Archive for the san francisco Category

Tit for tat

Posted in 2008, 2009, barihunk, blog, maury d'annato, opéra bouffe. barihunk, san francisco, the opera tattler on January 17, 2008 by lacieca

La Cieca has Maury D’annato to thank for (passively) calling her attention to the blog The Opera Tattler, which in recent days has been detailing next season’s plans in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other opera companies of the Transhudson. (The) Opera Tattler also reviews a lot of West Coast opera, and at least so far as La Cieca has read, his (?) blogatorial voice is either very arch or very sincere, either of which is fine by me. (“However, perhaps I should go to Bayreuth in 2009, since I will have the time,” writes the Tattler. How can you not love that?)

More bloggerei (in Italian, but it’s penetrable enough) may be found on the wild ‘n’ wacky site Opéra Bouffe, one of many various efforts by the lovely and apparently tireless Giorgia Meschini. At the moment attention at the Bouffe is split between the”new” Zeffirelli production of Tosca at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and the recent purchase of “le boat slippers dell’Adidas, blu e oro. Con ‘Respect’ stampato sulla linguetta… ‘firmate’ da Missy Elliott.” Bloggy!

Then Opéra Bouffe pointed your doyenne to the utterly necessary Schrott-Locator ™: ¿donde está Erwin?. Even Barihunks doesn’t have this level of detail.

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Doge star

Posted in 2009, gheorghiu, hvorostovksy, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede, san francisco on January 12, 2008 by lacieca

La Cieca’s spy in San Francisco whispers that the 2008-2009 season will open with Simon Boccanegra with Dmitri Hvorostovsky in the title role. Later productions will include a revival of Bohème with Angela Gheorghiu and the company premiere of Die Tote Stadt featuring Emily Magee and Torsten Kerl. Also expected is the world premiere of Stewart Wallace’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter, based on the novel by Amy Tan.

Musa! Diva! Sirena!

Posted in diva, gay, podcast, san francisco, scotto on November 18, 2007 by lacieca

La Cieca’s all-time favorite soprano, Renata Scotto, in one of her greatest roles, Adriana Lecouvreur — if you can think of an operatic experience to rival it, La Cieca hopes you will let her know what you’re having! La Scotto is heard in her first Adriana Lecouvreur, from San Francisco in 1977, partnered by Elena Obraztsova , Giacomo Aragall and Giuseppe Taddei under the baton of Gianandrea Gavazzeni. The first act of the Cilea weepy is the centerpiece of the current episode of Unnatural Acts of Opera, but is La Cieca satisfied? Hardly! Bonus features include rare early recordings of Scotto singing Bellini arias (I Capuleti e i Montecchi and I puritani) and your doyenne’s admittedly somewhat vague reminiscences of the glory that was San Francisco gay life in the seventies.

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.

Enter Madame

Posted in diva, gheorghiu, la cieca ci guarda la cieca ci vede, san francisco on November 1, 2007 by lacieca

One of La Cieca’s intricate network of spies has been keeping his ear to the ground in San Francisco where a supernumerary friend whispered to him that “there was concern amongst the SFO backstage ranks that since La Gheorghiu had yet to show up for any La rondine rehearsals, that she may go the route of of her recent Lyric Opera contretemps and be dismissed as a no-show.”

Signor Spy assured his super friend that Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna “were merely enjoying a personal idyll in NYC … that once Mr. Alagna finished up with Pinkerton last Saturday, she (or both) would probably be winging to the West Coast to keep the SFO commitment.” He then passed along to La Cieca a report on the soprano’s “first rehearsal appearance.”

UPDATE: Well, now it seems our original spy has reconsidered the hearsay he shared earlier and asked that the “Super” quotes be removed. Fair enough, La Cieca thinks, since she’s not entirely clear on whether Super gave Spy carte blanche to share the “insights” in the first place.

La Cieca does not plan on making a habit of putting the toothpaste back in the tube, but this appears to be a special case. Okay with you, cher public?

Santuzza offers a prayer of thanks

Posted in camp, canon law, diva, drag, ex cathedra, festoonery, gay, san francisco on October 17, 2007 by lacieca

“Over-accessorizing and poor taste in makeup is not an excommunicable offense,” a specialist on Catholic canon law has explained.

The expert was speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle in the wake of a scandal involving San Francisco’s Archbishop George Niederauer and the activist group the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. On October 7, Niedarauer delivered the Eucharist to “two men in heavy makeup and nuns’ habits.”

