Cher Public

Mai più, mai più

met_applauseThis is the way the public used to greet the entrance of a beloved star, and La Cieca is very unhappy to think that she will never hear the like again.  

Hello, Minnie!

  • With a natural flair for the arms to naturally settle at a quarter to three (and great veil work) this is definitely one great diva in the making!

  • Signor Bruschino

    Speaking of divas, entrances, and exits, I was having a conversation with someone at the opera and we were trying to remember the last time someone received a confetti salute (from the family circle boxes, etc)- the last I can recall was Freni in Fedora- anything more recent? Watching the Levine DVD’s it seems that every performance in the late 70’s/early 80’s had a confetti salute (and please correct me if i’m wrong on the phrase ‘confetti salute’- would ‘ripped program suffice more?)

    • I recall some confetti for Fleming/Hvorostovsky in Onegin. Wasn’t there also confetti for Fleming and Graham in the recent Rosenkavalier.

      When Eva Marton made her return to the Met in 1997 as Turandot, I was sitting up in the Family Circle, and I remember seeing a man with a big garbage full of confetti that he was dumping from the side box. It was hilarious (in a good way).

      • Harry

        Bet the theater cleaners get pissed off.

  • archiesdad

    I was hoping it was maria Cebotari. Could someone here recommend a sample recording? I haven’t heard her since I was knee high to a grasshopper. (And so naive you wouldn’t believe. A farm boy from PA.)

    • dame ernestine sherman tank

      Ah, dear Eleanor! A true DIVA and a voice we would be privilaged to have today. We all get old, ducks, and Eleanor gave of her magnificent voice to the end! How can anyone say she was NEVER good in Fanciulla when a quick trip to that cunning little YouTube will slay any of you naysayers?

      Monday, Feb. 18, 1952
      Music: Soprano Doubleheader

      Opera stars who can—or will—sing two major roles in one day are about as rare as pitchers who are up to hurling both games of a doubleheader.* The Metropolitan Opera’s Eleanor Steber did it once by accident. In 1945, she sang Eva in a Meistersinger matinee, then stepped into the evening performance as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni when the scheduled Elvira took sick. Last week Soprano Steber, 35, became the first star in Met memory to sing a doubleheader by design.

      She had been scheduled for months to make her debut as the doomed Desdemona in the matinee of Verdi’s Otello. When she told General Manager Rudolf Bing that she also would sing her new hit role of Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte the same night, Bing’s eyebrows went up. “You must be crazy,” he said. “But it’s up to you.”

      Hammerlocks. At 12:30 p.m., after a lunch of poached eggs and toast, Soprano Steber turned up at her Met dressing room and began costuming herself as Desdemona. She added a waist-long switch to her blonde hair, got into a “long negligee sort of thing,” and was ready to face the volatile Moor (burly Tenor Ramon Vinay) onstage by the 2 p.m. curtain.

      In her big arias in the first and third acts and her fourth-act Canzone del Salce, her singing was as technically perfect as ever; her pianissimos were downy, though her full voice had its familiar fault, a trace of stridency. Her main worry, however, was “getting through the afternoon without a broken neck. That man [Vinay] is crazy in this role.” She survived two wristlocks and a hammerlock, and managed to display a fair amount of dramatic ability in doing so.

      Sirloin & Champagne. By 5:30, after an hour and 15 minutes of singing, she was back in her dressing room. She rested for half an hour, then downed a 1-lb. sirloin and a glass of champagne, while her hairdresser built up her pompadour for Cosi. After an hour’s nap, she changed into hoop skirts, and adjusted her mind from the tragic 15th century Desdemona to the gaily artificial 18th century Fiordiligi. That done, she went to the piano, vocalized on scales for ten minutes, sang a few warm-up bars from Cosi. By curtain time at 8:15, she was ready.

      In the second half of her personal doubleheader, she sang one of the most technically difficult roles in opera, and sang it as cleanly and brilliantly as she had on Cosi’s first night. At 11:30, after eight curtain calls, Soprano Steber got back to her dressing room and poured herself another glass of champagne.

      • dame ernestine sherman tank

        • Camille

          And a HUGE shout out of thanks to Dame Ernestine Sherman Tank for not only posting that wonderful 1952 TIME article about the formidable talent of Eleanor Steber, but that exemplary Act II duet, done in its entirety and all its glory.

          Have another glass of champagne, Eleanor, for you have earned it!

  • Camille

    Happy Hundredth Birthday TO LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST.