ringe soll er mein gedenken . . .