Cher Public

The seasons alter

It takes a lot from you commenters to surprise La Cieca, but this time she was frankly bowled over by the depth and breadth of your imagination. Choosing winners in the “Steel Yourself” competition was one of the most difficult judging tasks she ever set herself, but somehow she managed to narrow the field down to a single superative season in each category.

The donors would have be deep-pocketed indeed, but it would be worth it to showcase the ambitious but realizable season proposed by grimoaldo. For a season of one’s wildest dreams, La Cieca thinks the most tempting is the one offered by ianw2, with the interactive production of Midsummer Night’s Dream in Central Park particularly appealing. Bravi tutti!

ianw2 and grimoaldo are requested to email La Cieca so she may forward to them their richly-deserved Amazon gift card.

  • brooklynpunk

    Many congrats, Grim, and Ian!!

    I’m ready to subscribe to BOTH of your seasons…!!!

  • aulus agerius

    I passed up the opportunity to see Flight in Austin last year. Did I make a mistake? I heard Matthew Rose in a Messiah from Sweden late last year (broadcast) and he was striking!

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      It’s a decent piece for sure, but you know, not life changing or anything.

    • brooklynpunk

    • armerjacquino

      The music is absolutely terrific. The libretto has its moments but gets a little irritating at times. But it’s a great evening.

  • Camille

    Next time I go past the Marine Air Terminal I’ll be on the lookout for your production, ianw! Kudos to you and to grimoldo, too.

  • brooklynpunk


    There IS direct public transit/Bus service (M60?), on a regular basis, to the MAT/La Guardia venue, to boot…!

  • Henry Holland

    IanW2, do you think you can get a work visa (you’re in Australia, right?), there’s going to be an opening at Los Angeles Opera next year. As long as you don’t buy in to the “Hey, if we could only tap in to all that Hollywood money” insanity that previous administrations have engaged in, you’ll be fine.

  • armerjacquino

    Congratulations both- well deserved.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    You’re probably more likely to get some NY premiere of an opera by Chaslin in a co-production with Santa Fe before any of those good ideas were to happen.

  • grimoaldo

    I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to the members of the Acad —err, I mean, thank you La C, I am honoured!
    And the more I have thought of it, the more I really do want to see my season put on and especially that “Patience”!

    mwaah mwaah [blows kisses]

    • Camille

      Grimmy--how could you?
      How could you neglect to thank all us “little people out there in the dark”????? We MADE you a star!

      • And we are fickle fans!! Beware!!!

        Congrats to both of you on your imaginative seasons.

    • derschatzgabber

      Esteemed Grimoaldo, yes your Patience production is inspired. While I was amazed by all 8 suggestions by the two worthy winners, your proposal for Patience is the production I would gladly purchase plane tickets to be able to attend. Lane and Broderick would be a delight in the Act II confrontation, and I’m sure Blythe would bring down the house in Lady Jane’s solo scene. It’s really a shame that Patience is not put on more often. It’s my personal favorite of the G&S cannon.

      • grimoaldo

        Thank you for your comments derschatz and regina!
        I suppose the reason “Patience” is not performed more often is that the satire of the Pre-Raphaelites, the young Oscar Wilde, Swinburne and Whistler, is considered to be dated and audiences would not understand what is being poked fun at. However affectation is a timeless theme for comedy and the whole piece is such a gem that it works whether or not the background is appreciated. Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance had been huge hits in the USA previous to Patience and the producer of the G&S shows, Richard D’Oyly Carte, was concerned that US audiences would not understand what was being parodied. So he sent Wilde on a lecture tour of the USA, a huge success which was extended to a year, as promotion for “Patience”, which was a success in NY when it subsequently opened.

        • derschatzgabber

          Wilde’s American tour brought him to San Francisco (a City I am happy to call home) in 1882. Even in 1882, there was plenty of man-on-man action on the Barbary Coast (With men outnumbering women by about 18:1, what else were the poor boys to do?). It’s a shame we don’t have a private Wilde diary from his time in San Francisco. I think the right author and/or composer could make an entertaining play or opera about Wilde’s potential romantic escapades in 1882 San Francisco. Maybe it could even be commissioned to open your second season at NYCO.

          • whatever

            actually opera company of philadelphia and santa fe opera have co-commissioned a work based on wilde’s life … it will premiere in new mexico in 2013 and then come east in 2015.


          • Camille

            Tooling about in the archives yesterday, I scrolled past a notice from some time ago featuring David Daniels, regarding an upcoming opera to be produced by SFe Opera called “Wilde”. I don’t recall now if it was fact or fiction, but in the event you are interested, it was enttled “You will, David, you will”.

          • derschatzgabber

            Hi Whatever and Camille, I gather that the already commisioned Wilde opera will focus on the trial and time in Reading Gaol. Maybe an “1882 Wilde in SF” opera could be the “Junge Wilde” to the “Wilder-dammerung of the upcoming Wilde Opera. DharmaBray already devised a Rheingold with Wilde as Wotan. Maybe he can also suggest a Wilde-themed Walkure.

