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Oh, how we danced on the night we were webbed

Diamonds_are_foreverLots of media news today, so let’s not waste any time! La Cieca congratulates Opera News on the occasion of the mag’s 75th anniversary this month, though your doyenne is willing to swear that the mag doesn’t look a day over 60! 

But, after all, the old girl can afford the very best in Park Avenue cosmetic surgery, so La Cieca w’ll just say “you look marvelous, really,” before moving on to the real news here (and you know when there’s real news in Opera News, that is real news), which is the debut of Our Own Daniel Stephen Johnson in those venerable pages. But it gets better!

“The Times is still the Times, and Opera News is still Opera News,” says Ecclesiastes Zachary Woolfe, interviewed by Dan (who also, wonder of wonders, chats with none other than JJ) in “Net Effects,” an all-too-brief analysis of how “the Internet is changing the way we read about opera.”  La Cieca is gratified to note that our humble little cum-blog is mentioned in passing, in what is perhaps the most insidery bit of writing to be seen in the pages of Opera News since their cover story about Brian Kellow‘s annual tea dance on the anniverary of Dolores Gray‘s death.

As is their custom when publishing articles about online journalism, Opera News has not made this piece available online (yes, they are indeed 75 years old), so I guess, cher public, you’ll have to wait for your dead-tree version to arrive in the mail.

In the words of the prophet Zack, yes, indeed, the Times is very much still the Times, and La Cieca will further note that Dan Wakin is still out there beating the mean streets until the Met’s press office is ready to spoonfeed him his latest story. We get the 14th in a 200 part series about the Robert Lepage Ring in the New York Times today, this time with a slideshow of Rheingold images “from the first dress rehearsal” (presumably one that Bryn Terfel was in town for).

Now, of course, you can’t judge a production from the photographs, and all that (if nothing else, the Regie quiz teaches us this universal truth) and yet… These are images produced with the very close assistance of the Met, for what amounts to a puff preliminary for the company’s flagship production of the season, so maybe just a little close reading (or in this case, close viewing) might be in order?

Purely as observed as the selection of still photos published by the Times, this show looks to La Cieca a little plain, rather small, and (this is the worst of it) altogether tame.  Depending on how the “machine” is lit, sometimes it looks like a rather nice deck on a Hamptons share house, and other times it looks like the facade of a Soviet-era office block.

With the lights all lit and the thing moving, probably it’s a whole different experience, but the Met and the Times gave us still photos, so that’s what we have to react to at the moment—and react you will, I trust, cher public, to the images as well as to such ominous paragraphs as

The greater worry is that something— a prop, a wig or a limb — might get in the way of the slowly moving platform. Emergency stop buttons have been installed, and a rigging and safety adviser who often works with Cirque du Soleil was hired. An army of stagehands will guide the singers and acrobats in their movements about the set.

To La Cieca, and you know she has a best a gutter sort of imagination, this all sounds just too Stephen King for words. (“Having at last tasted human blood, the set was at last still, releasing only the faint sound that might have been a sigh.”)


  • papopera says:

    It does look spectacular

    • DonCarloFanatic says:

      It looks so interesting I am considering buying a ticket to the HD encore as well as the original live simulcast. I can never get too much Rheingold.

      On another topic altogether, does anyone know why Irene Theorin has withdrawn from her performances in the Washington National Opera’s Ballo? I was looking forward to seeing her and now don’t know whether Tamara Wilson or Susan Neves is the better choice.

      • CL in DC says:

        DonCarlo --

        Not sure if you’ve made it to WNO’s Ballo yet, but I would reccommend Tamara Wilson over Susan Neves. Not sure why Theorin withdrew..I think they just said “indisposed.” I was really looking forward to hearing her Amelia as well.

  • Donna Carlo says:

    Breaking news item from my just-arrived, dead-tree version of the New Yorker:

    Of this season’s Don Carlo: “…Yannick Nézet-Séguin…conducts a cast led by by the formidable veteran Ferruccio Furlanetto, in the title role.”

    I suppose that the same old Parterrean farts who winced at Domingo’s fach shift, will drop their teaspoons when they read this one, but I’m just awed by FF’s new career move. Demented and thrilling and, yes, operatic. And yes, a must-see, must-hear. No?

    • Hans Lick says:

      Donna —

      LAST week the New Yorker mis-quoted the Bible (the book of Genesis no less), which USED to be central to western culture and education, not to mention the hotel profession. So I’m not surprised.

      • Donna Carlo says:

        Hell, Hans, the New Yorker used to be central to western culture and and education. So do great civilizations begin to crumble, laying off copy editors.

    • m. croche says:

      I can’t remember his name, but there’s someone who is presumably beneath A. Ross who pens many of those event squibs and occasionally contributes a few horrible paragraphs of his own on another subject. I remember reading something he penned once on Haydn and vowed afterwards to never do so again. Anyway, he seems like just the type to transform Furlanetto.

    • Uninvolved Bystander says:

      Now I know the world has truly gone to hell when the vaunted New Yorker fact-checking department allows these easily checked errors to go through.

  • Noel Dahling says:

    Dear Stephanie Blythe: Honey, you really should shoot whoever designed that costume.