Cher Public

this diva looks like that matron

La Cieca is fully aware that Anna Netrebko is a dress size or two bigger now than she was a couple of years ago. And yet, there is no excuse, no excuse I tell you, to transform the young courtesan Violetta Valery into the middle-aged dowager Mrs. Claypool.


Now, La Cieca has a couple of things to rant about here.

First off, 1920s attire is, in general, not particularly flattering one for operatic figures. Lyric sopranos in general tend to be somewhat curvy, in defiance of the flat-busted and boyish-hipped visual aesthetic of the jazz age silhouette. Of course, there were some singers active in the 1920s who look perfectly charming in the fashion of that era.


But, let’s face it, not everybody has Maria Jeritiza‘s height, superb posture or — this is perhaps the most important point here — her “tempestuous” perfectionism. La Jeritza would never have emerged from her Künstlerumkleide in so ill-fitting a garment as this:


[Netrebko photos by Brant Ward / The Chronicle]

But even when this dress is properly fitted on a slimmer soprano (Elizabeth Futral), the line is not particularly flattering.


So can someone remind La Cieca what’s the point of updating Traviata in the 1920s?

  • Baritenor

    Lindoro: Get with the times, Man. Schrott and Netrebko were married last year.

  • -Ed.

    Why would a diva (and a truly beautiful one to boot) wear that crap while performing in front of an audience? A mystery.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    The reason for updating Traviata is so you can change the COUCH!!!

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    I always wait for the third act just to hear everybody singing my name -- regardless of the period they never fail to do this.

  • leboyfriend

    Is Netrebko married or not? I just read an interview with her conducted recently in which Schrott was referred to as her fiance. Do we have a definitive answer or is it one of those “In our hearts and minds we are married” things?

  • leboyfriend

    The interview I refer to, by the way, was in the SF Chron and dated yesterday!

  • Pelleas

    How odd to see Jean Harlow used as an example of a period where “the predominant woman’s shape was flat chested”! Yikes.

  • La Valkyrietta

    “So can someone remind La Cieca what’s the point of updating Traviata in the 1920s?”

    I’m puzzled too, so I can’t be of help, but I have a couple of guesses. Maybe the director saw ‘La Rondine’ and liked it and got inspired? Not all inspirations are happy ones. Maybe, also, the director wanted to give the opera a larger dimension, by hinting about the fate of Lady Beekman’s tiara?

  • manou

    48 -- Lady Beekman!! And my favourite Marilyn film moment: “I am not marrying him for his money….I am marrying him for YOUR money!”

  • hndymn

    just here to lend my support to whomever suggested that the breaking up of the comments into multiple pages is a pain.
    And today is Helen Traubel’s 111th birthday!

  • MontyNostry

    Sanford (no 38), you need to see Netrebko in the DVD of Manon from Berlin, then, in which she appears in a clinging gold 50s-style gown for the gambling scene. Shame she sometimes approaches the role as if it’s Santuzza, though, and Villazon is his customary hysterical self.

  • La marquise de Merteuil

    50 -- it was Lindoro -- I think. I also support this move if possible.

  • cosmodimontevergine

    Lady Beekman: It’s a tiara.
    Lorelei Lee: You DO wear it on your head. I just LOVE finding new places to wear diamonds.

  • Operalala

    #5 Thomas -- OMG size 4 to 8??? are there no female editors on the SF Chronicle?? Did Norman Lebrecht write this?
    To put US women’s dress sizes in perspective for those of you who, uh, hmm…, don’t wear dresses:
    I’m about the size of Natalie Dessay, and wear a size 6. I think I (and Dessay) are too skinny, and am happy to say I’ve recently kept on enough weight to start wearing some size 8’s.
    Now the larger example of Marilyn Monroe: IIRC the gold JFK dress was a size 16, all tucked and corsetted into place.
    So if I were to hazard a guess, obviously with no more information than the SF Chronicle had, I’d guess Trebs started at about a size 10 and is now about a size 14 or so.
    Also the authoritative doctor Papas is, as expected, misinformed again. 10 pounds is what I gain and lose each winter and summer. At +10 lbs, clothes are a bit tighter, but even on my small frame I don’t gain even 1 dress size.

    And that is not a tiara, it’s the Burger King birthday child party favor.

  • Hans Lick

    … because you don’t really enjoy champagne unless it’s illegal. THAT’S the point of setting it in the ’20s. And they couldn’t update it to, well, now, because the social hypocrisy that is the point of the story is extinct.

    I’m delighted Charles’s career is taking off — not only a cutie (and a notable skirt-chaser), but he has a wonderful baritonal quality to his tenor that always appeals to me. (Think Caruso, Melchior, Bergonzi and Domingo, all of whom started out as baritones.)

  • irontongue

    Cher publique, those photos are the best evidence I’ve seen that she’s pregnant again.