Cher Public

And painted birds do hush their singing

[Ian Bostridge on Twitter]

  • Clita del Toro

    I don’t tweet or use Facebbook. I don’t understand what they are for and how to use them. I was on Facebook for a day!

    • brooklynpunk


      While I don’t “get” Tweeting, all that much ( I only have a very basic cell-phone-no Iphone/smart phone-- and my i-pod Touch only has wi-fi capability- so unless I am in range of a stream…tweeting is useless..), What I REALLY don’t “get”, is someone ( SUCH AS IAN B, HERE..) actually Tweeting that they don’t understand how it works…DUH…!!--ROTFLMAO!-- IT AIN’T REALLY BRAIN SURGERY…!

      FACEBOOK , on the other hand, RULES…!

      • Clita del Toro

        LOL Bklyn. Perhaps I should try face book again. But why???

        • brooklynpunk


          It all basically boils down to one’s tolerance for spending (too much) time on-line, in front of the screen..I was a pretty late-bloomer, in computer stuff, but find myself somewhat hooked, now, to some of the “social-media” sites such as Facebook.. there actually are a number of interesting musical/cultural/political/ (sexual…lol)/ stuff and information.connections that can be made…

          • Clita del Toro

            Bklyn: I spend too much time on opera-l, Parterre and listening to opera on Sirius and the net. Sometimes I don’t even leave my condo. My bf thinks I am crazy— and I probably am.
            I went on Facebook and then didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to look up old friends because I am still in touch with the ones I like.

            I did go for a walk today and am going to see In *Search of Haydn* at the Siskel tonight.
            If I went back to Facebook and got hooked, I would certainly die in front of my computer??

    • mrmyster

      Facebook is for teenagers, period.
      Besides, if you have heard Bostridge sing you will know
      that he is very adept at tweeting! Indeed so! That’s
      about all he does.
      I think he must be joking here.

      • Clita del Toro

        Meister LOL

        • Often admonished

          Of course he Tweets. It’s only a question of preparation and tessitura.

      • armerjacquino

        Facebook is for teenagers, period

        Well, 54% of its 629 million users are over 26, but I suppose you can prove anything with facts.

        • Clita del Toro

          Perhaps Myster means people who are teenagers at heart.

          • armerjacquino

            In all seriousness- social media have no intrinsic value of their own, it’s all about how they’re used. If you follow boring people, Twitter will be boring; if you follow interesting ones, it won’t.

            Equally, on a daily basis my facebook friends post links to interesting articles, youtubes, events etc. I’ve found out, and read and seen and heard, shedloads of things thanks to social media that I wouldn’t otherwise have come across.

          • mrmyster

            Why yes, Clita! Like Nerva, the world’s oldest teenager!
            :) Relax, Nerva, just spoofing you.

        • derschatzgabber

          Amen to Amerjacquino’s post.
          With Facebook, as with other potential sources of entertainment or pleasure, “it’s all about how they are used.” I don’t post much on Facebook myself, but I have many well read friends who do post links to interesting articles. I feel like I have a little army of reference librarians guiding my daily reading.

        • Bluessweet


          Sad to say, while “facts”, are often misapplied to prove a point, worse still are the “facts’ that are totally made up for the same purpose, to which supply most politicians have ample access.

      • brooklynpunk


        Just so you know…Christine Brewer posts constantly , on FaceBook.. and she’s a LITTLE removed from her

  • Clita del Toro

    Last week we discussed LHL. I am now listening to von Stade in Werther from 1988 (it seems like a million years ago lol). In a way LHL and von Stade kinda remind me of each other except that I find von Stade’s singing more beautiful and moving.
    Btw, I adore Kraus here.

    • figaroindy

      I was all excited, thinking we were going to discuss the Vaughn-Williams “Linden Lea” -- one of my favorite art songs to sing…then, I realized sadly it was just a good title for the item, but had nothing to do with Vaughn-Williams. Now, I’m humming to myself!

      • figaroindy

        Argh -- forgive me -- VaughAn-Williams, not Vaughn-Williams!

      • peter

        Figaroindy, his songs of travel are fun to sing as well.

        • figaroindy

          Agreed -- I’ve sung them all separately for years, but never as the full cycle -- I think I began singing Vagabond over 20 years ago -- UGH!

