Cher Public

Valley of the doll song

Separated at the 14th Street wig store: drag queen Lady Bunny and Disney princess Diana Damrau.

  • CruzSF

    OMG. What happened to Lady Bunny?!

    • manou


  • armerjacquino

    ‘Gentlemen, start your engines…’

  • pagaen

    I love me some Diana Damrau, I hope the Met will revive their new Les Contes and give her a shot at all 4… (oh how I wish the met futures page was still around)

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      ROFL at the photos. Yes, this is really Barbie in Barbier Land.
      I hope Damrau takes to singing all of the heroines all over the place, but she’s only singing 3 of the 4 in Munich. There, she does not say or speak as Stella. See the ongoing pages here on Parterre:

      As for the MET putting her in their HOFFMANN, she’d have to become a mezzo-soprano Giulietta. It’s hopeless for the MET to ever revise their Sher crapola.

      • Baritenor

        Not necessarily. The current production is based on Levine’s perferred edition, true, but if a diva of Damrau’s caliber sings the 4 (or 3/4ths), they’ve been shown to be accomidating in terms of material. Remember when Ruth Ann Swenson did all four in the Schenk production? Didn’t they give her Gulietta’s aria from the Kaye Edition?

        I guarentee you that if Netrebko had done as she planned and premiered the Sher production in all four roles, the edition would have been substantially different.

        • calaf47

          Ms Swenson did not sing the Giuletta aria…as Michael Kaye & the Met had a “parting of the ways”…and he took back his performing edition…and with him went the aria.

          • manou

            calaf -- I am sorry to say Sonnambula may prove to be a disappointment, and Michael Sheen’s Hamlet apparently has a *happy* ending… Your best bet will be Sweeny Todd.

            (Apologies to all for the personal message)

          • Quanto Painy Fakor

            That is absolutely not true that Kaye withdrew the edition from the MET. Far from it. For two decades, Levine refused to restudy to opera and his people had cast mezzo-sopranos as Giulietta throughout the years of their revivals. No, Swenson did not sing Offenbach’s Giulietta aria. The most the MET has ever done in terms of changing how they perform the opera is to make some inserts from the Oeser edition -- which is what Jimmy knew from doing it in Salzburg. The problem with the old successful MET Schneider-Siemson production was that, for technical reasons as it was originally designed, the scenery for the Giulietta act could not be placed last. When they rebuilt it for their tour to Japan it became possible to put the Giulietta Act in its proper position. Otto Schenk also declined to restudy the opera. One of the staff stage directors, Leslie Koenig, was assigned to direct the next series of Hoffmann performances in NY and just to make it look spiffed up she and Simone Young further falsified the opera at the MET by adding a duet for Dapertutto and Pitichinaccio (!) based on the first version of Dapertutto’s aria. And in all those revivals audiences were hearing the Oeser orchestrations.

            Yes, IMHO, the recent MET production could have been much more interesting if Netrebko had done all of the heroines. They had years to plan it correctly, but she freaked at the coloratura required for Olympia’s exit (previously transposed down for Carol Vaness [no shame in that]) and declined to sing the real Giulietta because she did not consider herself to be a coloratura soprano. That in itself is very strange given the fact that she subsequently performed the Lucia, Puritani and Bolena in NY. It’s sad because with the real Offenbach music Netrebko could have had a triumph as all the Hoffmann heroines. Sher would have concocted something, but at least they would have been performing what Offenbach wrote. I wish they would revise the production, but fear that it’s set in stone.

          • Quanto Painy Fakor

            But also remember that the new MET production was originally announced to be staged by Luc Bondy with Villazon and Netrebko as all the heroines. Then came the tenor’s emotional and vocal collapse. The Traumpaar was a thing of the past. Now Hoffmann is no longer easy for Villazon and the distortions of the version being used in the Munich production are, in part, due to that.

  • oedipe

    Yes, there are similarities, but Lady Bunny’s singing is less tacky.

    • A total waste of demented potential that we know Diana is capable of pulling off. On the other hand, her Amy Winehouse inspired Guilietta seems interesting, of which I have only seen snippets.

    • Andrew Powell

      @oedipe: DD’s singing is far from tacky, but Antonia is the strongest role for her now, when we might have thought it would be Olympia. The Giulietta makes less of an impact in the theater, partly due to the edition used and partly as a result of the (intelligent Jones) staging, which eschews grandeur in Venice. I did not attend the Nov 9 performance, but on opening night and on Nov 4 DD sang with admirable surety (and accuracy) while realizing three sharply contrasted characters. Her efforts were not as well repaid with applause as was the singing of Angela Brower (the Nicklausse) on opening night or Rolando Villazón on Nov 4, and I would say she looked a tad disappointed.

