Archive for March, 2007

A chance for stage folks to say hello

Posted in crossover, netrebko, podcast, scotto on March 31, 2007 by lacieca

Leave it to La Cieca to offer added value to even so glittering a performance as Act Two of I Capuleti e i Montecchi starring Anna Netrebko, Daniela Barcelona and Joseph Calleja. Your doyenne makes her legitimate acting debut in a new episode of Apocryphal Opera Anecdote Theater in the demanding role of “Lady Capulet” in Romeo and Juliet. Unnatural Acts of Opera.



Posted in gay on March 30, 2007 by lacieca

These two gentlemen (Craig Ramsay and Timothy John Mandala) are among the players in Matthew Passion: A New Play (with music) by La Cieca’s erstwhile colleague Phil Hall. The show opens Monday, April 2, 2007 at 8:00 pm for a limited engagement.

Per the show’s press notes, “Matthew Passion tells the story of the passion of Christ; the story of Matthew Shepard being picked up at a bar in Laramie, Wyoming, beaten and left for dead on a hillside; and the story of a middle-aged HIV positive survivor who has outlived his life expectancy. Although the three stories take place in three different locations, and are thousands of years apart, they all reflect one another and converge in the final scene.”

Tickets for Matthew Passion (only $18!) are available through SmartTix: (212) 868-4444. Visit for more information.

Dignity returns to the NYC opera scene

Posted in diva, met on March 30, 2007 by lacieca

Who the hell is Margie HartOn April 17, Dame Kiri te Kanawa returns to the scene of… well, not a crime, actually, more like a triumph: that is, her surprise Met debut in Otello way back in 1974. No, she’s not singing, but on April 17 she will make a personal appearance at the Metropolitan Opera Shop, to greet her fans and sign CDs from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm.

The following day, the controversial Kiwi canary will grace this year’s Metropolitan Opera Guild Luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria. The alphabetical list of singers and other colleagues who are scheduled to honor the diva includes Licia Albanese, Martina Arroyo, Harry Bicket, Stephanie Blythe, Russell Braun, Lawrence Brownlee, Barbara Cook, Mignon Dunn, Barbara Frittoli, Massimo Giordano, Maria Guleghina, Marilyn Horne, James Morris, Regina Resnik, Julius Rudel, Beverly Sills, Risë Stevens, Ruth Ann Swenson, and Benita Valente. (Apparently Joann Yockey and Linda Zoghby had prior commitments.)

Mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade will do the vocal honors and the program will also include “rare” video clips of the honoree. Tickets to the Luncheon are $250 and $400.

Balcony box

Posted in bel canto, broadcast, cher public, diva, met, netrebko, podcast, sirius, villazon on March 29, 2007 by lacieca

Something new and interesting (La Cieca hopes) on Unnatural Acts of Opera: a 2004 concert performance of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, starring Anna Netrebko (Giulietta), Daniela Barcellona (Romeo) and Joseph Calleja (Tebaldo). Act One is the current podcast, with the second to follow on Friday.

Speaking of the lovely Miss Netrebko, she and Rolando Villazon will headline a gala celebrating 40th Anniversary of The Met at Lincoln Center next Tuesday. The concert will be webcast over the Met’s RealNetworks (and of course Sirius) beginning at 7:00 PM. Unfortunately, La Cieca has a prior commitment that night, but she is sure that you, her cher public, will want to chat about the gala here at As such, La Cieca is sending out request to you regulars for volunteers to host the web chat. (Quite simple, really: you’ll need only to be online and on the chat site beginning at 6:45 and continuing until the finish of the broadcast.) If you’re interested in helping out, email La Cieca at

Près des ramparts

Posted in crossover, youtube on March 28, 2007 by lacieca

Opening tonight at Manhattan’s Film Forum: U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha, a 2005 film adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen updated to the present and transplanted to an industrial community near Cape Town, South Africa. The score, somewhat abridged but otherwise not altered, is sung in the Xhosa language. The NYT’s reviewer isn’t completely bowled over by the film, but he does admit “the overall conception is so original that even when the movie falters in the moment, it dazzles in the memory.”

Higher and higher

Posted in bel canto, mp3 on March 27, 2007 by lacieca

On the recommendation of tipster La Malipasta, La Cieca presents a snippet or two from a January 14 performance of Meyerbeer’s Il crociato in Egitto at the Teatro Fenice. Heard in a duet from the first act of this rarity are two sopranos of differing genders, Michael Maniaci and Patrizia Ciofi.

Part One Ah non ti son piu cara

Part Two Non v’e per noi piu speme

Typography as destiny

Posted in critic, midgette, nyt on March 27, 2007 by lacieca

Don’t get La Cieca wrong: the whole “Opera and Technology” panel last Friday was fascinating. But probably the most interesting bit of information shared all night was done after the formalities were ended. Anne Midgette got to talking with JJ and a few others about the layout style of the New York Times Arts section, and La Cieca has to admit she never realized just how intricate the whole thing is.

Basically there are two kinds of pieces that run in the Arts section: reporting and opinion. “Opinion” includes both reviews and what back in my sob sister days we used to call “think” pieces. It turns out the Times style decrees a number of differences in how these two types of writing are set up.

“Reporting” pieces (like the one on the left, below) have a plain serif headline, a traditional byline directly below the hed, then a series of paragraphs with an even right margin. “Opinion” pieces (right) feature an italic headline, an inset byline without the word “by” and subhead “Music Review.” Paragraphs have a ragged right margin.

The meaning of all this? Maybe the Times is saying, “This review is only someone’s opinion, so it doesn’t need justification.”