The Archbishop almost immediately issued a letter of apology to Catholics, but not soon enough to prevent Fox News screaming head Bill O’Reilly from grabbing the opportunity to sneer at San Francisco’s “far-left secular progressives who despise the military, traditional values and religion.”

Following up on the story, the Chronicle spoke to Rev. Jim Bretzke, professor of moral theology at University of San Francisco, a Jesuit Catholic university.

“The general sacramental principle is that you don’t deny the sacrament to someone who requests it,” Bretzke explained. “The second principle is that you cannot give communion to someone who has been excommunicated . . . .

“While I can see Bill O’Reilly and others might be offended, the sisters do not meet the criteria the church has for denying Communion. Over-accessorizing and poor taste in makeup is not an excommunicable offense.”

E sempre Laura!

Posted in laura hope cruisey, san francisco on August 21, 2007 by lacieca

Our new correspondent Miss Laura Hope Cruisey finishes her report from Santa Fe.

Everywhere we look there is Nicole Cabell – so exotic! Wow! Very interesting looking woman; and her new arias CD is the most advertised classical record around, and it is getting good reviews. She was kind of a Mrs. Obama on stage as Musetta – slap them men around and tell ’em off! Boy, I want her on my side! And if you want high B-naturals, she’s your gal.

Only problem is, when she’s not above the stave, she isn’t. Musetta’s little prayer in Act IV disappeared under the orchestra (as you know there is virtually no orchestra at that point). Miss Cabell, who has a huge mouth and beautiful teeth, is big in the recording studio, and not so big otherwise. Better direction might make her a better artist. Why do I think she needs to go back to the vocal studio and sing a lot of Mozart?

Other ladies: Keep your ear cocked for Katharine Goeldner, a really “together” package of solid mezzo voice, nice looks, excellent stage demeanor; she’s the real thing. Be aware of Susanna Phillips; tall, nice shape, from Alabama, and a spritzy, big lyric soprano voice that knocked the spots off Fiordiligi vocally, perhaps not otherwise – but there was that conductor problem.

The second cast of La bohème boasted a Mimi from Lucca, Italy, one Signora Serena Farnocchia. Not bad; and I was so grateful for her understated death scene. No histrionics, she just – died. Nice to hear Puccini in its native tongue. Maybe a little passagio problem with Sra. F., but I’ll not be picky. Also interesting was a nice looking young man named Alexander Vinogradov who has a lovely warm bass voice. He was too young to sing Colline, but the audience let him get away with it and so will I.

Later: I have had lunch and I ate some posole with a lot of green chile to make my tongue sharper. Here goes: I have to talk about Jean-Philippe Rameau’s comedy ballet, Platée. Surprise! It was the best (only?) show of the summer! M. Laurent Pelly, designer-producer from gay Paree, was the hero of the piece and he made it a romp, an intelligent one. You know the story about a “romance” between Jupiter and the frog-lady Platée, that really didn’t happen tho’ she thought so? It’s silly stuff, and without a clever tenor to drag the female frog role you are in trouble.

Happily Santa Fe had Jean-Paul Fourchécourt, a whiz of a comic actor. Singer? Hell, Ira Siff can sing the notes a lot better; frankly I wondered why they didn’t cast a counter tenor in the part? But, then, he/she has to be funny, and little M/M Fourchécourt surely was that. What an impressive, giving performance! I want to hear him again, but I can’t think of a role; maybe more French baroque?

A Liverpool limey named Harry Bicket (who conducts in all the big houses), was a whiz-bang music director for the Rameau. It was long, loaded with dance numbers, male near-nudity and all kindsa stuff, and was a damn good show. Too bad you missed it.

Well, that’s a hop-skip-‘n-jump thru the Santa Faux season! I omitted a lot of detail, but this is already too long. Was this the worst season SFO has had in a very long time? Some have been saying that. Lots of talk around Santa Fe about the retirement of General Director Richard Gaddes, long associated with SFO, and much in the mould of founder John O. Crosby; yet he leaves after seven years. He just hired Edo de Waart as chief conductor to run the orchestra. Alan Gilbert, whom New Yorkers have heard a lot about lately, and who is just announced to conduct at the Metropolitan Opera next season (Dr. Atomic), left SFO at the end of last year. What IS going on? The new theatre is lovely, the money is plentiful, it’s summertime and the living is easy.

I’ll ask La Cieca’s distinguished readership a fantasy question: Should the SFO board make a deal with the San Francisco Opera board to take over and run Santa Fe as a satellite company, and meld their two distinguished young artists’ programs and shift the management away from New York (whence SFO has always been run) to The West? Think about it! And remember, you heard it first here (or did you?)