Cher Public

Evil mutants

“Lyric Opera of Chicago announced today that the respected stage, film and television actor Patrick Stewart will co-host The Second City Guide to the Opera on Saturday, January 5 with internationally renowned soprano and Lyric Opera creative consultant Renée Fleming…. Fleming will perform with live musical accompaniment, and both she and Stewart [pictured] will share emcee duties and appear in satirical vignettes.” [Broadway World]

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Was this mentioned here on Parterre yet?

    Lyric chorus master resigns
    Chicago Tribune, November 17, 2012

    After only 3 1/2 months on the job, Martin Wright resigned Saturday as chorus master of Lyric Opera of Chicago. He is departing for “health reasons,” according to a company spokeswoman, who refused to elaborate. The resignation is effective immediately.

    Wright’s abrupt departure comes at an inopportune moment for the company, which still has six of its nine scheduled operas to present this season.

    An interim replacement will have to be brought in to prepare the Lyric Opera Chorus for a wide range of works, none with a more demanding choral component than Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg,” which will open in February.

    • Buster

      I hope he is well -- he is greatly missed in Amsterdam.

  • Clita del Toro

    Speaking of jokes, does anyone here know of this “soprano”--or heard her record?

    Florence Morrison: “Sings Puccini Arias.” Giampaolo Bracali conducting
    the “New York Heritage Symphony Orchestra.” Ca. 1982. Stereo 1521, unnamed
    12 inch LP. In the 1980’s Madame Morrison herself would bring copies of this
    privately-produced disc, also once available on cassette, around to local
    New York stores, which would purchase a few to resell to the cognoscenti and
    fans of vocal sincerity and dedication. The recording has apparently not
    been transferred to compact disc, but in 1995 it was still featured each
    week by the diva on her local public access cable TV interview program, “The
    Florence Morrison-Richard Roffman Show,” for which she always wore an
    extravagant hat; she introduced each segment with the same spiel: “We are
    the longest running talk show on cable TV -- 23 years -- I am a spinto soprano
    specializing in Verdi and Puccini roles -- I recently performed the role of
    Leonora in ‘Trovatore’ at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Shell and sang ‘Tosca’
    in Rome with the Rome Opera Orchestra and Chorus, so we always start the
    show with a selection from my album, ‘Florence Morrison Sings Puccini.'”
    In November 1997 she showed up at a lecture about American opera singers
    wearing a flamboyant, zany outfit, and during the question and answer
    period, asked the lecturer if he thought a diva with a voice of the beauty
    and size of Rosa Ponselle’s, “capable of filling the vast reaches of the
    Metropolitan Opera House,” would get anywhere today. She did not mention who
    the specific diva was, but revealed the name in a letter she later handed
    the lecturer. Beginning, “You stated…that determination was one of the
    traits that the great singers of the past had.” The letter goes on at
    length, chronicling her own difficulties in obtaining a Metroploitan Opera
    audition on the big stage, as “…the only way to fully hear the powerful
    projection and color of my voice, and my ability to carry over a full
    orchestra, and fill a hall as large as the Met.” Thus the mysterious diva
    with the soi-disant Ponselle voice was, according to her…. her! As of
    this writing, she has still not had her Met audition on the big stage.

    • Ilka Saro

      Yes, she used to appear from time to time on Manhattan Public Access talk shows back in the 80’s. But she doesn’t hold a candle to artists like Mari Lyn or Olive Middleton.

    • Nerva Nelli
    • Gualtier M

      La Morrison:

      “Excitement is what opera is all about”

      • Camille

        That was not only bracingly edifying, but more fun than you could shake a stick at—for which I say grazie, Gualtiero. Could this possibly be the Ur-source of Saturday Night Live, I wonder?

        Any chance you know about UNCLE FLOYD, and is there any surviving morsel of his shows available? Monsieur Camille has regaled with stories of him and it would be lovely to see something.

        • lucy brown

          Uncle Floyd??? Now THERE’s a blast from the past! My brother once did an internship as a cameraman for his show, and was there on the fateful day when, as he was being punked by his staff, Floyd totally lost his cool and let go with a barage of F-bombs…during his live children’s program. He had a sidekick, too, whose name I don’t remember, who went to school with my sister-in-law. Only in New Jersey…

          • Camille

            Well, lucy brown, your winning streak continues as Uncle Floyd LIVES again! At least, every Sunday afternoon on some radio station out of, where else?—Joisey! Everything you ever wanted to know about the best sausages on Arthur Avenue, etc., as it’s an “Italian-American Hour” kinda show. Don’t know what station but try ’em all on a Sunday when you are having a nostalgia trip. Lots of fun music, some of it even Good! My husband just loves it and subjects me to it ‘coz he remembers when Uncle Floyd used to have punkers on the show, etc & yadda, uadda, yadda.

            Happy hunting!

