Headshot of La Cieca

Cher Public

  • Cicciabella: I nominate Spen as Ceci’s Number One Superfan. Exhibit A: www.parterre.com. 10:46 AM
  • manou: Ciccia – I am with you even though I am the first to complain about French diction. Netrebko is... 10:43 AM
  • Poison Ivy: Jack, I realize it’s “Soviet shit” but it’s also a lot of fun when the... 10:42 AM
  • manou: Dummy, yes – puppet is more Bunraku Butterfly territory. 10:39 AM
  • Cicciabella: I understand basic opera French (Manon Is not a treatise by Sartre), and you and Monty are... 10:37 AM
  • kashania: I’ve only seen the Bondy Tosca after it was trimmed of some of its vulgar excesses, on two... 10:36 AM
  • armerjacquino: Tosca’s leap is done by a dummy rather than a human lady. 10:35 AM
  • kashania: Interesting. Alagna could certainly handle the music, but temperamentally, he’s much more of... 10:30 AM
  • manou: Puppet? 10:30 AM
  • Feldmarschallin: The hookers used to also pull up their stockings which now isn’t the case anymore.... 10:28 AM

A dandy intermission feature

Once the poor “fell0″ has recovered, perhaps he will join in this week’s discussion of off-topic and general interest subjects.

The dialogue (left to right):

“I must draw the Curtain or his screams will alarm the House. You have no fello feeling, my dear fellos; pray unlace the dear love’s Stays, and lay him on the Couch.”

“I am so frighten’d I can hardly stand!”

“Mind you don’t soil the Dear’s linnen!”

“I dread the consequence! That last air of Signeur _________ has thrown him in such raptures, we must call Doctor ________ immediately!”

421 comments

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Where in the world is the rest of this Butterfly?


    Part of the Ponselle Hollywood screen tests


    More Peru TV

    “The last interview of Renata Tebaldi”





    • MontyNostry says:

      Don’t you love the way that, in a huge, brightly lit studio full of people, Tebaldi and her interviewer (whose acconciatura is nearly as elaborate as hers) strike up a very Latin intimacy? Wonderful!

  • zinka says:

    http://traffic.libsyn.com/handelmania/Soviero_Fedora.act_3.mp3

    But the dumb Met would not grant her even ONE Fedora..The Montreal video complete is just amazing (w.Ermanno Mauro).The very last of the true verismo sopranos…..

  • CruzSF says:

    oedipe, thanks again for the Lille Poppea link. There’s much I like about it, although it’s a little abstract for an introduction to the work. I especially like the scene of Seneca’s death, and the trick with the statue of Mercury was very, very well-done. I also liked the way the tiles started to come apart in Seneca’s house.

    There were some things I didn’t like: the staging-within-a-stage (again), some acting/directing choices that sacrificed musicality for gimmicks (the nurse jumping on a high note, which became a screech; some shouting instead of singing), 45 minutes or so of Act I spent in front of a lowered curtain (which made me think of an ancient version of Lepage’s La Machine, but at a fraction of the cost).

    But I’m glad to have seen it. Hallenberg, Mead, Whelan, Brahim-Djellou impressed me with their voices. Yoncheva & Cencic were good but I thought they seemed distracted by the business they had to do, at some points resulting in harsh top notes.

    • oedipe says:

      Hi Cruz,

      I am glad you enjoyed the Poppea.

      Personally, I very much appreciated Sivadier’s staging. Maybe because I find his elegant, cartesian style a welcome change from the more widespread germanic style of Regie, with its often heavy-handed expressionism…

      The theater-within-theater is indeed a signature device for Sivadier, but many directors have their signature devices (e.g. the historic pageants used by Herheim, or the arena setting with the chorus looking down from above, used by Decker). Actually, this is one my criticisms of Regie today, it is increasingly becoming déjà vu all over again in terms of its repertory of stage devices; which doesn’t mean that the existing ones can’t still be used creatively and effectively.
      And this is, IMO, what Sivadier is doing with theater-within-theater here.

