Cher Public

Dream team

Director Daniel Moshel (not pictured) who created the YouTube sensation MeTube, sat down recently—and virtually—to chat with La Cieca (also not pictured.)

La Cieca: I don’t know what your purpose was in making this video but for me it had a very personal meaning, an expression of the private ecstasy a lonely opera fan feels when hearing (or performing) opera music. Is this anything close to what you were trying to express?

Daniel Moshel: Yes, it is very close. The leading character’s will to express himself comes from a strong desire to sing with all his means, so the protagonist carries on, in spite of all the ideas of his mother to “enhance” the setting.  In my eyes these two characters are juxtaposing two celebrated types of YouTube content creators in one story. First are the people throwing out their skill to the public (no matter how good they are),; on the other hand the people who try to get attention by any means necessary (i.e., exploiting themselves). In the research phase we watched so many wonderful, funny and touching videos of enthusiasts singing arias on YouTube. Giving tribute to them in starting the clip this way became the key element of the story.

LC: Was the idea for the video yours or August Schram‘s?

DM: August loves to occupy himself with projects that deal with the fusion of applied arts, film and song. When I came up with the idea and the story/script to the video, he considered it carefully, because he is doing a lot of oratorio music, but soon agreed to do it.  The difference between a Bach cantata and this project couldn’t be bigger; however for August its is equally interesting to explore “a soul searching for God” or “a man trapped by the tyranny of his caring mother.”

LC: Have you two worked together before? Can you describe your collaboration?

DM: We are friends for some years now. Our first project was in 2009 a short movie about the Schubert song “Der Doppelgänger” directed by my wife Stephanie Winter and produced by myself. We plan to put that on YouTube on a later occasion.

LC: Your film is called “a homage to thousands of ambitious YouTube users and video bloggers.”  Can you name some of your favorite YouTube videos of amateur performers?

DM: Among them are a wonderful Russian woman…

and this British guy.

LC: I have also seen the trailer of your film Login 2 Life, and I wonder if you would talk some about the similarities—if any— between virtual worlds and YouTube performance.

Login 2 Life portrays people who have found an alternate home in an online world.  It seems to me that a huge community feels the same on video portals like YouTube.  Both online worlds and video portals are new means of communication, both of which can be used as an instrument to express and fulfill one’s needs and desires.

LC:  Are you in general a fan of opera?

DM: Let’s put it that way: My fan attitude towards opera is growing. When I was a child my greatest opera influence was my mother. Passively I consumed during these days enormous amounts of classical music (especially Giuseppe Verdi). Of course I turned to other music (e.g. NYHC) growing up in my teens. I had to become over 30 to turn back to classical music. Both my wife and August are majorly accountable for this.

LC:  Have you any ambition to direct either opera on stage of films of opera?

DM: In my profession as a director I’m always interested in challenge myself doing something new I haven’t done before, as long the outcome is unique and fulfilling.

LC:  Speaking of unique and fulfilling, my readers have asked for the telephone number of the bearded man in the yellow briefs.

DM: Nikos is on Facebook


    • phoenix

      I am sure you will be able to come up with something even more entertaining!

  • Camille

    Pardon me for asking but son donna e son curiosa: didn’t those hats like this guy is wearing in the foto above go out long ago??? I mean, I remember them from the middle seventies?!?
    Do some things never go out of style?

    • La Valkyrietta


      I am curious aussi, so I will ask if your name was chosen for the courtesan or for the composer. Sorry to be so curious, but I never know weather to think of Greta or the Danse macabre. Any answer is fine with me, preferably the truth, dear.

      As to hats, I am not an expert on fashion. That lady who writes her diary detailing what she wears every day would have something more interesting to say about the topic, but I did find a clip on vintage men’s hats.

      • Camille

        My father was a 19th c. history buff and teacher and my mother played the piano, as do I.

        I was named for the notorious Camille Pleyel, née Moke, the innamorata of Hector Berlioz. The gal who flipped his wig when she was forced to break their engagement whilst he sojourned in Rome (it was her ambitious mother’s fault) and therefore made it possible for him to go on to meet Miss Harriet Smithson, whom he stalked as if she were a deer, succeeded in bagging, and married. They lived unhappily ever thereafter and produced issue, a son. He left her for a bad singer named Marie Recio, with whom he first took up residence and then, when Harriet died, made an honest woman of.

        So, no Camille Saint-Saëns, nor a tubercular courtisane, as many here have imagined whilst deriding me with a COUGH. Just a bad gurl who played the piano, just as Our Own Camille of Parterre Box does, and happily so, beneath her gild-edged framed lithograph of Empress Eugénie with the court of fair ladies surrounding Her August Eminence. I dare say, they look down on me with favour…specially when they hear me playing Berlioz.