          • Gualtier M

            Camille the tv show that was on NJ cable from 1974 to the early 90’s has very excerpts up on Youtube. Also, there is a “Best of Uncle Floyd” dvd that is on streaming Netflix. I watched the show back when occasionally. One of the guests of the show was a heavy metal hair rocker called Jon Mikl Thor -- Mr. Camille might remember him. He was a huge bodybuilder with Farrah Fawcett’s coiffure and a male stripper wardrobe. Visually the perfect Jung Siegfried.


          • Camille

            O thanks a lot, caro Gualtier!!! Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Thanks so much for all your wonderful previews for they are very helpful!

        • lucy brown

          Here’s to you, dear Camille…Happy Thanksgiving! (And oy, is this a turkey!)

          • Camille

            Lucy brown—
            The radio show is out of New Rochelle instead, from a station with the letters WVIP, I kid you not! Monsieur Camille was indignant I did not give you correct information so I am appending this. Remember he is on early Sunday afternoons. He does not play the piano but announces.

      • Clita del Toro

        I like the way she sings. Reminds me of Magda Olivera. lol

        • Camille

          Not enough chest voice.
          Clita darling, happy UNturkey day to you tomorrow. What do you eat, TOFURKY?

          I will be Monsieur Camille’s cook slave for the next day, so I just wanted to say happy holidaze to you and send a big cranberry flavored kiss


  • Nerva Nelli

    “Fleming will perform with live musical accompaniment”

  • Clita del Toro

    Thanks, Ilke and Nerva.

  • zinka

    …but didn’t La Cieca always consider her a MUTANT..(See under “Under the Rainbow” and “:I could have danced all night.”

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Paris Opera did this years ago with this complete production of Turandot with Caballe and the evil princess (complete on Youtube)

    • MontyNostry

      I was there, twice I think. I can’t remember much about Caballe’s Turandot, but Leona Mitchell made a gorgeous sound and poor Giacomini (a very underrated singer, I have come to realise) got booed -- I’ve never known why. Those pesky Parisians.

      • oedipe

        NOW they all love Giacomini. You don’t understand, Monty: you have to be dead, or retired, or disliked by everybody else, in order to be loved by Parisians!

        • MontyNostry

          I remember thinking at the time that they were booing at him for not being Pavarotti, who sang Calaf to Montse’s Turandot in San Francisco previously. The Paris show was the Rorshach test production, wasn’t it.

          • oedipe

            Yes, that too: “Why is the Paris Opera always hiring mediocre casts? The very good singers rarely come here. And when they do come, they don’t sing well!”

      • phoenix
        Giacomini, like many favorites around here, was an instinctive (and moody) artist whose vocal qualities were not usually very well captured on recordings. It wasn’t because he sang so long (which he did) -- his performances were always of variable quality, even in his prime in the 1960’s-70’s. I remember going to see him at the Met in the late 1980’s expecting a disaster -- I was sitting in a grand tier box, 2nd back from the stage and I couldn’t believe the incredibly smooth, beautiful penetrating sound he produced -- it was as if it was coming at me from every direction -but mostly from heaven.
        -- However, people would buy tickets expecting an inspired performance (that of course he did give on many an occasion) only to be very disappointed if he was not ‘on’ that night. IMO to my ears, very few of his recordings or youtube clips capture his all-encompassing seduction of tone as well as his very personal, uniquely sensitive commitment to style (but some come closer than others). On a good night, there was no artifice, only art -- BUT on a bad night, it was as if he was just 1/2 there -- like he would sort of walk through it, half marking half-barking, saving himself for some section in the later part of the opera.
        -- Now let us remember the great singer he really was on his better nights.

        ………… A Giacomini fan

  • manou

    It is a truth generally acknowledged that in order to prove one’s superiority one must denigrate any performer or performance that is too popular or loved by too many. Only by worshipping at the altar of les neiges d’antan or the arcane can one claim to be a cognoscente.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      This is a universal truth.

      • armerjacquino

        It is a fundamental truth.

    • Clita del Toro

      Yes, I do it all the time.

      • manou

        Clita, you are not only superior, you are the Mother Superior.

        • Clita del Toro

          Manou, you are too kind. lol

    • norma54

      Manou……. you have just described 99% of the critics.

  • Clita del Toro


    I am going to be very bad tomorrow and eat turkey. As a vegetarian, I already feel guilty.

      • Clita del Toro

        lol--no, a really turkey!

        • Camille

          Clita Darling! Have a BIG turkey leg and don’t feel guilty—--just subtract three Vermouth Cassis for each bite!

          Love you, my darlingest Clita! Have fun!

          • Clita del Toro

            Mostest Cammiestest, great idea!

            And you have a wonderful Thanksgiving too


  • Clita del Toro

    Just talked to Leonora da Pin-Yenta, who was at the Aida rehearsal.
    He said that Monastyrska has a very big voice and was fabulous in the title role.
    So, we’ll see on Friday. Should be exciting.