          • grimoaldo

            “You will, David, you will”

            which of course is a paraphrase of the remark the US born but British-based painter James McNeill Whistler made at a party when, after Whistler had made a witty remark, Wilde said “I wish I’d said that” and Whistler retorted “You will, Oscar, you will”.

            Whistler is one of the targets Gilbert is satirizing in “Patience” along with Wilde, Swinburne, Rossetti and others. Gilbert also just made up a lot of the characteristics of the rival poets in “Patience”. In fact “Patience” was originally going to be about two rival clergymen, not rival poets, adapted as it like many of the G&S operas from an earlier comic poem by Gilbert “The Rival Curates”. However while in the course of writing the opera the collaborators got cold feet about a whole play mocking the church, remembering how their very mild satire of a middle-aged clergyman recalling his youth in their earlier work “The Sorcerer” (“Ah me, I was a pale young curate then!”) had drawn the wrath of, for instance, Lewis Carroll, who wrote:
            “That clever
            song, ” The pale young curate,” with its charming
            music, is to me simply painful. I seem to see
            him as he goes home at night, pale and worn
            with the day’s work, perhaps sick with the
            pestilent atmosphere of a noisome garret where,
            at the risk of his life, he has been comforting a
            dying man -- and is your sense of humour, my
            reader,so keen that you can laugh at that man ?
            Then at least be consistent. Laugh also at that
            pale young doctor, whom you have summoned
            in such hot haste to your own dying child : ay,
            and laugh also at that pale young soldier, as he
            sinks on the trampled battlefield, and reddens the
            dust with his life-blood for the honour of Old
            England !”
            So it was decided to switch the rival curates to rival poets and satirize the then-current “aesthetic” movement instead.
            Carroll had written to Sullivan before Sullivan began collaborating with Gilbert and sent him a copy of the newly-published “Alice in Wonderland” with a suggestion that they turn it into an opera. Sullivan read it and politely declined, saying that he did not see how that story could be put onto the stage. So maybe Carroll was a bit jealous of Gilbert’s huge success in working with Sullivan. After “The Sorcerer” G&S put on HMS Pinafore, a big hit which when it looked like its run was about to finish, was put on in London with children in all the parts replacing the original grown-up actors and singers. Carroll went to see this version and was shocked by the scene in which the captain, finding his daughter eloping with a lowly sailor, exclaims “Damn me!” and is overheard by the chorus, who are mortified, the joke being of course that it is a very mild oath and sailors are known to curse like parrots. Nevertheless Carroll was so shocked to see children swearing on the stage that he nearly passed out and wrote
            “I have never seen Mr. Gilbert’s clever play
            ” Pinafore ” performed by grown-up actors : as
            played by children, one passage in it was to me
            sad beyond words. It occurs when the captain utters the oath ” Damn me ! ” and forthwith a
            bevy of sweet innocent-looking little girls sing,
            with bright, happy looks, the chorus ” He said
            ‘ Damn me ! ‘ He said ‘ Damn me ! ‘ I cannot
            find words to convey to the reader the pain I felt
            in seeing those dear children taught to utter such
            words to amuse ears grown callous to their ghastly
            meaning. Put the two ideas side by side -- Hell
            (no matter whether you believe in it or not :
            millions do), and those pure young lips thus
            sporting with its horrors and then find what
            fun in it you can! How Mr. Gilbert could have
            stooped to write, or Sir Arthur Sullivan could
            have prostituted his noble art to set to music such
            vile trash, it passes my skill to understand.”
            Anyway I wanted to say that although Wilde of course is very well known for his witticisms, (“Have you anything to declare?” at the start of that very US tour, he was asked, and gave the famous reply “Nothing but my genius”)Whistler could also be very witty. A few favourites --
            To a lady who told him that the landscape they were admiring reminded her of one of his paintings : “Yes, madam, nature is looking up”.
            To an admirer who told him that she knew of “only two painters in the world -- you and Velasquez.” “Why drag Velasquez into it?”
            “If other people are going to talk, conversation becomes impossible”.

          • grimoaldo

            oops, I got a bit carried away there, I did not realise that was going to be so long, sorry

          • derschatzgabber

            To Grimoaldo on his Wilde/Whistler/G&S post. No apologies needed for the length of a post, when the post is filled with as much fascinating information as you provided. I had no knowledge of the issues that Carrol had with G&S. And the bon mots from Whistler brightened my afternoon.

          • Camille

            Don’t apologise! Very interesting stuff that. I had no idea Whistler had wit as well as paintbrushes.

            Hgave you seen the film “Wilde” with Stephen Fry and Jude Law?

          • grimoaldo

            Thanks for comments derschatz and camille and to answer your question cher camille I am afraid I am not a movie goer, at least not for years now so I did not see Fry and Law as Wilde and Douglas, no.

    • Regina delle fate

      Congrats, Grim -- I really want to see that Patience cast!

  • ianw2

    Exciting! This is better than my Latin Grammy.

    • You can use your gift card to buy all the Pelly productions on DVD that you want. Congratulations.

    • Regina delle fate

      Congrats, IanW2 -- whereabouts in W2 do you live?

  • zinka

    At the end of this wonderul film..Cagney becomes “Il Cieco.”