          I’ve always loved “Bright is the Ring of Words,” too.

  • oedipe

    Seen on twitter:

    “Twitter is now six years old, and so is the maturity level of most of its users.”

  • CruzSF

    Parterre is like an older, subject-focused, long-form version of Twitter or Facebook, especially if one posts several times a day here. Except that it’s harder to keep one’s identity anonymous on those other two platforms. If you can understand this, you can understand those.

    • armerjacquino

      Yes- very well put.

    • oedipe

      Yes, Parterre, Twitter and Facebook are all social media. But the difference between a site like Parterre and the 2 others is like the difference between Katherine Jenkins and, say, Renee Fleming. It’s not just a matter of age and extent of repertoire. But some people don’t see the difference: they are both divas…

      • armerjacquino

        Oh dear, are Twitter and Facebook really as infra dig as all that? Not the kind of place any self-respecting parterrian should find him or herself?

        Someone really ought to tell La Cieca to delete her facebook page and the parterre twitter account…

        • oedipe

          I have nothing against Katherine Jenkins, Armer.

  • Facebook means a lot to me though I am not a constant user. I am able to talk with many of my dear nieces and nephews who end up being quite awkward on the phone. I also have made friends with several folks across the country who LOVE opera and music. We send each other music and share our love for our fave singers and post clips from faves and olden days, and then there is discussion about TV, recipes, politics, etc; there is no end!
    I am with Ian on Twitter though. Don’t need it.

  • Camille

    One would suppose or conjecture that, what with Mr. Bostridge’s singular area of studies at college, he would be especially adept at all forms of:

  • DonCarloFanatic

    I love hanging around a blog where someone says “infra dig.”

    Tweeting is fun during #operaplot. Otherwise, half the people I’ve followed want to tell me what cereal they’re eating for breakfast.

    The advantage of tweeting is that strangers can reply to your tweets because they’re interested in the topic. Then they can become new acquaintances. This does not work if your tweets are dull. Conceivably it could work if you start ranting about how much you hate a certain mezzo.

    Facebook is very useful for keeping up, sparingly, with former colleagues, old school chums, and even a neighbor from a prior address. Facebook friends aren’t close enough to write letters or send e-mails. It’s not that sort of commitment.

    I know (slightly) some people who are desperate for lots of “Likes” on their Facebook page, thinking that will somehow sell their products. No, it won’t.

  • Just a little about Facebook: it was through Facebook that I became a fan of Aprile Millo. Not of her singing (I was/am too young to have seen her in her prime) but as a person. She makes a lot of gracious posts wishing singers well before their debuts or an important HD. I find it sweet that she still keeps up with the opera world and is gracious about today’s singers. I realized that she’s a good writer and a funny lady.

    • I should say that first of all, how inspiring it must be to have Ms. Millo contact you (if you are a young singer), and, also, that I use Facebook for staying in touch with primarily Canadian and American singers who have pages, wishing them the best in their endeavors, and to share congratulations after I’ve seen their performances. Some of them are a HOOT! One of the sweetest and dearest of them is Lisette Oropresa, who I am looking forward to hearing as Lucia in the fall.

      • I’m not a younger singer but I find it nice what Millo posts. I also like Facebook because it allowed me to reconnect to people I thought I had lost.

  • mirywi

    I doubt A. Millo considers herself as deep in the past as some younger folks apparently do.

  • The Wistful Pelleastrian

    I understand the appeal of Twitter (miniblogging), but I’m inclined to agree with Matt Labash and Jennifer Egan about Facebook:

    There is one promise I’ve made to myself. And that is that no matter how long I live, no matter how much pressure is exerted, no matter how socially isolated I become, I will never, ever join Facebook, the omnipresent online social-networking site that like so many things that have menaced our country (the Unabomber, Love Story, David Gergen) came to us from Harvard but has now worked its insidious hooks into every crevice of society. Facebook was recently declared more popular than porn. But who are they kidding? Facebook is porn. With porn, you watch other people take off their clothes and abase themselves in public. On Facebook, where there’s technically an anti-nudity policy (thus defeating the whole purpose of the Internet), you get to figuratively do the same. T]he reason to hate Facebook is because of the stultifying, mostly mind-numbing inanity of it all. If Facebook helps put together streakers with voyeurs, the streakers, for the most part, after shedding their trench coats, seem to be running around not with taut and tanned hard-bodies, but in stained granny panties with dark socks. They have a reality-show star’s unquenchable thirst for broadcasting all the details of their lives, no matter how unexceptional those details are. They do so in the steady, Chinese-water-torture drip of status updates. The very fact that they are on the air (or rather, on Facebook) has convinced them that every facet of their life must be inherently interesting enough to alert everyone to its importance.