      Munich is using a modified Kaye/Keck, which I took to mean the best-we-know plus “Scintille, diamant” from “Le voyage dans la lune,” though apparently there are further tweaks. The differences between Kaye and Kaye/Keck are fine indeed (and lost on me). The Kaye was put together in the 1980s over a period of years, premiered in L.A. in 1988, tweaked some more, and finally published by Schott in 1992. Keck had little to do, but he is the dude in charge of the grand OEK (with Boosey & Hawkes as its publisher), and, in the late 1990s, he found yet more music for “Hoffmann.” Hence Kaye/Kech — which, like Berlusconi’s departure, is on the cusp but still hasn’t quite happened! When it does happen, maybe in spring 2012, it will be a joint Schott/B&H tome, and hopefully the last word on this opera. I plan to buy a copy, climb up to the loftiest Hörerplatz, and verify, verify, verify to the extent of my skills.

      • amoebaguy

        What Munich is presenting to the public are hardly “tweaks” -- the whole structure of the Giulietta act has been re-vamped and the fifth act (epilogue) is left to just dangle. Offenbach left us with a wealth of marvelous music for the fifth act (all of which can be found in the Kaye edition) yet Munich has chosen to use none of it.
        As far as the Kaye edition being “tweaked” after 1988 -- we must remember that the 1988 premiere (as well as the Tate recording which followed it) was performed only as far as the material which was available allowed -- more discoveries followed and added to the edition to allow fort a complete restoration a decade or so later. The LA Opera premiere represented a milestone on the journey of this edition, not journey’s end.

        • amoebaguy

          By the way, the fact that the new production of Hoffmann in Essen, also based on the Kaye/Keck edition, is getting better reviews that the Munich production is due to the fact that in Essen they are being much more faithful to the edition and to the original scenarios of Offenbach and Barbier therein

  • Never heard it in this key before… Anybody know what’s up with that?

    • No I’m wrong -- Edda Moser sang it in this key. But I’m kind of surprised that DD would… still curious…??

      • Quanto Painy Fakor

        In the main text of Oeser’s edition he mistakenly published the final version Olympia Aria in G-major. It was always in A-flat major in the early French editions of the opera. Offenbach’s initial version of the chanson, dating from the time he was writing the role of Hoffmann for a baritone (but totally different from the famous setting) was in F major. What an amazing singer Adèle Isaac (the créatrice of the Hoffmann heroines) must have been.

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      Oh wow, you’re right! I had not noticed that. Either my piano is out of tune or Damrau is singing the Olympia aria in G-major (one half step down from the original version in A-flat). Damrau also used the simplified G-major version of the Giulietta aria. I’ll have to check the recording of the broadcast to see if they also lowered the tonality for Olympia’s exit. What am amazing singer Adèle Isaac must have been.

      • Feldmarschallin

        Damrau stated in an interview which was given during the intermission on the radio that she lowered the aria a half step since she was going to sing all the ladies and if she would sing herself in for the a flat version she would run into difficulties with the later acts since they require more substantial middle and bottom registers. I guess one cannot have it all or at least not very often (a flat olympia and antonia and giulietta). Now during the third performance on Wed I believe she did add some additional high notes during the reprise which werent there on opening night. I am going again tomorrow and then on the 21.11.

        • Quanto Painy Fakor

          Please tell us if there were cameras tomorrow. Villazon has just been announced as replacing Arturo Chacón-Cruz for the performance on 17 November. Maybe that is the day they are making the video.

          • Feldmarschallin

            was there last night and the house was packed but no cameras. the performance was much better than the premiere and the third performance. Villazon sounded fresher for some reason. She is rock solid. I cannot believe how big her voice has gotten in the middle. She now to my ears is a full lyric soprano. She seems to be going in the way of Popp.

  • Camille

    Doesn’t she look something like a John Waters character? Or is the ‘flip’ hairstyle just reminiscent of Tracy Turnblad, and that’s all?
    Just wondering.

    It is a bit surprising that she sings it down a half step, as she has never shown any fear in the Hoelle Rache aria, but, I guess that to keep things in line for the entire opera she wants to keep her placement a wee bit lower. Interesting that she does so, however. Also, I wonder what voice the creatrix of this role actually had??? I know nothing of this singer.

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      According to various lexicons of famous singers, Adèle Isaac was born in Calais in 1852. She studied voice with Duprez and made her stage debut in Brussels at the Théâtre de la Monnaie when she was twenty years old. She sang briefly with the Opéra-Comique in 1873 (La fille du régiment) and then appeared frequently in Liège and in Lyons. In 1878 she became a popular artist at the Salle Favart, where in addition to creating the heroines in Les contes d’Hoffmann she appeared in Meyerbeer’s L’étoile du nord and the first performances of Chabrier’s Egmont and Le roi malgré lui. Isaac made her debut at the Opéra in a gala performance in which she sang excerpts from Mefistofele and Rigoletto. She sang at the Opéra for only two years, but her roles there included Ophélie in Hamlet, Marguerite in Faust and Les huguenots, the Countess in Le comte Ory, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, the title role in Ambroise Thomas’ Francoise de Rimini, Mathilde in Guillaume Tell, and Xaïna in Le tribut de Zamora. She died in 1915 in Paris.

