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Wang Center

The immortal Mae West, celebrated for her Dalila, had a curtain speech she recited following performances of her play Catherine Was Great: “I’m glad you like my Catherine. I like her too. She ruled thirty million people and had three thousand lovers. I do the best I can in two and a half hours.” Now it seems the NYCO’s Duchess of Argyll will have to make do with a mere 25 lovers  in the company’s production of Powder Her Face—instead of the originally planned 88. The reason: the stage at BAM is too intime to accomodate that many naked men. [Daily Mail]


  • 1
    metapindar says:

    88, for the keys of a standard-length piano? I dunno. I think they could have accommodated 88 men, if they STACKED them.

    • 1.1
      m. croche says:

      This is how you handle 88 men. For most people, in most jobs, this is probably very NSFW. If it’s okay at your job, well, then … for future reference please don’t have me whacked.

      • 1.1.1
        perfidia says:

        “Kill Bill” would make a great opera. But who could do the material justice?

      • 1.1.2
        The_Kid says:

        Well, it HAD to have something new in it, since the plot was ‘inspired’ by “The Bride Wore Black”, which QT has repeatedly refused to admit.

  • 2
    phoenix says:

    I would like to know how it sells tickets.

  • 3

    I’m wondering if the audience will be bribed with free Polaroid Land Cameras.

  • 4
    kashania says:

    What I find bizarre is that they’re only coming to terms with BAM’s stage size now? It’s one thing to have a miscalculation and shave, say, 10 men off the list. But to go from 88 to 25 points to a level of cluelessness that’s not encouraging.

  • 5
    La Valkyrietta says:

    I’m confused. The paper article on the opera says the Duchess of Argyll was mentioned in the Cole Porter song You’re the Top. Mae West and her shoulder are certainly mentioned on that song, but the Duchess of Argyll or Margaret Campbell don’t seem to be. Perhaps they were mentioned in the lyrics for the song that PG Wodehouse wrote for the London production of Anything Goes, but I can’t find those lyrics on the Internet or on youtube. What to do, what to do, what to do.

    • 5.1
      La Cieca says:

      Well, there was the parody lyric Porter wrote, with a number of references that might apply to the dear Duchess:

      You’re the top!
      You’re Miss Pinkham’s tonic.
      You’re the top!
      You’re a high colonic.
      You’re the burning heat of a bridal suite in use.
      You’re the mound of Venus,
      You’re King Kong’s penis,
      You’re self-abuse!
      You’re the arch
      In the Rome collection.
      You’re the starch
      In a groom’s erection…

      • 5.1.1
        MontyNostry says:

        Porter really was a genius. He’s even classy when he’s being crude.

          armerjacquino says:

          I had been an enthusiastic homosexual for many years before I realised that Porter was having a bit of an in-joke with ‘But if baby I’m the bottom, you’re the top’.

      • 5.1.2
        La Valkyrietta says:

        Is it true those lyrics from a review were written by Porter himself? There have been many parodies of his songs. I enjoy the various verses of You’re the Pits :).

        Anyway, I found the Wodehouse allusion to the insatiable lady in the change he made for the London production of Anything Goes of the line

        “Your’re an O’Neill drama, you’re Whistler’s mama.”


        “You’re Mussolini, you’re Mrs. Sweeny”.

        There she is!

        I wonder what Porter thought of that change as he was not happy at all with Coward writing alternate lyrics to Let’s Do It.

    • 5.2
      manou says:

      La Val -- it is obvious that La Cieca (and Cole Porter) have to have the last word with the wonderful alternative lyrics quoted here, but the originals are in fact widely available all over the Internet.

      There are variants, including as you correctly surmise the PG Wodehouse changes:

      “P. G. Wodehouse anglicised it for the British version of Anything Goes. Amongst other changes, he altered two lines from “You’re an O’Neill drama / You’re Whistler’s mama!” to “You’re Mussolini / You’re Mrs Sweeny” (from Wikipedia).

      Of course, it helps to know that the Duchess of Argyll was first married to Charles Sweeny.

      • 5.2.1
        La Valkyrietta says:


        Thank you. I guess I was writing as you were so our posts coincide in information.

        I’m still curious what other changes Wodehouse made. I would love it if there is a verse with Jeeves in it :} .

    • 5.3
      The_Kid says:


      YT is your friend!

  • 6
    MontyNostry says:

    Only the Daily Mail could run an article about an opera and not mention the composer until the very last line.

    • 6.1
      cosmodimontevergine says:

      Would a man with “a voracious sexual appetite” have been so ridiculed in 1963? I’ve always thought the Duchess was unjustly treated. Years later she revealed to a close friend that “the only polaroid camera in England at the time belonged to the Ministry of Defense” of which Duncan Sandys was head(less) at the time.

      • 6.1.1
        armerjacquino says:

        The other sex scandal in the UK around 1963 was Profumo, and no, it wasn’t the sexual appetite that was the problem, it was the possibility of espionage. It’s very possible that the Keeler stuff wouldn’t have come to light without the Russian connection.

        And then we wouldn’t have had the greatest line ever spoken in a court room: ‘Well he would, wouldn’t he?’

  • 7
    bassoprofundo says:

    Nasty. Imagine all the diseases she had.