    I think Facebook is colossally dull. I think it’s like everyone coming to live in a huge Soviet apartment block, in which everyone’s cell looks exactly the same.

    • brooklynpunk


      WHAT Jennifer Eagen are you referring to?-the author of “Visit from the Goon Squad”?( a wonderful novel, btw…)

      If so, that is VERY she has her own FACEBOOK PAGE, which is heavily “hit” on, and which she responds to ON A VERY REGULAR BASIS…

      BTW.. it is generally accepted practice, when quoting others.. to offer some sort of attribution, if at all possible, so one can check the accuracy of the quote..and the context, as well…

      • brooklynpunk

        … THAT SHOULD HAVE READ ..EagAn….

      • The Wistful Pelleastrian
        • brooklynpunk


          Matt Labash writes for the EXTREME RIGHT WING “Weekly Standard”…so I’m assuming the ridiculous l spew against stuff emanating from Harvard was his “delightful” scribble…no?

          • The Wistful Pelleastrian


            I don’t read ANY right-wing publications and I had no idea who Labash was when I first read his piece. My original source for what I quoted is from ACD’s blog:


          • Clita del Toro

            I would never click on the vile ACD’s blog. Just the idea gives me the creeps.

          • The Wistful Pelleastrian


            A minor correction to my earlier post:

            There is one woman associated with a very conservatively biased publication and whose commentary on opera I love: Heather Mac Donald. Now, I wouldn’t go as far as saying she’s “perhaps the best writer on opera on the planet” since I haven’t seen enough reviews of actual operas, but her “decimation of the outrageous conceits and pretentions of Eurotrash Regietheater”… always strikes a deep chord with me.

            One anonymous commenter put it:

            There seems to be no arena of modern life immune from the follies of modern “progressive” thought. I personally find the politicization of the arts a tragedy. We need to pay attention to the vocalists and the orchestra and stop fawning over the productions. It’s time someone stood up for those who originally conceived, wrote, composed, and staged operas. I want to see and hear what the librettist and composer had in mind when they worked to produce a piece. I do NOT want that vision occluded by the political and social vagaries of another period.

            (As an aside: my ideal opera team (in terms of entertaining reading) would be comprised of Ms. Mac Donald, our own JJ, Peter G. Davis and Manuela Hoelterhoff… And always covering the same works)

          • brooklynpunk

            All I can say, TWP…

            …is that we will HAVE TO …in the very wise words of our doyenne on this site.. to RESPECTFULLY agree to DISAGREE , about your choices..with the EXCEPTION of JJ, --OF COURSE…!

            The others you mention just give me extreme indigestion….LOL…!!

            ..but… “each to his/her own….”

    • Harry

      I agree entirely. I will not subscribe to Facebook or Twitter hence I do not have a pile of imaginary computerised friends. As well, I do not own a mobile phone and more so, refuse to. I do not have iPad or an mp3 player, so download companies can stick all their crushed download music.

      Therefore I can claim full membership: as a in -- member of ‘the out and out crowd’. All one has to do, is stand around long enough and one will see others, busting their gut for similar membership, too.

  • A. Poggia Turra

    I find it extremely interesting that, in all of the above posts, no one has mentioned the “P” word -- privacy. And I mean “privacy” in both the sense of not wanting to make it easy for corporations to track people’s movements on the web, and also of personal privacy.

    I understand the business models of companies like Facebook, Google et al -- they want to make it the social “norm” to openly sharing all aspects of one’s life -- all the better to sell advertising. I wonder how many of the people happily “sharing” their lives of quiet desperation on Facebook and using Google’s free email services realize that Messers Zuckerberg, Page, Brin etc actually OWN all of the content that they are posting? I’m personally quite adept at keeping up with people who I have meaningful (social) intercourse with, and have no real desire to read about the minutiae of basically-uninteresting people’s lives (or to share my own with an adoring public) .

