Archive for December, 2006

The Metropolitan Opera goes to the movies

Posted in met, youtube on December 31, 2006 by lacieca

Eighty years ago! This film was a part of the first “Vitaphone” presentation in New York in August 1926. Soprano Marion Talley was 19 years old and in the first season of her three-year Met career when this scene was filmed.


Headline of the year for 2006

Posted in la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede, la scala, world leaders dancing in underwear on December 29, 2006 by lacieca

“Opera that depicts Bush, Blair dancing in underwear is canceled.”

From the Associated Press.

And while we’re on the subject, the scene in question (from Robert Carsen‘s production of Candide, which will not be seen at La Scala in 2007.)

Roundhead roundup

Posted in critic, gcn, met, netrebko, tommasini on December 29, 2006 by lacieca

Five newspaper reviews are in for Anna Netrebko‘s Met Puritani, and the score stands at four postive, one mixed:

“With the smoky colorings and throbbing richness of her sumptuous voice, Ms. Netrebko was an unusually vulnerable Elvira. Bel Canto purists may find fault with her sometimes imprecise execution of coloratura runs and roulades. But I admired her way of treating florid passagework as organic extensions of an arching vocal line, not as a series of fast notes to be nailed with cool accuracy.” Anthony Tommasini, New York Times

“She has that bel canto gift of singing like a windswept lark on a bright day, and an acting style combining the natural with the daring.” Clive Barnes, New York Post

“Elvira should be beautiful; Netrebko is. Elvira should be so delicate of brain that the shock of being abandoned on her wedding day unhinges her completely. Netrebko raved gorgeously, but she also expertly controlled the whipping spray of notes and the rainbow colors of her voice. She proved herself a master of extreme opera, that volatile mixture of emotional distress and consummate technique. That’s what we need divas for.” Justin Davidson, Newsday

“And how about the mad scene, one of the greatest stretches in all bel canto opera? From Ms. Netrebko, it was an unshowy tour de force. What I mean is this: It was a tour de force, all right —but it had complete musical and theatrical poise. Ms. Netrebko displayed phenomenal control. And she was pathetic in the original sense — evoking great pity, sadness, and even wonder. This is simply a smart singer.” Jay Nordlinger, New York Sun

“She didn’t sing a false note, but she struck one. It was as if this charismatic performer, whose stage instincts are usually flawless, was overcompensating for the fact that she simply couldn’t conquer all the vocal challenges of one of the most demanding bel canto roles in the repertory.” Mike Silverman, Associated Press

Our publisher JJ hears the production on Saturday night; look for his review in Gay City News next week.

Bel canto lushinghier

Posted in 2012, barihunk, bel canto, damrau, dessay, diva, filth, fleming, florez, gala, gelb, gheorghiu, giordani, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede, levine, met, netrebko, villazon on December 28, 2006 by lacieca

La Cieca thought that now that Puritani has opened at the Met, it’s as good a time as any to review the company’s (rumored) bel canto plans for the next five years or so. Remember, everything in this life is uncertain, so please regard these “predictions” as the gossip they are.
Anyway, La Cieca hopes you’ll find plenty of fodder for discussion in the following grafs.

Next season (as you all know) opening night will be a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor starring Natalie Dessay. Sharing the role of Edgardo will be a trio of toothsome tenors: Marcello Giordani, Marcelo Alvarez and Giuseppe Filianoti. Further upping the hunk quotient will be Mariusz Kwiecien and John Relyea. The Mary Zimmerman production will be led (on opening night at least) by James Levine.

Per La Cieca’s sources, Mad Lucy will pay a couple of return visits in following seasons, first with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon in the fall of ’08, and then with Mlle. Dessay again sometime in 2010. Ze French diva gets the unusual honor of opening two new productions next season, the Lucia, of course, and then a new Fille du Regiment opposite puppylicious Juan Diego Florez.
JDF and Dessay reunite in the fall of 2008 for a new Sonnambula. The tenor will reprise his Tonio during the 2009-2010 season, this time with Diana Damrau as Marie. And that pairing will be repeated in the Met premiere of Rossini’s Le Comte Ory the following season.
Now, jumping back to 2009 again, that’s when the new production of Rossini’s Armida is skedded, featuring of course Renee Fleming and (among other tenors) Eric Cutler.
And then comes 2012, aka “The Year of the Jackpot,” when just possibly we will hear the Tudor Trifecta (Fleming, Netrebko and Angela Gheorghiu) as well as a new Giulliame Tell (presumably for Giordani) plus revivals of L’elisir (Netrebko, Florez, Kwiecien), L’italiana and Semiramide.
Oh, and for Druid fanciers, the outlook is not quite so rosy: a single revival of Norma next season with Dolora Zajick, Maria Guleghina and Franco Farina — or, as Mme. Vera Galupe-Borzkh might sum it up: “Can Belto, Can’t Belto and Can’t Canto.”


Posted in diva, youtube on December 27, 2006 by lacieca

Everyone’s favorite non-operatic diva Faye Dunaway reacts to the news of her “firing” by Andrew Lloyd Webber. (The show, of course, was Sunset Blvd., and the year was 1994. Miss Faye sued Lloyd Webber and eventually settled out of court for a reported $2 million.)

Cieca plays Criswell

Posted in 2011, 2012, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede, levine, met on December 27, 2006 by lacieca

This is the biggest limb La Cieca has ever gone out on:

Expect James Levine to make his official Met farewell at the end of the 2011-2012 season. (First hedge on this prediction: Levine will make occasional “guest” appearances with the Met after 2012.)

Remember, you heard it here first.

Soon and later

Posted in 2012, fleming, gheorghiu, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede, met, netrebko on December 26, 2006 by lacieca

UPDATE: Gregory Kunde is now listed on the Met’s site for the prima of Puritani.

La Cieca hears that Eric Cutler did not sing the dress rehearsal of Puritani (anyone there to confirm/deny?) and, though his name’s still on the Met’s site, he won’t go on for the prima Wednesday. Thoughts?

And the tittle-tattle about (of all things) the 2012 Met season continues to filter in. The latest: the Donizetti “Tudor cycle” shared amongst Angela Gheorghiu (Anna Bolena), Anna Netrebko (Maria Stuarda) and Renee Fleming (Roberto Devereux [??!!]). All that, plus new productions of Guilliame Tell and Rienzi. Or, on the other hand, Earth may collide with a giant comet, so hold off on locking in the dates quite yet.