    • Gualtier M

      That leather biker look started in the late fifties with Marlon Brando in “The Wild One” and never went out of style in the leather community. The rubber fetishwear tank top is also rather timeless.

      As for Camille -- I thought she was named for Camille in Corneille’s “Les Horaces”. I will personally never forget Rachel famous performance of Camille’s “imprecations” at the Comedie Francaise. But I digress…

      • Camille

        Oh Marlon Brando; that would explain it. Timeless and never go out of style, like the Stanley Kowalski tee-shirt in “Streetcar”.

        So then, Mercadante’s Camilla in Orazi e Curiazi is based on a Racine play? That I did not know. Shame on me.

        Merci beaucoup, veal seduttore!

        • Gualtier M

          Just for you Camille, your own “imprécations” from Corneille’s “Les Horaces”:

          “Rome, l’unique objet de mon ressentiment !

          Rome, à qui vient ton bras d’immoler mon amant !

          Rome qui t’a vu naître, et que ton coeur adore !

          Rome enfin que je hais parce qu’elle t’honore

          Puissent tous ses voisins ensemble conjurés

          Saper ses fondements encor mal assurés !

          Et si ce n’est assez de toute l’Italie,

          Que l’Orient contre elle à l’Occident s’allie;

          Que cents peuples unis des bouts de l’univers

          Passent pour la détruire et les monts et les mers !

          Qu’elle même sur soi renverse ses murailles

          Et de ses propres mains déchire ses entrailles !

          Que le courroux du Ciel allumé par mes voeux

          Fasse pleuvoir sur elle un déluge de feux !

          Puissé-je de mes yeux y voir tomber ce foudre !

          Voir ses maisons en cendre, et tes lauriers en poudre,

          Voir le dernier Romain à son dernier soupir,

          Moi seule en être cause, et mourir de plaisir !”

          (Horace, Acte IV, Scène V),

          Pierre Corneille

          This speech provokes Camille’s brother to kill her on the spot. Camille Saint-Saens made a vocal scena of this text for concert performance. This is also the scene that made Rachel Felix a star.

          • Camille

            Je pleure de joie…[sanglot]

            Merci mille fois, mon vieux chéri! Je vous adore.

          • La Valkyrietta


          • Gualtier M

            Thank you Valkryrietta for the video. The girl is talented, the boy is cute and you get to look at his feet. I think I recognize his costume from the production of “Antigone” by Sophocles for which my mother made the costumes on her Singer sewing machine.

            The boy is playing Horace as a psychopath with an incestuous longing for his own sister -- chacun a son gout. I read on Wikipedia that the critics didn’t like Horace murdering his own sister since he lost the innocence of a true classical tragic hero. Corneille held his ground and wouldn’t rewrite it. “Le Cid” (also an opera) has the theme of “honor” and the unnatural vile things it forces people to do against their own human nature.

        • luvtennis

          I love that opera! The Opera Rara recording with Nelly M. is wacky good fun! Have a listen and you will be humming those tunes all day.

        • luvtennis

          I always think of you, Dear Camille, as sitting in your boudoir and looking just like Greta G. (as she looked at the time the film was made).

          Have I got it right?

          • Camille

            It is simply beyond my ken to besmirch your felicitous vision.

            It may be recounted, and in all honesty, that during a period of my youth there was a time when I plucked my eyebrows to effect those of Garbo’s (after having seen a slew of her films at LACMA). Once, even told by an actor boyfriend that I resembled a thirties actress! Terriibly flattering coming from him as he frequented the Hollywood world.

            That is about all I have to say on the subject other than to observe we are all subject to the forces of time and gravity, even Buffy and Camille. And even GG.

            Thank you so very much. I appreciate your kindliness and courtesy, balm for the soul in a cut throat world.

  • Camille

    I apologize to La Cieca for my wild variances from the topic she has set herein.

    The girl can’t help it. Forgeef.

  • redbear

    Madrid has just announced their season. “Brokeback Mountain”- the Opera -- by Charles Wuorinen is on Jan 28 -- 11 Feb. 2014 with Tom Randle and Daniel Okulitch and some others.

  • rapt

    Thanks for this interview, LaC--a real gift. The material is fascinating, and I hope you might expand it into an article for a wider audience (if that were imaginable) than Parterre. I wish I were an editor, so I could commission you to write it--no one more qualified, and I don’t know a better writer.