Archive for the fleming Category

Fleming-Bocelli ticket in 2008

Posted in domingo, fleming, gay gay gay gay gay, gelb, midgette, our own on January 14, 2008 by lacieca

The Washington National Opera has announced their 2008-2009 season will feature headliners Renée Fleming and Andrea Bocelli under the artistic direction of Plácido Domingo. According to an article by Our Own Anne Midgette in today’s Washington Post, The Beautiful Voice will grace a new production of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia, an opera that has deep personal significance for the diva. Directing the opera will be “John Pascoe, a friend of Fleming’s.” Pascoe designed the leather jerkin Erwin Schrott sported in last season’s Don Giovanni at WNO, so his credentials as an FOF are already well-established.

Alas, Fleming and Bocelli will not actually share a performance at WNO, since his vocal contribution will be limited to a pair of performances of Rossini’s “Petite Messe Solennelle.”

Family values will be honored this season as Domingo’s wife Marta will direct La traviata and Keri-Lynn Wilson (Mrs. Peter Gelb) will conduct Turandot.


"Singing Norma Today"

Posted in bel canto, camp, fleming on December 3, 2007 by lacieca

(with apologies to Stephen Sondheim)

Bless her soul,
Bless her golden throat,
All her fans can gloat.
Renée’s preparing to chant
The bel canto role.

Today is for Norma
Norma, the role of the divas of choice.
America’s soprano will honor us forever.
Today is for Norma,
As sung by the Beautiful Voice.

Pardon me, is everybody here? Because if everybody’s here, I
want to thank you all for coming to my Norma, I’d appreciate
your going even more, I mean you must have lots of better things
to do, and would you please inform my fans, remember fans you know,
they’re called the Fleming Flappers, but they’re not, because they wouldn’t flap
at anyone as wonderful as I am–
Change of plans:
I’m all wrong as a pagan,
Change of plans,
I’ll do Eugene Onegin,
Tell the fans,
That I’m not singing Norma today.

We report, you decide

Posted in fleming, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede, mistletoe crisis on December 2, 2007 by lacieca

UPDATE: Soprano Renée Fleming has issued the following statement:

“Today, December 3, 2007, is the 84th anniversary of the birth of Maria Callas, the greatest interpreter of the role of Norma in the 20th century. In honor of this great artist, I have decided to reaffirm my decision not to sing Norma indefinitely. As a gesture of respect for this magnificent bel canto stylist, later today I will not visit her grave where I will not leave a wreath in remembrance. Further, at my concert tonight in Baltimore, I will not dedicate any of my encores to her memory. As a soprano and single mother, I feel it is the least I can do.”

Fleming’s publicist, Mary Lou Falcone, refused to comment on this statement.

La Cieca now continues our coverage of this week’s most earth-shaking story, the decision of Renée Fleming not to sing Bellini’s bel canto masterpiece Norma. Our latest report is from Fox Eyewitness News Channel 12, WPRI in Providence, Rhode Island:

Renee Fleming … will join the Boston Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin.”

Fleming, however, has decided to ditch plans to perform Bellini’s opera “Norma” with the orchestra next summer. Her publicist says the role “just didn’t fit.”

La Cieca has now received word that “The Story” has just achieved international coverage. In Canada, the Pierceland Herald (“The Voice of the Heartland”) reports that “the opera [‘Norma’] wasn‘t included in the Tanglewood schedule being released Friday. Instead, Fleming was listed for the Aug. 2 concert performance of Tchaikovsky‘s Eugene Onegin’.” The Saskatchewan-based web site goes on to confirm the “just didn’t fit” quotation.

Be sure to check back here at frequently for new information on the
Mistletoe Crisis” as it unfolds.

Larger and more fun

Posted in bel canto, critic, fleming, netrebko, nyt on December 1, 2007 by lacieca

“… Netrebko is the larger presence. She has an earthiness and impishness — a daredeviltry — that may prevent her from ever attaining the kind of rarefied, disembodied sainthood that has been awarded, for example, to the American sopranos Renée Fleming and Dawn Upshaw but that also makes her more fun to watch.” Charles McGrath writes a gazillion words or so about “A New Kind of Diva” in this weekend’s Sunday Times magazine.

In other news, Renée Fleming is still not singing Norma.

