Headshot of La Cieca

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So what’s the deal with the Dew Fairy?

And so in fact Renée Fleming, celebrated soprano, musical ambassador and riffmeister (known among the cognoscenti as “La Esilarante”) has followed through with her announced plan to collaborate with Chicago’s celebrated Second City comedy troupe, all in the name of opera reach-around, uh, outreach.

88 comments

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Opera Chic points out that Dolce&Bannana have foot the bill for the addition of Italian MET titles to be added to the languages in the MET auditorium. Yes, I know that people are often assisted by reading text that their ears can’t detect clearly when expanded by music or garbeled by singers but none of this aids in developing listening skills in the opera house. I’d rather read my Ipad in a wonderful place if the titles are all I can rely on in the opera house.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    and have you heard the abysmal music used as background music for both presidential candidates. Hideous. At least Clinton had a catchy tune and he was right: yesterday’s gone! Good luck to all. I wanted to find something grotesque, but this will have to do:

    • PushedUpMezzo says:

      For something grotesque try Katie Derham discussing the Last Night of the Proms with Danielle de Niese (or “that gushing brunette” as the Telegraph reader calls her). At least she wasn’t on stage.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/proms/9528592/Proms-2012-Last-Night-of-the-Proms-2012.html

      Mr Calleja’s hyper-sensitive and beautifully vocalised Nessun Dorma was a joy.

      The Mattinata with violin obbligato wasn’t bad either

      • MontyNostry says:

        PUM -- Derham and DeNiese were clucking away like two trumped-up overpainted matrons, weren’t they? Grotesque.

        I like Calleja, but the choice of repertoire was a bit odd (as was the entire concert, which was even more messy than usual), and I think he is best suited to gentle melancholy, not to big Puccinian passions.

        • MontyNostry says:

          … and, if the BBC is worried about an ‘elitist’ image for classical music, those two — with their silly frocks and their affected accents (De Niese is entering Jessye territory on that front, but without the senior diva’s aplomb) — are just cementing populist prejudices.

        • oedipe says:

          I think he is best suited to gentle melancholy, not to big Puccinian passions.

          I think so too! Calleja is wonderful in belcanto and gentle lyric roles . But he simply doesn’t have the temperament and the stylistic heft for Calaf or Cavaradossi. His Faust at the Met was misguided, in spite of some stretches of beautiful singing. And he has plans to sing Don José (who DOESN’T?), another highly dramatic role. Dommage!

          • PushedUpMezzo says:

            I could agree with you that he shouldn’t be doing full Turandots all season, but I found his Nessun Dorma such a lovely change from the usual squillo bellowing. And the words were all there. DDN incidentally doesn’t know the literal translation of the first words of Nessun Dorma (Let none sleep -- the subjunctive, I think?). And the concert set-up was the usual Eton Mess, made worse by the BBC constantly encouraging you to switch over and see other events in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (who drew the short straw with Hayley Westenra) or Kylie in Hyde Park, who I missed completely. The whole thing is now very embarrassing and should come with a health warning that this is not really Classical music in any accepted sense.

          • manou says:

            PUM -- Eton Mess is a delicious confection of broken meringues, cream and soft fruit, and so is the Last Night, indeed “not really Classical music” (capital noted), but an occasion for the Prommers (who have attended a month-long series of very serious Classical music, often in very uncomfortable circumstances) to let off steam and have a bit of a lark too.

            People who do not normally attend or listen to Classical music do tune in to the Last Night, and who knows, maybe a few of them will have been encouraged to try something new as a result.

            You are of course absolutely right to deplore the whole gallimaufry from a strictly serious point of view, but as D.H. Lawrence said: “It’s bad taste to be wise all the time, like being at a perpetual funeral.”

          • MontyNostry says:

            manou, fair enough about making it an occasion to let off steam, but why, then, those typically flaccid Delius songs and, frankly the elegiac arias from Werther (in quaint French, didn’t you think?) and Tosca?

            And, PUM, it doesn’t surprise me that DDN got things wrong on ‘Nessun dorma’, but I couldn’t bear to listen properly to what she was saying in, as Arabella might say, ‘dem exaltierten Ton der Mama’. Frankly, she gave the impression of being in an advanced state of sexual excitement. She is so damn stage-school.

            And one can’t escape the patronising Ms Derham. She is presenting today’s R3 unchtime concert from the Wigmore, pronouncing all the foreign words on the tips of her teeth, so to speak.

          • manou says:

            Monty -- the Delius was part of the 150th anniversary celebrations (and appropriately called “Songs of Farewell”).

            I do think the smörgåsbord programme is worked out to include all kinds of different types of music to please one and all -- there were 6,000 people in the Albert Hall, 40,000 in Hyde Park, plus all the regional concerts so a huge audience to cater for.

            I am not even going to say a word about Alfie Boe…..

