Cher Public

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is it the girl or is it the gown?

“The campy diva lover in me should exult at the credit in the program ‘Renée Fleming‘s Costumes by Christian Lacroix,’ but in fact the couturier’s frocks were something of a mishmash. Best was a shimmering gold sheath that set off Fleming’s first entrance and trim waistline to perfection; worst was a rumpled ivory silk ballgown that made the dying (or dead?) Thaïs resemble a Botoxed Miss Havisham.”

Our Own JJ reviews the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Thaïs in Gay City News.

In other too-good-to-be-true (and yet it is!) news, the image gallery for this production is now live at the Met Archives site.


  • 1
    quote the maven says:

    Fair and balanced—and not in the Fox News sense. La Cieca truly gives the devil her due, while making note of the areas in which her performance fell short. It is, after all, a beautiful voice.

  • 2
    Wren-nay says:

    I think he was way too kind. This was camp at it’s worst, uninspired, verismo version of Thais. and no the d’s were not comfortable.

  • 3
    erica says:

    La Cieca,

    So that WAS you sitting a few rows in front of me. I was too shy to say anything. And was that well-preserved woman sitting on the aisle nearby, to whom many people were paying court, Barbara Cook? My people-watching skills are so abysmal I always refuse to commit to any sightings — except the one time I rode in an elevator with Brooke Shields — and then I pretended not to recognize her on principle.

  • 4
    La Cieca says:

    Miss Cook was indeed in the audience and looking most charming. Among other celebrities in the theater that night one noticed Charles Busch.

  • 5
    Amnerees says:

    Nice review, JJ! Informed and to the point. I wish the Met had given Fleming a better production, since it’s one of the roles that she sings well, but I guess we should be glad just to hear the opera every generation.

    Were you at the NY Phil Elektra? If so, tell us what you thought. It’s being broadcast on WQXR at 9:00 PM (Dec. 18th), by the way.

  • 6

    If you’ll indulge a moment of earnest and unclever flattery, as a dabbler in the reviewing arts I must term these Gay City News reviews something of a master class in economy and wit.

  • 7
    La Cieca says:

    La Cieca is happy to hear that Maury dabbles.

  • 8
    erica says:

    RATS! That woman is an absolute hero to me! And I had just bought her CD for my mother — who was with me at the opera — to show her what 80 can really be like.

    Oh, well, another opportunity missed. On the other hand, I’m glad I was right — on both sightings.

  • 9
    Laura Adorno says:

    Mon dieu, is Michael Schade singing Nicais or Count Fosco from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Woman in White? And Domingo’s costume from Iphigenie sure looks good on Hampson. Did all of the money for this production go to ordering Fleming’s outfits from Frederick’s of Hollywood…I mean, Christian Lacroix?

  • 10
    rapt says:

    #6: Maury, while I whole-heartedly endorse your praise of JJ’s judicious and insightful reviews, don’t sell yourself short--not only are the reviews in your own blog similarly illuminating, but their carefully crafted style is as inimitable as it is irresistible!

  • 11
    Tristan_und says:

    “a botoxed Miss Havisham” — La Cieca, you say that like it’s a bad thing!

  • 12
    Lucky Pierre says:

    who’s miss havisham?

    also, the night i went (couple of thursdays ago), someone said meryl streep was in the audience.

    i thought the first set was pretty nice — it actually looked like the set in the current salome. asides from the music and the singing, not a very exciting evening though.

  • 13
    Tristan_und says:

    Miss Havisham is the character in Dickens’ “Great Expectations” who, after she is left at the altar by her faithless fiance, goes into her room and stays there for years in her wedding dress, never emerging, with the wedding cake rotting on the table. Probably the visual La Cieca was evoking was from the British movie of the same name (date? director?).

  • 14
    Brooklynpunk says:


    The classic, and best version (IMHO) of “Great Expectations “was the 1946 one, directed by David Lean….

    I love Miss Haversham…epexially when she tells Estrella to make Pip fall in love with her, so she can then “break his heart”……..

  • 15
  • 16
    Tristan_und says:

    That’s it, alright. Gee, how did we live before YouTube?

  • 17
    Lucky Pierre says:

    thanks, la cieca. what would i do without parterre?