Headshot of La Cieca

Cher Public

  • Cicciabella: Semenchuk sang at Charles and Camilla’s wedding, hand-picked by the Prince himself. Her... 3:18 PM
  • Cicciabella: I don’t know if he’s ever sung it, but, based on his Otello and other Verdi roles,... 3:09 PM
  • rapt: Giacometti, however, would only sing with extremely thin sopranos… 2:52 PM
  • Fidelia: Thanks for your reply, Bill. Mr F agrees with you, and although a great admirer of Vickers thinks... 2:46 PM
  • Camille: Badly behaved vestal virgins are the BEST kind! Wouldn’t you be badly behaved if all you had... 2:42 PM
  • Camille: We mustn’t carry on any longer or La Cieca will wonder what we all have got in our pipes and... 2:40 PM
  • LT: Bill, this sounds very plausible. Considering she was going to debut the role of Aida in Rome under Muti... 2:39 PM
  • Bill: Well Pavarotti also sang Radames, at least some performances I guess he is in your first group. Di... 2:37 PM
  • danpatter: It occurred to me while listening to this that a few transpositions might help her enormously.... 2:10 PM
  • NPW-Paris: Le Roi de Lahore is another one I haven’t listened to for ages. If I carry on at this rate... 2:00 PM

Shirley Verrett 1931-2010

shirley_verrettLa Cieca has just heard that magnificent American mezzo-soprano and, later, soprano Shirley Verrett died earlier today. She was 79.  

123 comments

  • Lucky Pierre says:

    i was wondering if anyone would know of an address to send cards to, maybe in care of the university or the lomonacos?

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    This video is fascinating. Does anyone know the provenance of the Aida Jusgment Scene at the end of the clip? There are 4 unfortuante bloopers in it that didn’t phase Shirley one bit. I wonder if it was ever broadcast this way. See if you can spot them.

  • SilvestriWoman says:

    I’m surprised no one has posted this rare treasure. Just stumbled on it at YouTube -- the most crushingly exquisite Liebestod I’ve ever heard. (And, yes, I saw Nilsson live in the mid-70s…) The voice is ravishing but her face expresses so much more…

    • Often admonished says:

      total diva performance! thanks for that.

      has anybody mentioned what an impeccably accuarte Presiosilla she is on the RCA/Schippers Forza? every trill a diamond.

    • This performance is so much more emotionally resonant than either Norman or Nilsson’s celebrated renditions. I feel she handles the multiple climaxes with incredible taste. This is a wonderful collab with Mehta and I love how pissed he is at the audience’s lack of appreciation. He is hypnotized during the performance as am I.

    • Tamerlano says:

      That final “lust” is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. And I love the amazing lack of diva affect. Just a person standing before us pouring their heart out. Even her dress is understated. What a gorgeous and expressive face she had, too.

  • Lucky Pierre says:

    thanks, imelda. i wanted to send an actual card via post, so i’ll see if i can find a mailing address. but i’ll sign the online one as well. thank you.

  • luvtennis says:

    What a great singer she was!

    Her Eboli was nonpareil -- Bumbry was great, but Shirley CRUSHED that role, everything from the delicate tracery of the Veil Song to that world-shattering Fatale!

    My first experience with her, like many, was on the RCA recordings with Price -- Ballo, Forza -- the singing was glorious even in that glorious company. The Orsini on the Caballe Lucrezia was also an early stunner.

    Though my strong preference is for a soprano Lady, her performances of the role under Abbado were near-definitive, certainly the finest mezzo Lady I can recall.

    To top it off, she was a fabulous beauty.

    My goodness, all this death makes me want to emphasize the positive.

    Was 1918-1938 the greatest 20 year stretch for great singers in HISTORY or what???!?!?!?!

    Was there a series of solar flares? Something in the water?

    Just a partial list of sopranos only -- Nilsson, Grob-Prandl, Varnay, Tebaldi, Callas, Sutherland, Price, Caballe, Freni, Janowitz, Sills.

    Amazing then -- scary sad now as they are all leaving us.

  • Camille says:

    For all admirers of Shirley Verrett: her ‘l’Assedio di Corinto’ performances will once more be featured on Sirius this week, starting today @ 3pm EDT.