Archive for June, 2007

Curiouser and curiouser

Posted in broadcast, diva, jones on June 30, 2007 by lacieca

Sempiternal soprano Gwyneth Jones creates a role in a world premiere later today! The veteran singing actress performs the role of the Queen of Hearts in Unsuk Chin‘s opera Alice in Wonderland, to an English-language libretto by David Henry Hwang after the novel by Lewis Carroll.

The production, conducted by Kent Nagano, will be broadcast live from the Bayerische Staatsoper at 1:30 p.m. New York time today over RealPlayer and Windows Media. (As always, La Cieca gets her latest scoops on all things internet radio from the indispensable OperaCast.)


Roman holiday

Posted in podcast, vienna, wagner on June 30, 2007 by lacieca

Unnatural Acts of Opera returns with yet another rarity, Wagner’s Rienzi in a performance from Vienna in 1997. Featured are Siegfried Jerusalem and Violeta Urmana, with Zubin Mehta wielding the baton. Unnatural Acts of Opera.

This is very bad news indeed

Posted in sad, sills on June 29, 2007 by lacieca

AP reports that Beverly Sills is “gravely ill with cancer.” Sills has always been very hands-on with her PR, so if she’s allowing this story to get out, I’m afraid she’s basically announcing that the end is very near. (If she’s not in control of the story, that’s not good news either: she’d have to be very sick indeed to let that happen.)

UPDATE: Sills’ long-time publicist Edgar Vincent has confirmed earlier reports of her illness.

Gia i biscotti adunansi

Posted in camp, crossover, historic desserts, parody, pbs, wigs, youtube on June 27, 2007 by lacieca

Tu che le vanita project

Posted in camp, crespin, diva, hacks, nycof, this diva looks like that diva, twaddle on June 26, 2007 by lacieca

La Cieca must first of all express how startled she is that this particular item didn’t appear first on NYC Opera Fanatic — after all, Lana Turner as Elisabetta in Don Carlo? Well, in fact, Miss Turner never did sing any Verdi, on- or off-stage (unlike her precursor Joan Crawford), but my goodness, doesn’t she just look the part?

It is only with slight disappointment that La Cieca notes that La Turner is not even pretending to be an opera singer here. It’s a moment from the beginning of the 1969 film The Big Cube, portraying Lana’s character, the celebrated stage actress Adriana Roman, performing one of her celebrated stage roles. (Now, that does seem like a missed opportunity, doesn’t it? I mean, with a name like “Adriana Roman,” why waste your time in legitimate theater?) Well, anyway, this little scena is only the beginning of a dramatic roller-coaster for Adriana/Lana. Before you know it, her stepdaughter’s skuzzy gigolo boyfriend (George Chakiris) will be spiking poor Lana’s sleeping pills with LSD in a sinister plot to drive the poor diva mad, mad I tell you.

Now, let’s see if La Cieca can remember why she brought all this up just at this particular moment. Oh, yes, now she has it. The Big Cube has just been released on DVD in a boxed set (like Proust!) fetchingly entitled Cult Camp Classics 2 – Women in Peril. The collection also includes our Joan’s theatrical swan song Trog and the echt women’s prison movie Caged.

Which reminds La Cieca: did you realize that an operatic version of Caged could be cast easily with the singers from Dialogues des Carmélites? (Mignon Dunn as Warden Ruth Benton? Lucine Amara as Matron Evelyn Harper? Régine Crespin as “Vice Queen” Elvira Powell?)

N’est-ce plus Manon?

Posted in dessay, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede on June 26, 2007 by lacieca

La Cieca hears that Natalie Dessay has walked out of the current Liceu production of Manon, leaving Inva Mula to sing the company’s new production of the Massenet opera. (Given the tight stagione scheduling, though, surely they will need another soprano to alternate.) Our insider whispers that la Dessay found Rolando Villazon (Des Grieux) something less than sympathique, in the sense of “it’s either him or me.”


Posted in critic, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede on June 19, 2007 by lacieca

La Cieca hears that Justin Davidson, classical music critic at Newsday for the past decade, is moving over to New York magazine, where he will take over reviewing duties from the departing Peter G. Davis. Davidson’s gig will also include writing about architecture.