Archive for the hacks Category

Hollanderizing

Posted in alagna, critic, hacks, met, nyt on October 18, 2007 by lacieca

La Cieca is nothing if she is not open-minded. So can someone please explain (or at least excuse) the following statement from Bernard Holland in today’s NYT?

Verdi has a way of testing his singers at the opening curtain. (See also “La Traviata,” Act I, Scene 1.)

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now

Posted in festoonery, hacks, robert wilson, scandale, twaddle on September 24, 2007 by lacieca

Struggling downtown artiste Robert Wilson has been rendered homeless since his recent “eviction” from the 6,000 square foot loft he leased since the early 1970s. The space is located in a building on Vestry Street in trendy TriBeCa that’s scheduled for demolition to make way for, what else, luxury condominiums. The bereft avante-gardiste has been reduced to “traveling in Europe for work when not staying with friends in New York” but is “resigned to the idea he won’t be able to find a new place with as much space,” according to Page Six.

Having apparently dismissed the notion of leasing warehouse space in an outer borough (shudder!), the Lohengrin director is divesting himself of a few of the more than 3,000 tchotckes currently cluttering the place, including “20th-century furniture, tribal art, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, contemporary glass, Asian art and contemporary drawings, photographs, works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Man Ray, Frank Gehry, Frank Lloyd Wright, Agnes Martin and Richard Serra.” (It’s an encouraging sign that even in deepest despair, Wilson retains his protean name-dropping ability.) Selected items will be auctioned on Sunday at tony Philips de Pury.

Wilson, putting his storage problems in perspective, reflects, “It is a tragedy that all this will be destroyed.”

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?)

Take that, Eurotrash!

Posted in camp, drag, festoonery, hacks, met, twaddle on April 23, 2007 by lacieca

The doyen of operatic stage direction has done it again! (Or, to be strictly accurate, he has done it for about the twentieth time, but who’s counting?) Thrill to the brilliantly innovative new production of La traviata Franco Zeffirelli just unveiled at the Rome Opera!


Oh, if only we could have a production of Traviata just like this here in New York! Or, even better, if only we could have two productions just like this!

You are dead, you know

Posted in filth, hacks, mortier, nyco, sad, twaddle on March 26, 2007 by lacieca

In yet another dazzling example of counter-intuitive programming, the New York City Opera has decided to exhume their quarter-century old ticky-tacky Hal Prince staging of that overexposed snoozefest Candide to replace their scuttled new production of Ragtime. (Gee, how long is it since we last heard Candide here in New York? It must be twenty minutes at least.) If La Cieca didn’t know better, she’d think Paul Kellogg was trying to bring the company crashing down (a sort of sound-enhanced Götterdämmerung) before that meanie Mortier can get his hands on it…

Lost weekend

Posted in hacks, nyt on February 21, 2007 by lacieca

A quarter of a century elapses between the prologue and first act of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. By a bizarre coincidence, that’s exactly the same length of time since Bernard Holland has had anything remotely relevant or intelligent to say in print. His latest “efforts” are in today’s NY Times, but I’m not going to bother to link. After all, La Cieca is pretty sure that you all know the plot outlines of Simon Boccanegra and The Grapes of Wrath. Even though Holland was supposed to review actual live performances of these two operas (the latter a world premiere), he didn’t quite get around to writing anything you might call a “critique.” Instead, he cribbed a few lines from Cliff’s Notes, then slumped back into his usual banana-eared stupor.