    Unlike Facebook, I find Twitter useful as an aggregation service. Someone above mentioned using FB to have “friends” recommend interesting articles, links and the like. I use Twitter for that purpose -- reading the tweets of the New Yorker magazine, for example, can alert you to a interesting article or topic -- the point being that I can make the choice to either follow the link, or to ignore it. I don’t ‘tweet’ myself -- what for?

    One thing I should also mention is that I have no desire to have a “personal” relationship with the entertainers (everyone from opera singers to athletes) whose work I admire and follow; I really prefer the “fourth wall” to remain firmly in place. I find it more interesting to read an informed pundit’s opinion about a performance or a sports match than the self-serving public relations-oriented, anything but spontaneous postings of so-called celebrity Twitter participants.

    A few articles on the privacy aspects of social media:

    10 Reasons to Delete Your Facebook Account

    Why I Deleted My Facebook Account

    Four Potential Crashers of the Social Media Party

    • Henry Holland

      Great post.

      One thing I should also mention is that I have no desire to have a “personal” relationship with the entertainers (everyone from opera singers to athletes) whose work I admire and follow; I really prefer the “fourth wall” to remain firmly in place

      You’re probably talking about online with “personal” relationships, and I agree, but I apply that in “real life” too. Years ago, I got to meet after a show one of my very favorite rock musicians, one of the guys who inspired me to pick up the bass guitar and learn how to sing.

      I wanted him to sign a poster--I gave him the pen and then out of nowhere he started yelling at me to “hold the fucking thing right” and “why the fuck can’t you hold it right?”. I died a death, I literally think a part of my soul died on the spot. He signed it, I ran away and that poster sits in a tube in the corner of a closet, never to be framed.

      I’ve given up about privacy online, I just assume that if Google wants my personal info, they’ll get it. I joined Facebook for a day to see if some old friends from high school were still alive (they are) and I deleted it after that. It still took almost two days for me to finally convince their bots that I was serious about leaving. Really, really aggravating.

      As for Mr. Bostridge, he was a terrific, heartbreaking Gustave von Aschenbach at ENO in 2007, so I’ll always have that memory of him.

      • Clita del Toro

        Unlike certain people on this site, I would not have liked (and don’t want) a personal relationship with any of my idols.
        Unless there was was a real relationship (old friend, relative, business associate, lover) with them, I’d rather just dream or read about them.
        I especially would not want to know them or force myself on them as a fan.

        • Camille

          Yes, but Clitissimo--you receive “tweets” from both Callas and Garbo! How do you explain that? Lol. LoveU.

          • Clita del Toro

            Cammie, dear, it’s simple. They are Goddesses and know how much we love them.

          • Camille

            I truly hope they do know and that they rest in santa pace in their respective heavenly realms. Xxxooo2U2CDT.

    • armerjacquino

      Why the inverted commas around ‘friends’? I don’t interact with strangers on FB. Among my FB friends there are precisely three people I’ve met less than a hundred times (and those three are all people I already knew from other social media sites like this one).

      And yes, I’m aware of the privacy element too. But that applies to the whole of the internet. Never post anything online that you’re not happy for the whole world to see.

      As far as ownership is concerned: I await the day when Marc Zuckerberg sues me for printing off that photo of me on the beach in Bournemouth.

    • maddalenadicoigny

      This is such a great post. I stay on the sidelines but really appreciate the links.

    • Camille

      A Poggia Tura !!
      Must express my gratitude for gathering together and posting this very useful and pertinent information. Gracias!

      Can anyone say for sure that Gmail is, indeed, not private, as inferred above? I was about to abandon my old e-mail account for Gmail , but now I think NOT.

      Internet is a scary world even if some things are quite astonishing and wonderful.

      Thanks. Camille

      • armerjacquino

        Your gmail account will be read by bots which will decide which ads to target you with. It will not be read by any humans (other than those humans you choose to email, obv).

        If you have the presence of mind to ignore the targeted advertising (hint: you probably do) then gmail is a great email client.

        • Camille

          That was certainly a speedy reply, poor Jackie! Zoom!

          Well, although somewhat comforted and contented that only robots would be reading my e-mails, I do think I shall investigate further, although all the best people I know have Gmail and I have been informed that only little old ladles on farms in Iowa have my service.

