Headshot of La Cieca

Cher Public

  • Cicciabella: I don’t know if he’s ever sung it, but, based on his Otello and other Verdi roles,... 3:09 PM
  • rapt: Giacometti, however, would only sing with extremely thin sopranos… 2:52 PM
  • Fidelia: Thanks for your reply, Bill. Mr F agrees with you, and although a great admirer of Vickers thinks... 2:46 PM
  • Camille: Badly behaved vestal virgins are the BEST kind! Wouldn’t you be badly behaved if all you had... 2:42 PM
  • Camille: We mustn’t carry on any longer or La Cieca will wonder what we all have got in our pipes and... 2:40 PM
  • LT: Bill, this sounds very plausible. Considering she was going to debut the role of Aida in Rome under Muti... 2:39 PM
  • Bill: Well Pavarotti also sang Radames, at least some performances I guess he is in your first group. Di... 2:37 PM
  • danpatter: It occurred to me while listening to this that a few transpositions might help her enormously.... 2:10 PM
  • NPW-Paris: Le Roi de Lahore is another one I haven’t listened to for ages. If I carry on at this rate... 2:00 PM
  • Bill: Stoyanova already had stated in another interview in German that she had yet a third Strauss Role... 1:57 PM

T’would be a sacrilege to fling at another door

People named Jimmy or Placido don’t seem to know this, but when your brains or your bones send you the message, “Hang up the toe-shoes, Bobolink,” do it!  Next week the regular Met broadcast season begins; the fiction is that for 20 weeks we will all be listening to and chatting about the same opera.  (Yeah, sure!)  That makes this a good week to quit.  

Perhaps by the end of the season, La Cieca will have found someone else to handle the glorified cut-and-paste farragoes I’ve been submitting for the past three years.  It’s been fun supplying the bird droppings to go with your Saturday morning coffee, but instead of regaling you with my ernest-but-pitchy rendition of “When I Have Flung My Thongs to You,” I will revisit my columns of the past seven years and select what I consider to be the prime pellets.  As Farragoes, so goes the notion.

THE ENCHANTRESS from Moscow  (11:00-2:00 LRT KLASIKA, 2 F.K.) Spare me the playground nyah-nyahs.  If you’re going to misquote me, do me the dishonour of not reading me first.

DIE WALKURE from Berlin, with Petra Lang as Brunnie. (12:00-4:30 DEUTSCHLANDRADIO KULTUR, no data to rate, but it makes me cringe just to think about it.) I just wrote about this for my blog.  Go read my blog.  Somebody, please, read my blog and tell me what I think.

MARIA STUARDA from Houston (1:00-4:30 WFMT American Opera Network, no data to rate, but the reviews were good.)  In order to face JDD and Katie van Kooten, I’m going to have to have another cassis.  Or three.

FAUST from ROH (1:00-5:00 CBC TWO, 3 F.K.) Since I am so young and inexperienced (cuteness implied) I really shouldn’t say anything, but it strikes me that the confibulation of Grigolo’s hopilature meshes implausibly with Gheorghiu’s intessability.

THERESE and LE JONGLEUR DE NOTRE DAME (1:00-5:00 ESPACE MUSIQUE, no data to rate.) I remember seeing Mary Garden as Jean.  Perfect technique.  She’d be singing still if she hadn’t died.

Massenet’s LE MAGE from Saint-Etienne (1:00-5:00 FRANCE MUSIQUE, no data to rate)

O 2 B
A meta pea
Now that Trig
Lives here

DER FLIEGENDE HOLLANDER from Bayreuth (1:00-5:00 KBYU, 3 F.K.) Who you callin’ a “f*ing Brit,” Four-Eyes?  I’m Norwegian.  And maybe some Scottish, I dunno.

RIGOLETTO from Turin (1:00-4:00 NPR World of Opera, 3 F.K.) I don’t care what you hear on the radio; I was in the theatre.  I SAW it, and I say it stank.

DIE ZAUBERFLOTE from Berlin (1:00-4:00 NRK KLASSIK and P2, 3 F.K.) Do you realize that in Australia there are actually some people who have never EVER even seen ALEXANDERPLATZ!!!

ALCESTE (1:00-5:00 RADIO 4 NETHERLANDS, 2 F.K.) Dumb opera.  Dumb singers. Dumb people who like it.  Dum de-DUM dum DAHHHHH!

