Headshot of La Cieca

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The story is short, but to the point: this soprano has been “sacked” from a major opera house’s gala Puccini revival. And ya know why? Because she’s been “faffing and messing them about,” whatever that means.


  • Tubsinger says:

    OFF TOPIC: Lili Chookasian is reported dead by NY Times. 90 years old…

    • Ilka Saro says:

      The complaint “faffing and messing about” is decidedly not American english.

    • sterlingkay says:

      Boy she does have a tendency to leave opera companies high & dry, doesn’t she? One wonders whether the MET will even bother anymore since she’s already backed out of three productions she had agreed to. We’ll see if she shows up for the Scala LOHENGRIN in December.

    • sterlingkay says:

      Interesting how that ROH press release is worded…they could’ve easily just said she’s unable to appear, but they make a point about her backing out of agreed-to rehearsals. This seems to be her M.O.— she agrees to a rehearsal schedule and then just wants to show up the day before to do the performance (which, of course, is what she gets paid for—singers are not paid for rehearsals). I know there are extenuating circumstances (aren’t there always??) but it does seem like she’s “messing people about” a bit.

      But would this BOHEME really be considered a GALA revival?? Maybe La Cieca is referring to something else…

    • grimoaldo says:

      Sounds like this is the one to me.
      “Faffing about” = wasting time, doing something trivial or other than what you ought to be doing, being disorganised.
      “I wish you’d stop faffing about on the internet and do something worthwhile”, for instance.
      Definitely a British colloquialism.

    • armerjacquino says:

      ‘The story is short’

      ‘La storia mia e breve’

    • FragendeFrau82 says:

      I am so sorry to hear this because I am a big Harteros fan, and everyone knows about her husband’s health problems and the fact that these contracts are arranged so far in advance but I do find it odd the ROH makes this decision AFTER public booking has opened and many tickets were sold on her casting.

      • sterlingkay says:

        Well…to be fair, they had no way of knowing Harteros wouldn’t show up to her contracted rehearsals. Sounds like one of those deals: “I’ll be in London tomorrow”…doesn’t show up…”I’ll definitely be there tomorrow”….doesn’t show up. etc. It’s clear they fired her from the ROH release.

      • Tenorfach says:

        Excuse me, I doubt very much the production is sold her name or mainly on her name.

        Firstly there were/are still tickets available to most dates and secondly, Calleja as Roldolfo is a big draw for many, too.

        If she looses out, it is her own doing, sadly.

        • armerjacquino says:

          Celine Byrne sounds lovely, from what I hear on YouTube, so here’s hoping for a ‘star is born’ moment.

          But I’m very aware that I’ve splashed out on tickets to see Harteros twice in half a year and ended up seeing someone else on both occasions.

          • Maury D says:

            April Mills:Aprile Millo::Celine Byrne:Csilla Boross?

          • ilpenedelmiocor says:

            The only reason I don’t hate on her is because they actually allowed refunds when she dropped out here, and I took it — well, that and the thing with her husband. But they will definitely never try to engage her locally again.

  • tannengrin says:

    Hm. What’s Angela up to these days?

  • Camille says:

    When was it that Bruce Willis last had that much hair??

    Well, “ya know” is being employed so I will take a wild guess and say it is La Racette? Perhaps in Tosca….

  • Clita del Toro says:

    OY: Gramophone’s “Hall of Fame” lol

    Gramophone Hall of Fame

    Conductors Claudio ABBADO ? John BARBIROLLI ? Daniel BARENBOIM ? Thomas BEECHAM ? Leonard BERNSTEIN ? Pierre BOULEZ ? Wilhelm FURTWÄNGLER ? John Eliot GARDINER ? Nikolaus HARNONCOURT ? Herbert von KARAJAN ? Carlos KLEIBER ? Otto KLEMPERER ? Simon RATTLE ? Georg SOLTI ? Arturo TOSCANINI

