Archive for the dessay Category

Natalie Déshabillée

Posted in bathroom humor, dessay, diva, warming the winter-weary spirit, youtube on January 1, 2008 by lacieca

La Dessay rehearses the “bathtub scene” from Manon.

Sorry, folks, the video is no longer available for embedding at the request of the uploader, Parsifal1979. You can view it, however, on the YouTube site.

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No, but thanks for axing

Posted in dessay, diva, san francisco on November 1, 2007 by lacieca

Box office poison!Playbill Arts reports more intrigue out of San Francisco: Natalie Dessay will not do the Mary Zimmerman production of Lucia di Lammermoor there next summer as originally announced. Oh, don’t worry, la Dessay will indeed sing the role, but the SFO is substituting a Graham Vick staging, citing “the physical dimensions of the [Metropolitan Opera] production and extensive rebuilding required to adapt the sets for the War Memorial Opera House.” Ah, yes, of course. The extensive rebuilding, that’s it.

The season begins. Finally.

Posted in 2007, bel canto, critic, dessay, gcn, giordani, hunkentenor, met, netrebko, nyco, review, stephen costello on October 13, 2007 by lacieca

“The Metropolitan Opera’s opening week offered two super-starry nights that more than offset a misfired new production across the plaza at the New York City Opera.” After some rather frustrating technical delays, our JJ‘s reviews of the Met’s Roméo and Lucia, plus the NYCO’s Cav/Pag, are at last online at Gay City News. (Perhaps at this point they can be read for historical significance, if nothing else.)

Someone else does the heavy lifting for a change

Posted in dessay, giordani, guest critic, met, stephen costello on October 10, 2007 by lacieca

La Cieca introduces a new feature on parterre.com, the guest review. First up to bat is longtime print zine stalwart Little Stevie, who saw Lucia di Lammermoor last night.

Take this as you will: based on this evenings performance the new Met Lucia is pretty bad. The acclaimed Ms. Zimmerman simply doesn’t know how to direct opera. The chorus work was among the WORST I have ever seen in any theatre – no motivation, and some of the most boring groupings you can imagine – very static. The highly touted “nuanced portrayals” of the principles translates to “can’t get the performances past the footlights”. As viewed from Parterre Box 12 tonight, my impression was that the relationships were so poorly realized that everyone was acting in their own opera with no connection happening between any of them. Dessay and Giordani hit the mark in the Act 1 love duet, but prior to and after that the opera turned into an emotional black hole.

As each act came about I could feel the performance slipping away dramatically. This was unfortunate for Ms. Dessay’s Mad Scene – which was very well sung, with reinstated pages of music new to my ears, and extremely interesting and difficult coloratura tailored to her abilities. If the opera had actually built up to this scene it would have been an experience to remember. The production lets her down, and the scene is an island in a vast ocean of emptiness. You really must experience Act 3 Sc. 1 between Edgardo and Enrico to believe it. Passionless, limp, “cross the stage on this line” type of directing – no conflict, no danger. It played as thought they were an East Village avant garde opera troupe making fun of the structure of the piece in a deconstructionist production. There was barely enough applause to cover the time to black out and raise the scrim (see below) on Sc. 2.

I have read that Ms. Zimmerman traveled with her designers to Scotland to soak up local color and get inspiration for this production. Well the only thing they seemed to have soaked up are several hundred gallons of sea foam green paint, and not a very stage worthy or pleasant shade either. Based on the designs released prior to opening I was expecting darkly foreboding landscapes, expressionistic backgrounds, gloomy yet appropriate spaces. The grassy mound in Act 1 works, yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was the anorexic sister of the Met’s Parsifal set. Act 2 is a deluge of the aforementioned “sea foam green” – from the floor to way up past our site lines – all three walls of the set.

Act 3 is where it really falls apart. Scene 1: Lightning out of your local carnival’s “spooky house” housed in a black scrim that materializes into Wolf’s Crag Castle thanks to two cutouts at top and bottom with part of the Scene 2 stairs sticking out. Edgardo enters to a bare stage with your uncle’s ugly yellow wing backed chair the only piece on stage. Scene 2 was the most confusing – the costumes, giant wooden stairs and balcony (read faux-finished cat walk) seemed to place the scene in the Wild West and looked to be straight out of Miss Kitty’s Saloon from Gunsmoke!! Perhaps up close the impression was richer, but from my seat it sure didn’t read as Scotland. The Ravenswoods cemetery was a particular embarrassment – 2 or 3 cutout headstones that looked to be supported in the back by 2×4’s. Cheap cheap CHEAP!

The singing was OK. Myers (as Normanno in Act 1 Sc. 1) was inaudible when the ensemble was singing, and weak on solo lines. Relyea was wooly and tended to go flat. Giordani was Giordani – very good but just shy of superstar tenor quality. Kwiecien – I wish I could rave – but he has one dynamic – mezzo forte – a short breath line – and was quite cardboard tonight. He also really sang over Dessay in their scenes together. Stephen Costello projected youth, vigor, and a super fine tenor that has alot of ring top to bottom, though the absolute top didn’t quite bloom bigger as one might want – but what a fantastic sound. — Little Stevie

If you would like to be a guest critic on parterre.com, please contact La Cieca. First priority will be given to regular commenters.

The winner and new diva

Posted in 2007, alex ross, broadcast, camp, chat, cher public, dessay, diva, maury d'annato, met, operachic, sieglinde, sirius, stephen costello on September 25, 2007 by lacieca

La Cieca wasn’t “in the house” for the Lucia prima last night like so many of her colleagues; instead she hosted perhaps the most popular of all her online chats thus far. Approximately 120 of you cher public logged in at some point during the night, with 75 or so on average staying for the long haul. Say what you will about Natalie Dessay or even Stephen Costello, there was really only one genuine “star is born” moment last night, and here, as dear Mathilde Marchesi would say, is “la nouvelle Melba” —


Our nomination for Camp Diva of the 2007-2008 Season: Miss Blythe Danner!

Another Opening, Another Chat!

Posted in 2007, chat, dessay, met, sirius on September 24, 2007 by lacieca

Thanks for joining La Cieca for the first online chat of the 2007-2008 season. If you enjoyed the chat, please visit the Amazon Honor System to help support parterre.com.

Something to chat about

Posted in 2007, bel canto, broadcast, chat, cher public, dessay, information wants to be free, met, sirius on September 24, 2007 by lacieca

La Cieca’s chat returns Monday night to welcome in the new Met season. Topic of discussion: the evening’s prima of the new production of Lucia di Lammermoor, as broadcast on SIRIUS Internet Radio. Please check back on this site after 5:00 pm Monday for a link to the room, which will open at 6:15 pm for the 6:30 start of the opening night performance.

Note that any of you who do not have a current subscription to Sirius can get a trial 3-day pass in time for the Opening Night chat. The event is also broadcast on RealNetworks.

Are any of you cher public attending this Lucia at one of the outdoor simulcasts? If you are, why not bring a laptop along and chat along with the rest of us? It’s easy, now that the Lincoln Center plaza has WiFi!