Oh, the pain, the pain!

It looks like La Cieca spoke too soon. Dr. Jonathan Miller‘s 2004 announcement of his farewell to opera direction has turned out to be, like so much the good doctor says, a load of bullshit.

“England is obsessed with the cutting edge, the new thing, and if you’re as old as I am, you’re assumed to be dead – and actually made to be dead in the end. It’s too late for people to ask me. If they asked me now, it would be three or four years ahead. I’ll be 74 then and I won’t want to be sitting in hotel rooms, getting on aeroplanes, getting visas and putting my finger on to immigration officers’ testing boards,” Miller whinged in an interview with the Guardian Unlimited back then, adding that he would devote his declining years to the fabrication of metal sculpture.

But instead of turning junk into art, Miller has resumed directing opera, where he turns art into junk. Not that he enjoys the experience. Just now he’s blubbering to the New York Sun about how horribly the world treats him, a poor pathetic old man who is simply trying to eke out a living in a profession he’s been badmouthing nonstop for the past few decades: “”I wonder whether it is worth it any more . . . . I even have to pay my own hotel. It took three hours to get the papers I need to work here. And another seven hours flying here. And what do I get in return? The New York Times.”

Miller, you see, is miffed that the Times didn’t see fit to print a review of his production of Jenufa at last summer’s Glimmerglass Opera. Apparently it’s quite important to Miller that critics, whom he has called “parasitic invertebrates,” “midgets talking into a loudspeaker,” and “tsetse flies,” should shower him with attention.

But critics are hardly Dr. Miller’s only nemeses. In the course of 1300 words, he lashes out at Lillian Groag, Phyllida Lloyd, Nicholas Hynter, Cecilia Bartoli, James Levine, Peter Jonas and, especially, Anthony Minghella (whose Madama Butterfly, Miller snipes, “was like receiving a maple syrup enema.”) Miller then whets the appetite of audiences for his NYCO production of The Elixir of Love by calling Gaetano Donizetti a “talented typist.”

La Cieca predicts that Miller’s next career move will be a return to his chosen field of neuropsychology, where he will make history as the first ever self-diagnosed case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.


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