    Singers Janet BAKER ? Cecilia BARTOLI ? Jussi BJÖRLING ? Maria CALLAS ? Enrico CARUSO ? Joyce DIDONATO ? Plácido DOMINGO ? Dietrich FISCHER-DIESKAU ? Birgit NILSSON ? Luciano PAVAROTTI ? Elisabeth SCHWARZKOPF ? Joan SUTHERLAND

    Pianists Martha ARGERICH ? Claudio ARRAU ? Daniel BARENBOIM ? Alfred BRENDEL ? Glenn GOULD ? Vladimir HOROWITZ ? LANG LANG ? Murray PERAHIA ? Maurizio POLLINI ? Sviatoslav RICHTER ? Arthur RUBINSTEIN

    String/brass players Dennis BRAIN ? Pablo CASALS ? Jacqueline DU PRÉ ? Jascha HEIFETZ ? Yehudi MENUHIN ? David OISTRAKH ? Itzhak PERLMAN ? Mstislav


    Producers/record label executives John CULSHAW ? Walter LEGGE ? Ted PERRY

    • La Cieca says:

      You seem to disagree with most of these. Or are just indulging in a little uptalking?

      • Clita del Toro says:

        No, the dots in the original appear to have become question marks when I copied it?? I hate uptalking. Don’t only women to that?

  • Clita del Toro says:


    Singers Janet BAKER (?) ? Cecilia BARTOLI (OY!)? Jussi BJÖRLING (YES)? Maria CALLAS (YES)? Enrico CARUSO (YES)? Joyce DIDONATO (Not really) ? Plácido DOMINGO (never)? Dietrich FISCHER-DIESKAU (OY)? Birgit NILSSON (aybe) ? Luciano PAVAROTTI (?) ? Elisabeth SCHWARZKOPF (?) ? Joan SUTHERLAND (YES)

    This is totally ridiculous.

  • Liz.S says:

    My initial thought was Pappano vs Nebs, but can this be about Ms G. (Rondine) @ the Met?

    • Liz.S says:

      Ah, I was so off -- left the page open for a while and didn’t see the entries… sorry!

  • dcrazmo says:

    Seriously? Operas singers at her level aren’t paid for rehearsal time? Genuinely curious to know how these things are negotiated.

    • FragendeFrau82 says:

      Makes all that arriving ‘at the last minute’ more understandable, to me.

    • sterlingkay says:

      Nope….they’re just paid for performances. I just read an article with Jonas Kauffman in the New York Review of Books and he pretty much says that he will be doing more revivals rather than new productions since the rehearsal periods are shorter and he only makes money on the performances.

    • justanothertenor says:

      Actually, I believe ROH is under obligation to pay a rehearsal fee, albeit small. It is one of the few companies in the UK to operate under the rules of Equity, and therefore they must pay something for rehearsals…

      • CarlottaBorromeo says:

        I’m quite certain Madame Harteros’s fee would be several thousand pounds above the cut-off level below which, under the union agreements, weekly rehearsal money is obligatory. The Royal Opera does negotiate rehearsal payments for higher-fee artists depending on the length of the rehearsal period. For a thrown-on revival like this Boheme I very much doubt any rehearsal fee would be offered.

        Interestingly Covent Garden is not yet saying publically that the Russian import Colline, Yuri Vorobiev, will not be appearing -- he failed to get a visa!

      • anninadondevieni says:

        All the main opera houses in the UK pay a rehearsal fee, and it is generally comensurate with the performance fee.

  • brooklynpunk says:

    Is “faffing” around something done by, or to, a giant who then turned into a dragon??…

  • Porgy Amor says:

    Many of these people are not favorites of mine, but only a few stand out as objectionable on some level beyond personal taste. Barenboim as a HOF pianist? Lang Lang…really? Among the singers, I’m not sure what Bartoli has done to merit being in that company, and DiDonato (whom I love) seems premature — no more or less HOF-worthy, yet, than many others on the scene today.

    Oh, it was a selection by readers’ vote. Never mind.