Cher Public

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.

  • ianw2

    Oh honey, the stories I could tell you from Alexanderplatz…

  • Camille

    Chortling Out Loud.

    You are not going anywhere, Sistah Wife Betsy—Annamae. We won’t letcha. You is the glue that helps keep this dysfunctional family together.

  • Nerva Nelli

    Betsy, you and Licia furnish a wise lesson SOME--ah, je ris!--choose to ignore: quit with dignity and hair intact before they start hurling radishes.

  • oedipe


    Great gallery of family portraits, though I can’t say I recognize all of them.

    • bluecabochon

      Fabulous! Brilliant, especially the haiku. I wish I could crow that I am in this list, but I don’t see it. Maybe I lack crucial insight?

  • phoenix

    C’mon -- don’t go away -- the razor sharp wit I’ve encountered in your columns -- masterclasses in the art of how to defend myself from the next Principesse Turandot who shows up.

  • phoenix

    ‘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.’
    -- Ah Bobol! Your impeccable taste and judgment will be sorely missed. In reference to your above comment, I have read several phony, gushy, coffee-table style english language reviews (the ‘everything is so marvelous’ type thing --> apparently aimed at U.S. Barnes & Noble victims as well as a certain Chicago bordello owner) of the performance referenced above, but only one of them seems to approach your intuitive vision:
    “Petra Lang: Brünnhilde, Rollendebüt. Schwarzes Glamour-Kleid, effektvolle rote Mähne. Führt sich mit ausgelassenen Hojotohos ein (burschikos angeschlenzte Hs und Cs). Nicht eigentlich eine hochdramatische Stimme, urteilt man nach Festigkeit und Gewicht der Stimme sowie nach Schallkraft in der Höhe. Das geht gut im 2. Akt, weniger aber im 3. Wow, sie singt die Brünnhilde von “Hojotoho! Hojotoho!” bis “Auf dein Gebot entbrenne ein Feuer” mit ermüdungsloser Stimme. Tolle 2. Szene im 2. Akt (“Sieh, Brünnhilde bittet”, dann “Zu Wotans Willen sprichst du”). Die unvergessliche farbliche Nuance gelingt ihr eher nicht.”
    -- Verantwortlich: Anton Schlatz -- here is a link to the entire review:
    -- BTW Mme. Bobolinque, so where’s the blog you mention in your astute observation above? I am searching around but somehow I am the missing the link (or maybe I am the missing link?) … .

    • manou

      Phoenix -- Betsy has sketched various spoofs referring to some of the posters here -- this particular one is about somebody who likes to convince others to link to their own blog. No malice intended I am sure.

      For instance, Oberon refers to Ruby.

      You guess the rest!

      • phoenix

        Thanks very much manou -- I wasn’t absolutely sure, but I suspected such -- at any rate, if anybody around here deserves a successful blog it would certainly be la Principesse Bobol.
        -- manou, what would I do without you to guide me through the web of complexities I encounter so often?

  • To misquote another great diva on her farewell:

    We luff you Betsy, we have alveys luft you!

    1000 grazie cara!

    • celmo

      With a variation on the Spanky and Our Gang classic -- Saturdays will never be the same.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    • Clita del Toro

      Callas and Lauri-Volpi

  • la vociaccia

    Thank you betsy for starting my day right- with Ponselle.

    This video only has 600 views (after 2 years), which makes me sad and depressed.

    • la vociaccia


  • Max Freischutz

    These are damned hilarious, and I don’t even get half the references. I’m going to start telling people with a straight face that Schwanda is the chewy center of the operatic art.

  • 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.

    • operalover9001

      Hope BAB didn’t accuse LC of running the site like the Gestapo though…

  • The_Kid

    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

    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

    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

    Thanks, Betsy, forever.

  • marshiemarkII

    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.