          What to do, what to do--o bother and worry.
          It’s not my world--but then, nothing is, past Les Enfanta du Paradis. …

  • guy pacifica

    Not to inject an undue note of cynicism into this discussion, but don’t assume that tweets or Facebook posts from celebrities are necessarily personal or authentic. As I write this, I am sitting in a PR agency in which at least two other writers are paid to spend their days writing tweets and posts for other people (i.e., agency clients). These posts are written according to a general narrative arc that is developed by the celebrity and the agency on a quarterly basis to highlight whatever themes and activities are pertinent to the star’s brand momentum. Granted, the agency I work at doesn’t have opera singers as clients, and it may be that opera singers’ management firms allow them to maintain their own social media. But for the most part, you shouldn’t believe that most celebrities wake up in the morning and write their own Facebook posts. They have professional writers and marketing agents for that.

    • Camille

      Thank you for confirming my darkest suspicions, guy!

      Now I shall have to fling myself from the nearest tower since Renee’s musings are not likely her own and my world is adrift and forlorn.

      • Clita del Toro

        I just got a tweet from Maria Callas!

        • “I can, I will, I must!” fits well within the 140-character limit.

          • Rory Williams

            LOL LOL LOL @ Kashania! :D

          • Camille

            I don’t get it … Was bedeutet das? I can, I will, I could, I would etc.

          • Rory Williams

            Camille: Great Callas interview where she sez, “My enemies … If I could … I would not kill them … [thanks for that Maria] but if I can make them go down on their knees to me … If I can, then I will, I MUST!”

          • Camille

            Oh YES, now I know what you mean! Thanks Rory.
            Are you named so on account of Rory Calhoun?

        • Camille

          Oh Clita, I love U!

          Loved the Garbo test yesterday-hey maybe you will get a tweet from her!

          • Clita del Toro

            Cammie, I did get a tweet from Garbo, and she asked me to send you another of her tests:

          • Clita del Toro

            Garbo is so divine, I cannot stop looking at these tests!

  • oedipe

    Now somebody please enlighten me: where on Twitter or Facebook can one find anything approching the variety of opinion, insight and wit of even one thread on Parterre, this one for instance?

    • armerjacquino

      All over both, in my experience; but you won’t believe that because you don’t want to.

      • oedipe


        • ianw2

          Facebook is a tool of communication, nothing more, nothing less. You get out of it what you put in.

          I only add people on FB I know personally, and am also pretty ruthless in doing a six monthly cull (former work colleagues who I no longer speak to, former partners of friends etc…). Even then, to appear in my newsfeed they generally have to be very close friends or post things that are particularly amusing to me (or, I blush to admit, look really good shirtless and go to the beach a lot).

          I’ve been lucky enough to live in several geographically distant location, and FB is indispensable for keeping in touch with acquaintances around the place without having to send a yucky Christmas letter.

        • A. Poggia Turra

          oedipe, I think that the real issue is one of signal-to-noise ratio.

          While everyone understands the primary raison d’être for Parterre’s existence, I feel that the reason it is so successful is the erudition and the wide range of personal backgrounds life experiences of its contributors and readers. Simply put, interesting people make for interesting conversations -- witness the wide range of tangents that the chats often explore ;)

          IMO. one of the issues of communication media such as FB and Tw is the (seeming) incredible amount of chaff and dross that must be sifted through to get to the wheat. This is in no way to condemn those who make FB work for them; it just seem worth it when other strategies might yield better-focused results.

          (To use a hoary cliche, it can be the difference between a fisherman who casts several smaller nets as opposed to the second fisherman who fishes with one huge net -- the big net may catch a larger overall quantity of fish, but the several smaller nets may bring in larger quantities of the species of fish that bring higher prices at the wholesale fish market).

          • CruzSF

            I don’t understand the signal-to-noise ratio complaint about Facebook. You’ll only see news or comments from people that you approve as friends. If you approve everyone, then you’ll have to sift through junk, just like anywhere else (for example, Parterre, Opera-L, or overhearing conversations on the street). If you only mark as friends those people you actually know something about, then you’ll have already sifted through the junk before you start seeing their comments. So when the deep discussions about opera start, you’ll only get the good stuff.