      • Camille

        Why thank you kindly, caro Quanto.
        That gives me a very good idea of this lady’s abilities. I notice the Francoise de Rimini of Ambroise Thomas, no trace of which I have ever heard and of which I have been very curious. Instead of La cour de Celimene which Wexford revived a short while ago, I wish they would have given the Francoise instead. In my ideal world, that is.

        I had never heard of Chabrier’s Egmont before, either. Hummmm.

        Thank you again, Meister QPF!

        • Quanto Painy Fakor

          You can find the piano-vocal score and libretto of Françoise online in Google books and probably in other digital collections as well.

          • Camille

            Sorry that I never think of these things and happy that you have been so wise and so good as to advise me. I’ll try to get more modern. It is very hard for me to grapple with all this technological wealth of information, it overwhelms.

            Merci buckets, QPF Meister!!!!!!

          • MontyNostry


          • Camille


            this is terribly, terribly off-topic, but in looking about for Thomas’ Francoise I found this instead; fairly astounding for a twelve year old child:

            I had always heard about a MYTH of her singing this aria at that age but never dreamt I would get to hear it. What a voice.

          • oedipe

            We again have different but related tastes: I prefer Jacques!

          • MontyNostry

            But her interpretative skills had deepened considerably by the time she came to recording “A Spoonful of Sugar”.

          • MontyNostry

            She can’t trill. (Nice descending chromatic scale, though.)

          • Thanks, Camille. Boy, the (very) young Julie Andrews sure had some great staccati!

          • Camille

            for your consideration, Monsieur Monty:

            I have never seen this movie. I am rather glad I haven’t.

          • MontyNostry

            And still OT, I’m afraid.
            Shrill singing, but a fabulous video.

          • iltenoredigrazia

            Why was Julie’s voice teacher at that very age? Sounds like child abuse to me.

          • Camille

            Yes, well, this is not as shrill and has some very creative rewriting of the lyrics, but what a singer. I wonder if she only sang in the USSR? There is another recording of D’amor sull’ali rosee by the same artist with better sound, fwiw.

          • MontyNostry

            And as the Georgian poster says: ????? ????????????-???????? ??????? ?????-????,??????? ????????

    • luvtennis

      Worrrrrddddddd! Am I the only person who wept at Divine’s untimely demise. How awful that he didn’t live long enough to see his characters enter the Hollywood pantheon.

      I want an opera based on Polyester. NOW

      • Camille

        Yes, and I would like an opera based upon mulberry silk, please and thank you.

        • m. croche

          Careful what you ask for, Camille -- there are a number of such (Chinese) operas with scenes in mulberry groves. There is a Chinese idiom “Sang Jian Pu Shang” (Among the Mulberries on the Pu) which my dictionary translates as “rendezvous for lovers” or “place notorious for profligacy.”

          • Camille

            Goody! A girl’s delight!!!

            I shall don my best Shantung!

            Quite a while ago, Camille had a wonderful doctor of acupunture/pressure who had worked with opera singers in Shanghai. The acupuncturist told me a few stories about those singers and the amount of maintenance that went on with their throats, to keep them singing. An extreme unction of an art.

            To the mulberry groves I go — to tarry amongst the berries….

    • amoebaguy

      Damrau could have had some great music to sing with high C’s, E-flats, and extended exposed passages, but they cut them in Munich.

  • Camille, Mary Poppins is a wonderful movie. I saw it when it premiered (I saw it at Radio City Music Hall, no less) and I watch it whenever it’s on TV. The Sherman Brothers wrote terrific songs for it. And Julie Andrews is w3onderful (though she won the Oscar for the wrong movie. She should have won for Sound Of Music, an even better movie).

    • I, too, love Mary Poppins. It’s a wonderfully charming and funny film with many good songs. Julie Andrews is very good and she is surrounded by a great supporting cast.

    • Camille

      No, she SHOULD have won for “My Fair Lady” but as she was not cast for that one, they gave it to her for Poppins.

      I’m afraid that the delights of Mary Poppins, unless one is introduced at a young and tender age, are forever thereafter lost to one, especially such a one as I.

      Happily for Sanford and kashania that was not the case.

      • DonCarloFanatic

        I could not understand why my great-uncle went to see Mary Poppins over and over again. Those being the days before widespread Betamax (Huh? What’s that?) and VHS.

        When I finally did see it, I realized the time period in Mary Poppins was exactly when my uncle was a young man with all the future before him. Disney had idealized an era that likely was already bathed in a nostalgic glow in my uncle’s mind. No wonder he adored the movie.