MESSIAH and Mendelssohn’s “LOBGESANG” SYMPHONY (1:00-5:00 RTP ANTENA 2, no data to rate) “You’re a fishmonger.”  “No, YOU’RE a fishmonger.”  “No, YOU’RE  a bigger fishmonger.”

Faure’s PENELOPE (1:00-4:30 WRR, 1 F.K.) Oh dear, I so want to hear this, but I fear that in the middle I shall have to trundle my bleary eyes and elegantly sagging breasts off to to toodle-bye land.  Love and kisses to all.

ATTILA from San Francisco (1:00-5:00 WQED, 2 F.K.) I was going to fly out to see this, but then I figured that if it was any good, they’d bring it to New Yawk.

THE TSAR’S BRIDE (1:20-4:00 DR P2 KLASSISK, 2 F.K.) So you’re saying that when I call someone a fat tone-deaf bitch, I’m being  a racist?

GOTTERDAMMERUNG from Budapest (1:30-6:00 BARTOK RADIO, no data to rate.) Irene Theorin is The Greatest.  Not as Greatest as The Greatestest Hildegard, of course, but a lot Greatester than some Greatests who are somewhat unGreatester than others. Listen for her use of voce di cloaca ™ in Act Two.

OBERON (1:30-5:00 CESKY ROZHLAS VLTAVA, 2 F.K.) My fantastically wealthy employers just bought me the nicest gift.  I think they called it “Delaware.”

A VILLAGE ROMEO AND JULIET (2:00-6:00 ESPACE 2, 1 F.K.)  We saw this in the theatre.  Not our local theatre; we waited until it was playing half a continent away.

LA BOHEME from Orange with Vittorio Grigolo. (2:00-6:00 KLARA, 3 F.K.) Better cross your legs, honey; you’re confusing the cat.

LES EPREUVES DE PIERROT L’HEBREU (2:00-4:00 MUSIQ3, no data to rate.) This opera reminds me of what Figmar Gdzrz wrote in 1407:  “Gnoif!  Gnoif! hyftrosve Gnoif! Mmbteyrtds znichyb uonf.”  It’s more beautiful in the original Urdu, but I use the Kurd translation which is more accessible to the average reader.

SCHWANDA, THE BAGPIPER (2:00-5:00 HR2 KULTUR, 2 F.K.)  If you know, really KNOW Schwanda, der Dudelsackpfeiffer, you don’t need to know anything else.

TRISTAN UND ISOLDE (2:00-6:00 RADIO TRE, no data to rate.)  I wish they would do Tristan in Santa Fe.  This steady diet of King Roger and Maometto II is starting to cloy.

DIE MEISTERSINGER from Vienna (2:30-6:00 RADIO OESTERREICH, no data to rate.) Well, they’re doing this one at AVA next season, but I’m pretty sure they’re using the student version scored for kazoos.

L’ELISIR D’AMORE from ROH (2:15-6:00 BBC 3, no data to rate, but rumored to be pretty good)  Omigawd, L’ELISIR D’AMORE, I’m such a fan.  And Robert Alagna! OOoooooohhhhhhh, my Gawd!

See you in Chat, everyone, and thanks for fourteen wonderful years of joyous plagiarism.


  • kashania says:

    If were BABs were Karita Mattila, this post would be the equivalent of her final Markropolous at the Met. Brava diva! We anxiously await your comeback.

  • The_Kid says:

    Off-topic and all that, but I wanted to post a tribute to those who went kicking and screaming into that good night in the 1980s. may they rest in peace, knowing that we haven’t forgotten them.

  • rysanekfreak says:

    Betsy Ann,

    As always, thanks for your postings about the Saturday operas. The Massenet “Le Mage” was (for me) the event of the week. If I still had cream, I would have creamed my panties during the Act V finale, if I still wore panties.

    “Le Mage” = “Esclarmonde without the laughs.

  • rysanekfreak says:

    Freudian Slip du Jour….

    Duff Murphy was playing his opera bits and pieces this Saturday morning on KUSC, and he introduced Calleja singing an aria from “Fedora” by Barbieri.

    Afterwards, he did not correct himself, so I guess no prissy queen in the SoCal area called him up and pointed it out.

  • louannd says:

    Thanks, Betsy, forever.

  • marshiemarkII says:

    Carissssima Betsy, you ain’t going nowhere dahlink cause we need you too much. You ARE camp!
    As a short term absence send off here is the greatestestestest of all greatestester of greatestetestestest of the ONLY opera:

    Listen to that glorious ease with which she sings this most ferociously difficult music, for the first time EVER.