      • Agnese di Cervia says:

  • Clita del Toro says:

    OT: The beast, ACD carries on about Parterre on opera-l:
    Subject: Re: Parterre Box Clarification
    From: “A.C. Douglas”
    Reply-To: A.C. Douglas
    Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2012 02:35:38 -0400
    Content-Type: text/plain
    Parts/Attachments:

    text/plain (75 lines)

    stuart meadows wrote:

    >Also I must say, although this is not directed at you [Bob Rideout], the
    >discussions [on Parterre Box] do not degenerate into personal abuse and
    >name-calling as they often do on this list for the simple reason that the
    >blog owner [James Jorden aka "La Cieca"] does not allow it….

    That’s a flat-out lie and you’re a flat-out liar and you know it. What you
    mean is there’s no personal abuse and name-calling of those of whom you
    approve, and La Cieca does not allow such personal abuse and name-calling
    directed at those of whom he approves.

    I was by no means a member of La Cieca’s “cher public” and logged onto
    Parterre Box only to correct those PB members who inaccurately brought me or
    what I’d written elsewhere into the conversation. Here are examples from
    Parterre Box of “no personal abuse and name-calling” the last time I did
    that, all of them from but A SINGLE thread:

    === Begin Quote ===
    ACD is an ASSHOLE (and not a pretty one)!

    [H]e constantly puts down italian opera and singing, which he does to gain
    attention and controversy.
    ——————————————————————
    ACD? A type of VD exhibiting aspects of both the syph and the clap. It’s
    more annoying than deadly. By all means take appropriate measures against
    the horrid thing.
    ——————————————————————
    Seriously. All I can come up with is “Abcessed Compulsive Disorder.”

    (to which another Parterre Box member responded:) Pretty spot on.B____…!
    ——————————————————————
    [ACD's] turgid, cliche-mongering prose style is about as “snappy” as that of
    Charles Krauthammer, unless of course you meant “snap” to connote a
    deteriorative venereal disease.
    ——————————————————————
    Oh ew, ACD’s here. But ACD, we actually discuss live performances that we’ve
    attended and recordings/videos we’ve listened to/watched, so this might not
    be your place.
    === End Quote ===

    My response to that last comment — a comment posted by none other than the
    notorious “Poisonivy” of Opera-L fame — was:

    === Begin Quote ===
    Of course it’s my place, you poisonous little twit, if only to keep live
    opera snobs such as yourself in line.

    See how that works?

    Why, of course you do.
    === End Quote ===

    For which response La Cieca, knowing full well I’d never permit it and would
    instead never again attempt to post a comment on Parterre Box, PUBLICLY put
    me on moderation. Needless to say, none of the above insult-spewing PB
    members received even so much as a knuckle-rapping public reprimand for
    their foulmouthed personal abuse and name-calling.

    --
    ACD

    • oedipe says:

      Gee, I had no idea Opera-L could be so entertaining!

    • armerjacquino says:

      I don’t really know who ACD is and have never posted on opera-L, but I remember this incident (it was on a particularly bad-tempered thread under a Fleming review, iirc) and I’m pretty sure that

      “La Cieca, knowing full well I’d never permit it and would instead never again attempt to post a comment on Parterre Box, PUBLICLY put
      me on moderation. “

      isn’t true.

      I’m sure I remember an angry post in *response* to having been moderated.

  • grimoaldo says:

    Good memory, aj!

    http://parterre.com/2011/12/06/rodelinda-regina-del-primo-piano/comment-page-2/

    I notice that he starts off in typical form by saying he is antipathetic to Haydn’s music, Debussy is limp-wristed, diffuse and repugnant, Italian opera in general and bel canto in particular is a failure, and does not deny that he called for Gerald Mortier to be murdered.

  • WindyCityOperaman says:

    Born on this day in 1939 soprano Judith Nelson

    Happy 73rd birthday bass Hans Sotin

    Happy 68th birthday baritone Sir Thomas Allen

    Happy 65th birthday director David Pountney and composer Adriano Guarnieri


    Happy 63rd birthday soprano Françoise Pollet

    Happy 55th birthday tenor Laurence Dale

    • Camille says:

      Bonne anniversaire à la très grande artiste, Mme. Françoise Pollet:

      C’est si un peu en retard….

      • Camille says:

        In Memoriam

      • stevey says:

        That was just lovely, Camille! Thank you. La Pollet is wonderful, isn’t she? I absolutely love her rendition of this aria (even better than Crespin). Such a rich, deep, plummy, BEAUTIFUL voice…:

        All my best to you, as ever!! :-)

        • Camille says:

          Stevey, two selections from Guillaume Tell:

          And this, which I saw on Christmas Day 1995, an unforgettable performance by Maestro Chailly et al.:

          I don’t know what the story is about her performances at the Met—what went wrong or right—but it is a shame she wasn’t more in evidence here. She is a rather rara avis.

          All the best to you, stevey, and please don’t just lurk! I miss you when you don’t come around. Next up, Cleopatra’s Death!
          Yours truly and affectionately, Camille

  • WindyCityOperaman says:

    Born on this day in 1659 composer Henry Purcell

    Also born on this day in 1922 singer Yma Sumac

  • WindyCityOperaman says:

    Born on this day in 1938 mezzo-soprano Tatiana Troyanos

    Happy 64th birthday tenor Luis Lima