Archive for August, 2007

Bella è quell’ira, o vergine!

Posted in mp3, quiz, youtube on August 31, 2007 by lacieca

Wow! Who is this Odabella?

As several of you quick-witted commenters have divined, the mystery Odabella is none other than Eva Marton, who performed in Verdi’s Attila in 1972. As you watch this YouTube clip of the entire aria, thrill to la Marton’s precocious mastery of diva body language!


Where is style? Where is skill? Where is forethought?

Posted in camp, crossover, diva, drag, festoonery, scandale, schwul schwul schwul schwul schwul, this diva looks like that diva, vienna, youtube on August 30, 2007 by lacieca

Yes, another YouTube posting, but this one is something very special indeed. Legendary Zarah Leander is seen in a few moments from her 1975 triumph as Madame Armfelt in Das Lächeln einer Sommernacht (A Little Night Music) at the Theater an der Wien. La Leander also cavorts about a studio, lipsynching a medley of her hits with Les Boys. Once she lights up the cigarette, doesn’t she look exactly like Bette Davis doing a musical version of The Little Foxes?

Sheep may safely graze (or maybe not)

Posted in information wants to be free on August 30, 2007 by lacieca

There’s some bit of information that La Cieca’s missing in this story, or maybe it would be obvious to readers in the “This is Wiltshire Network.” But here goes. “Yet another” rural opera festival in Britain (this time, in “Somerly Park,” which is where La Cieca imagines the Maggie Smith character lives when she’s not sponging on her in-laws in Gosford Park) has been canceled due to renewed fears of “the foot and mouth crisis.”

Yes, yes, of course La Cieca knows that “foot and mouth” is an infectious disease of domesticated animals. What she misses is why people can’t go to an outdoor opera because of it. Anyway, here’s some of the story in question.

Marketing director for the [Somerly Park] estate, Rosalind Nott, said . . . “We’re stuffed but there’s nothing that we can do.

“We are hugely concerned about the number of people who will turn up on the night.”

She stressed that there are over 1,000 sheep on the site and that they are “all over the park”.

“When you have livestock you’ve got to protect them at the end of the day when we’ve got people arriving from all over the place.

“We all remember the last time it happened.”

. . . . A spokesman for The Garden Opera said: “Obviously we are disappointed with the cancellation given the work that has been put into the event but we understand the seriousness of the reasons for cancelling the event.”

Well, actually, that’s the problem: La Cieca really doesn’t remember the last time it happened and so she can’t quite grasp the seriousness of the reasons. Anyone care to explain to her what’s the danger here?

On a lighter note, devotees of high culture can rest easy that at least some of the events of the Romsey Show are going forward. Although the “display of sheep and cattle” is canceled (this La Cieca understands), Romsey Show secretary Annie Carder assures us that Wiltshire may still enjoy “the food show, helicopter displays, Titan the robot and, thanks to our president this year, Lawrie McMenemy, Saints in the Community coaching sessions.”

Hedge fund

Posted in cher public, nyt, wagner on August 30, 2007 by lacieca

Congratulations to NYT writer Michael Kimmelman, whose post-mortem on Katharina Wagner‘s Bayreuth Meistersinger contains a sentence that beats all world’s records for running, standing and equivocation:

The approach is not, in the abstract, without merit, Beckmesser having always seemed a proto-Jew to Wagner, awaiting modern redemption; the opera’s end comes across as the screed it always seemed.

La Cieca leaves it to her cher public to debate whatever ideas might be teased from this morass of weak passive voice; she’ll get the ball rolling by asking, “What exactly is a ‘proto-Jew’ and what qualities of the character of Beckmesser would tend to make him “seem” proto-Jewish?”

(More on Kimmelman’s column over at Sounds & Fury.)


Posted in youtube on August 29, 2007 by lacieca

1962: “Il compositore Joseph Kosma … ha composto un’opera con musica elettronica, rappresentata a Berlino, in cui viene cantato l’amore di una donna per un robot.” (Thanks to A7Sogno for sending this clip!)


Posted in crossover, diva, mp3 on August 28, 2007 by lacieca

That utterly addictive web presence Vinyl Divas has just updated their fascinating, wide-ranging collection of operatic LP covers with high-quality scans of albums featuring every opera lady you’ve ever heard of (and more than a few you haven’t.)

The latest set runs the gamut from Alla Ablaberdyeva (performing Bach, Purcell and Handel with the assistance of the intensely bearded Alexander Fiseisky and his massive organ) to Virginia Zeani (rocking a hot-pink cocktail dress and Jackie Kennedy flip for a Verdi/Puccini recital.)

UPDATE: Although the Vinyl Divas site does not include any sound clips to complement the dizzying collection of album covers, La Cieca thought you might enjoy a sampling of late ’60s crossover at its best. Ferocious Felicia Weathers is heard in a psychedelic single:

Up, Up and Away!

Flame on

Posted in podcast, veoh on August 24, 2007 by lacieca

Tending the sacro fuoco this week at Unnatural Acts of Opera will be that priestess of the primo ottocento Leyla Gencer. The diva sings the title role in Spontini’s La Vestale in a performance from Teatro Massino di Palermo, December 4, 1969. Ferando Previtali conducts, and the young Renato Bruson is heard as Cinna. Also in the company: Robleto Merolla (Licinio), Agostino Ferrin (Il Sommo Sacerdote), Franca Mattiucci (La Gran Vestale), Enrico Campi (Un Console) and Sergio Sisti (Un Aruspice).

For those of you in a more contemporary mood, Unnatural Acts of Video presents Denise Duval in one of her Poulenc specialties.