Sgombra è la sacra selva

Posted in bel canto, fleming, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede on November 30, 2007 by lacieca

I hate to tell you, dear, but your skin makes chiffon velvet look like the Rocky MountainsAs La Cieca’s clever public guessed six weeks ago, Renée Fleming is not going to sing Norma.

“The part just didn’t fit as she had hoped it would after living with it,” Fleming publicist Mary Lou Falcone said Thursday to the Associated Press. La Fleming, 48 (though she doesn’t look a day over 20, does she?), will perform Eugene Onegin under the baton of James Levine next summer at Tanglewood instead of the Bellini work.

"Did you get her innuendo?"

Posted in camp, fleming, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede on November 14, 2007 by lacieca

“Ms. Fleming‘s soprano has gotten bigger and richer since her Dallas debut 15 years ago. ‘I was replacing Carol Vaness in a lot of Mozart repertoire she couldn’t sing anymore,’ Ms. Fleming says of her early years.”

You can read more of The Tactful Voice’s audition for the remake of The Women in an interview with Scott Cantrell in The Dallas Morning News.

Who’s the missing star?

Posted in bel canto, caballe, critic, fleming, met, midgette, nyt, scotto, voigt on November 14, 2007 by lacieca

La Cieca was just wondering about something yesterday on opera-l, and doggone if Anne Midgette wasn’t wondering about the same thing today in the New York Times. (That woman haunts my dreams, I tell you. It’s like she’s inside my head. Now, where was I? Oh, yes…) The point that dear Anne and I (among others) have mulling is this:

There was a time when Norma was considered a rarity or at least an opera that could be revived only when a very special prima donna was available and willing. The first Met Norma, for example, was Lilli Lehmann, the house’s biggest female star of that era. Even given Lehmann’s réclame, her appearance as Norma was considered by at least one critic (W. J. Henderson in Times) to be a sort of stunt:

The opera was chosen by Fräu Lehmann for her benefit, and from a financial point of view her selection was a very wise one . . . . From an artistic point of view the choice does not seem to be so commendable. There is no artistic reason why Lilli Lehmann should present herself to the New York public as a colorature singer. She may have been actuated by a not unnatural desire to display her versatility, but to get up a performance of Bellini’s “Norma” for her benefit savors rather of self-esteem than of a strong devotion to honest art . . . . She demonstrated that her voice possessed far more flexibility and that she had a greater command of the pure ornamentation of signing that anyone suspected … It must be said, however, that Fräu Lehmann took many of the elaborate ornamental passages at a very moderate tempo and sang them with very evident labor, thus depriving them of much of that brilliancy which the smooth, mellow, pliable Italian voices impart to them. Fiorituri without brilliancy have no “raison d’ étre,” and no Italian diva of standing would have received half the applause that Fräu Lehmann did for singing these passages as she did. The audience was excited by astonishment at the fact that she could do it at all.

Well, that was a longer pullquote than La Cieca originally intended to use, but, goodness, that is such excellent critical writing, isn’t it? Anyway, back to the argument. Lehmann, Rosa Ponselle, Gina Cigna, Zinka Milanov and of course Maria Callas were all big established stars when they took on Norma at the Met. So were Joan Sutherland and Montserrat Caballé. If Shirley Verrett, Renata Scotto and Jane Eaglen received mixed reviews for their Met performances of the opera, it wasn’t because of lack of star power or clout — they were all extremely important names on the Met roster at the time of their casting.

Then there are performances from the likes of Adelaide Negri and Marisa Galvany — (covers who had to go on) and Rita Hunter, one of the many jumpers-in for Caballé. The presence of Hasmik Papian at the beginning of this year’s run of Norma should be understood in the same spirit, i.e., a late-in-the-game substitution.

Papian is going on for Maria Guleghina, who was pulled out of the beginning of the Norma run to perform the new production of Macbeth. So the question is, who ever dreamed up the notion of Guleghina singing Norma at the Met? True, she won a big popular success here with Abigaille back in 2001 and she more or less owned the role of Tosca at the house for about five years. But nothing in those performances (or, to be frank, her few attempts at the Bellini opera elsewhere) really shouts “this woman must do Norma at the Met.” So why would a revival of Norma be put in the pipeline five years ago for a singer who neither then nor now promises to display anything special in the role?

Which is why La Cieca poses the question: was this revival of Norma originally planned for a different singer? And if so, who? Deborah Voigt? Violeta Urmana? Renée Fleming?