      I see it as a philosophical statement rather than a stage gimmick. The singers -regular guys and gals- come to the theater to work, sit at the bar for a drink or a bite to eat, then start singing/acting, get ever more involved, and finally almost lose themselves in their characters. Sivadier’s idea, as I see it, is that theater can provide a cathartic, meaningful, relevant view of history.

      For Sivadier, a critical look at history allows us to better understand our world. And theater allows us to incarnate history on several levels, e.g. on the level of our perception of the art work as a historic phenomenon, and on the level of our knowledge and perception of historic facts.

      This may be a very French Regie approach. Elsewhere, it is more fashionable to assume that, since we live in a world of incessant evolution and progress, the past is by definition inferior to the future, and history is totally irrelevant to the present; thus, the only stagings that are relevant to today’s audiences (excluding the passéistes) are those that superpose modern themes on old works of art, discarding history as useless and quaint at best (or, at worst, as the repository of ignorance, prejudice, stupidity, barbaric ideas and deeds).

      The way Sivadier integrates historic facts into the very modern staging of a historic work of art, and the way he conveys the idea of a young troupe of singers/actors ambiguously identifying with the fictional AND with the historic characters, made a great impression on me.

      • CruzSF says:

        oedipe, you persuade me that Sivadier is doing more with the staging than merely reusing the play-within-a-play idea (often used today without much thought, IMO). I felt the singers (regular guys & gals) completely (not “almost”) identified with their characters by the end, and this provided much of the horror. I’m not sure I totally accept that their transformations would occur in such a short time frame. When I let myself consider this issue, I felt the staging was weak. When I focused on the performers moment-to-moment (at times, I had to will myself to do so), I found the staging very compelling. However, after awhile, whenever Arnalta (the nurse) came on, I was taken out of the concept. This singer was such a ham and was required (by Sivadier, I assume and hope) to sing in such an ugly voice, I dreaded his every appearance. The opera did end well, I thought, with Cencic and Yoncheva giving incredibly committed performances and intertwining their voices beautifully.

        • oedipe says:

          Cruz,

          I don’t think it is that difficult for a singer/actor to identify completely AND quickly with a character, that’s what these people do for a living, after all. The difference is that here the audience is, uncharacteristically, shown the process by which this identification is achieved.

          But what interested and impressed me most in this staging is the AMBIGUITY of the identification: there are the singers, there are Monteverdi’s fictional characters, and there are the actual historic characters somewhere in the background. Whose identity appears on stage? Who do the singers identify with? What’s the role of the singer’s own identity, as a modern human being reflecting on the historic characters?

          Sivadier gives a lot of importance to this ambiguity when, as an epilogue, he has an actor tell us what eventually happened to the actual historic figures: this is similar to the epilogues of those movies which, although fictional and “unreal” like any artistic endeavor, pretend to be based on a “real” story.

          • CruzSF says:

            oedipe, ah, I didn’t realize the people milling about the stage at the beginning were supposed to be actors/singers. I thought they were “regular guys & gals.” I see I misunderstood your original characterization of them: they are in fact singer-actors shown to be regular people outside of a “performance.” in this light, yes, I see that they would identify with their assigned parts rather quickly. In my original (mis)interpretation, these non-performers falling into character so quickly lent a kind of Lord of the Flies feeling.

          • oedipe says:

            Ha, ha! Among “the people milling about the stage at the beginning”, as you put it, you can actually see practically everybody: Sivadier, the conductor Emmanuelle Haim, Cencic, Ann Hallenberg and much of the rest of the cast…

          • CruzSF says:

            I recognized them. But regular people adopting the “roles” of conductor and director still fits into a concept of art transforming non-performers into artists.

  • WindyCityOperaman says:

    Born on this day in 1857 composer Edward Elgar

    0Born on this day in 1946 soprano Inga Nielsen

    Happy 65th birthday conductor Mark Elder

    Happy 63rd birthday tenor Neil Schicoff

  • Feldmarschallin says:

    The aria for Clorinda was cut. I payed attention today and there is big comotion backstage at that time since di Donato only has 2 1/2 minutes for a costume change. Both performances were sold out so far.