Cher Public

Raspberry sauce

Oh, wait, it gets better! According to a fan site, Dame Kiri te Kanawa is not just playing any old diva on next season’s Downton Abbey, but Dame Nellie Melba herself! La Cieca is sure that you, the cher public, are quivering with anticipation to see how te Kanawa’s intepretation holds up next to those of Evelyn Laye, Linda Cropper and of course our own dear Patrice Munsel.

  • Camille

    Oh my heavens!! I bought this movie at the Met Opera Shop and I LURV IT! It’s for gurls only!

    Highly recommended — even Nerva could learn a thing or three from Miss Munsel!!!

  • Camille

    There is a biography on Dame Nellie Melba entitled “Red Plush and Black Velvet”, upon which I started upon my path as little opera gurl, many decades ago and which provided a good deal of information about this fascinating battleax, I mean, Lady. I just loved the idea of Dame Nellie Melba, then, and still do. She sort of makes Bianca and Nerva seem like Girl Scouts, in comparison.

    I don’t know if the book is still available but if you are interested in high victorian opera drama, well, it is a good place to start.

    • Nerva Nelli

      Melancholy to consider how history denied Bianca the salutary experience of Girl Scouts (founded 1912); it might have prevented her misadventures in the Childrens’ Crusade.

      • Bianca Castafiore

        Ah, so speaks the Cretaceous Cretan Cretin… Remember, Nervosa, as Camille always says, I’ll always be much younger and prettier than you!

        • Camille

          I certainly do NOT say that, Bianchina!!

          And certainly do not make any claims whatsoever regarding my own pulchritude!!! I am far too plain, shy, modest, and humble.


        • Nerva Nelli

          Mendacity from the Melba of the Menhirs!

    • Camille

      I should have said very late Victorian and very high Edwardian. Pardon.

      • Nerva Nelli

        Late Devonian, in la Castafiore’s case.

        • Camille

          Devon cream, to go along with one’s scones at High Tea. At Claridge’s, preferably.

          • Camille

            Too long now amongst the damn Yanks! Forgive me Vicar! It should have been Aftermoon Tea or not at all.

          • MontyNostry

            I went off Claridge’s forever about 10 years ago. There were five of us there for tea and the rather exiguous shared plate of sandwiches only included three with smoked salmon. When I asked for more, they wanted to charge me £10 for the privilege. I said: “I don’t bring visitors from abroad to Claridge’s to have an argument about smoked salmon sandwiches.” They brought them without further discussion!

          • Camille

            Gratifying indeed to hear Sir Monty set those dastardly cheapskates straight.
            I am glad of it and shall not set my foot in the establishment.

            Whatever happened to standards? To hell in a handbasket, I say.

          • MontyNostry

            … and, dear Camille, they now have fly-on-the-wall TV programmes about Claridge’s. What kind of people want flies on the wall of their overpriced hotel room?

          • Camille

            “What kind of people want flies on the wall of their overpriced hotel room?”

            Not. Our. Kind.

            Dear MontyNostry Sir — I do not want to discourage you about the Skin piece, but my esteemed spouse did hear bits of it played by Mr. Benjamin, Himself, on the piano in an explanation/conference/fest, about two years ago last summer. He was not, er, overly impressed, however that may have just been his take and humor du jour, so it is possible the mise-en-scène and performers will serve in part to compensate for the music’s impression? Ich weiss nix, gar nix.

            My compliments and kindest regards forever and a day to you, Sir!

            Your humble servant,

  • Batty Masetto

    I am deeply sorry, Chère Doyenne, but the so-called “chef” in this video has no clue what he’s talking about. “Groseilles,” indeed! Quel sacrilège!

    Escoffier (who invented it), p. 814, Pêches Melba:

    Poach the peaches in vanilla-flavored syrup. Put them in a timbale upon a layer of vanilla ice-cream, and coat them with a raspberry purée.

    (Emphasis added.)

    • Camille

      It is an outrage! You tell these scoundrels, Batty!!!!

      ANYone knows you have to poach your peaches!!!

      • Camille

        Framboises ou RIEN!!!

    • Pour Batty:

      And for the youth:

      • Batty Masetto

        Thank you very kindly, La Cieca, my knickers feel so much more comfortable now.

        She’s absolutely right too about leaving the skins on, the color turns gorgeous. But homemade ice cream, please!

      • “Dude, mettez, man! Mettez!”

        • oedipe

          Hey, I wish I had that much motivation when cooking!

      • manou

        French diction savaged again -- not to mention the total lack of ligne de cuisine.

      • The Kitchen Goddess herself …

    • If the Vicar were here, he’d tell you that silly French food is not a patch on….

      • Batty Masetto

        Indeed. Reminds me of a dinner I once had deep in the heart of Wiltshire.

    • Camille

      Batty’s Cassata alla Melba. The work of a maître chef!
      ( you have to scroll down a ways. )

  • Camille

    The best thing about the movie “Melba” is when her voice teacher, Madame Marchesi, reminisces about the great singers of the old days: there are several MARVELOUS OTT sequences of various olden times operas with great singers of the 19th c., including a bit of the dance from Robert le Diable.

    The most wonderful kind of OTT sincere kitsch.

    Read about Patrice Munsel’s memories of the movie as it was quite an experience, too!

    • Camille

      When I get back home I am watching that movie once more and will be back with more details on La Grande Pêche Melba! Boatloads of fun!

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      • Camille

        wonderful. thanks.

      • messa di voce

        Absolutely beautiful. A good recording to share with those who don’t “get” Melba.

        • messa di voce

          Melba was 65 when she recorded this: absolutely no hint of a wobble, with a good deal of the legendary tone well preserved.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

  • MontyNostry

    Ozzies, Kiwis … all the same, eh? I expect Kiri will manage to pass (more or less) as an Ozzie provided the script doesn’t require her to talk about ‘fish and chips’, which is a bit of a shibboleth. But who ever heard of Fish and Chips Melba?

  • redbear

    Knowing “Downtown” the peaches will probably be canned.

  • La Valkyrietta

  • Joe Conda

    But the burning and painful question is: Will Dame Kiwi portray the pre-plastique surgery Dame Melba or the post-plastic surgery Melba? It eventually killed the bitch you know…

    • Camille

      YOU MEAN, she had surgery to get that face??

      She should have been directed to Joan Rivers plastic surgeon, tout de suite.

  • ljushuvud

    Camille -- MontyNostry
    My apologies if this appears at the wrong place in the thread, or if this is old hat for you, but you can have a foretaste of Benjamin’s ‘Written on Skin’ here:

    And Camille, I would like to agree with itrinkkeinwein about the niceness of your participation here.

    • Camille

      Oh thanks!! I will direct my Monsieur Camille there for a listen to whenever he is able. Perhaps the finished product will make a better impression? He did speak with him briefly and found him to be a pretty level-headed and decent fellow, so he would interested to hear him again. Thank you for thinking of it as it is impossible to keep up with everything --there is so much happening, such a wealth of availabilities these days with technological advances being all they are.

      I am not nice. I just have a heart, that’s all, and I love music more than life itself. I appreciate your kind thought.

  • Su Traditor

    Perhaps the publicity for Downton will help promote her Duchess of Crackenthorp at the Garden next season…

  • Tessie Tura

    Dame Kiri is not worthy to play Dame Nellie. But can you imagine a scene where she enters the room and someone is playing… gasp! La Galli-Curci -- on the gramophone…