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Black tie optional

Congratulations to the winners of the eighth annual F. Paul Driscoll Awards for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence, who were lauded at an impromptu “come as you are” get-together Sunday night at the Plaza. (Brad Barket/Getty Images North America)


  • 21
    operaassport says:

    Why is Keenlyside dressed like a homeless person?

  • 22
    Gualtier M says:

    Okay let’s do a rundown:
    Pat Racette: Fab. Hair and makeup are perfect. The long black dress makes her top heavy figure look slimmer and better proportioned.
    Simon Keenlyside: I think the pants are the problem and the shoes. Too light and too casual. He looks like an Oxford professor -- absent-minded. Jacket is fine.
    Mirella Freni: I frankly am glad that she is looking plump, happy and healthy at 78. I remember a shockingly gaunt photo of Roberta Peters at a Met Guild luncheon some years ago that made me think I would be reading her obituary soon. Luckily that didn’t happen. I think the photographer got a bad shot of her and Dawn. In person I am sure Mirella is still lovely.
    Dawn Upshaw: Bad shot. The outfit is typical of women or a certain age and avoirdupois. She could have borrowed that entire outfit from Barbara Cook who has been wearing that ensemble for years. It is both casual and dressy with the glittery, large concealing long jacket over the bolero pants. Mixes funky with elegant and covers many sins. Given her health situation I am glad to see Dawn has a few extra pounds on her.
    David Daniels: the gay man of course is flawless. Werq!
    Eric Owens: Good choice of daytime dress suit. Regular black silk tie instead of bow tie with tux -- discuss amongst yourselves. I am still out to lunch about it. But it is a daytime event.

    • 22.1
      manou says:

      I see from the photographs posted elsewhere that Simon took off his jacket and collected his award wearing the brown waistcoat.


    • 22.2
      La Cieca says:

      The Opera News Awards began at 6:00 pm, which give or take a little daylight saving’s time, is still “after five.”

    • 22.3
      Rowna says:

      Gualtier- you should write for a fashion magazine! The only stand out is Keenlyside for a shockingly shlocky outfit. However, he still sings GREAT -- so he gets a pass.

      • 22.3.1
        Gualtier M says:

        Some corrections: “women OF a certain age” and those aren’t bolero pants that Dawn is wearing. Also I looked at the other photos and yes, Mirella looks bad in that shot. However, the double chin doesn’t work with Dawn’s pixie face but I will take that over gaunt any day. Simon’s pants could have been more fitted and need a pressing. Also, I think that Pat’s dress in general is a good idea. But a more fitted bodice with some foundation garments that pull her waist in and push up her bust is preferable to the loose decolleté of that gown.

          Poison Ivy says:

          I never understood why women choose to dress like Upshaw in the photo above. I realize it’s a popular “look” but the huge jacket makes the upper body look like a box, the baggy and tapered pants make her look pear-shaped, and those sandals … no, just no. The hairdo is also too mullet-like for my taste.

          • MontyNostry says:

            As steveac10 said yesterday:

            “Dawn’s obviously been shopping in the Dorothy Zbornak boutique at her local Macy’s.”

            But, then, I’ve never been sure about her taste as a singer either -- all that ‘whoopsing’ into notes with that narrow little voice of hers and her general air of ‘just listen how carefully I’m interpreting this for you’. I’m sure she’s a lovely woman, and I’m very sorry to hear she’s been ill, but …

          • DonCarloFanatic says:

            Ivy, the women who wear those jackets generally are already built like a box underneath, and they have skinny legs: The apple body. The old way of hiding it was to encase the woman in what amounted to a sequined caftan, with no waistline, just straight down from the slope of the breasts to the floor. It made big women look even bigger, but more of a piece. Apparently, the one thing no one wants to see is an actual fat bulge. The jacket is the updated version. (In fact, the sequined jacket was the prior updated version but then everybody middle-aged was wearing them and fashionistas sneered.)

  • 23
    DonCarloFanatic says:

    To Opera Teen:

    Close friends got a little media exposure in their teens. Sure, the radio guy had a show to put on and time to fill, but the teens had something to say and weren’t afraid to say it out loud and in public. I believe everyone won.

    Many of us who blog question the ultimate purpose of such blogging, aside from the valuable intellectual rigor involved in writing an essay and the very small chance of becoming rich through blogging. I’ve concluded that putting my thoughts out in public by whatever means possible is a way of saying to the universe, “I exist. This is who I am,” and perhaps more importantly, “I lived.” We are so very lucky that we can do this today with minimal effort. No pyramids required.

  • 24
    operaassport says:

    David Daniels is flawless? He looks like a waiter on a Ryan Murphy show.

  • 25
    Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    I’m still waiting for a recording to surface from the recent private concert at Merkin in which Aprile Millo sang “Laggiù nel soledad”.

  • 26
    Camille says:

    The longer I consider this photo, the more I have come to like it and that goes especially for Keenlyside’s come-fuck-what-may look. Sort of like showing up at the Academy Awards in Vera Wang and Gap. Sort of.

    He took off his jacket to receive his award (a Tiffany crystal medallion thingey--what no applied Swarovski crystals to gold the proverbial lily?), so maybe if we all sift carefully through the photos we’ll find him with his shirt off, sometime thereafter?

    • 26.1
      Camille says:

      Gild the lily, although a golden lily on an opera award would not necessarily be inappropriate.

    • 26.2
      Quanto Painy Fakor says:

      Chinese Tiffany -- only the boc is real.

      • 26.2.1
        Camille says:

        That’s what a lot of brides would like to get, if from S.K.
        Very funny. Whimsical, poetic and romantic.
        Now I like him even more.

        It’s not the dandelions that count with a man.

  • 27
    kashania says:

    Having organized a couple of events in my time, I always appreciate it when guests adhere to the noted dress code on the invitation. It would be nice to have the honourees respect the dress code of the event. It’s one thing to wear a suit and tie in place of a tux. But Simon’s outfit is more suitable for an al fresco lunch on a Sunday afternoon than a black-tie affair honouring him.

    • 27.1
      MontyNostry says:

      Si is clearly a bit of a middle-class rebel.

      • 27.1.1
        Cocky Kurwenal says:

        He is a bit bonkers. For his wedding, he came up with this fairly lovely idea that he wanted to pick his bride to be’s bouquet in the fields as he walked to the church through the Welsh countryside. He didn’t do a proper dry run though, and in the event all she got was a few wilted dandelions.

          Camille says:

          That one went awry, should have been here.

          Is he Welsh? Or is the bride, the. No matter, just that son donna e son curiosa.

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            I agree it is charming. As far as I recall, he is not Welsh, but he and Spanish ballerina wife live there

          • manou says:

            Polish/French/Spanish wife.

          • MontyNostry says:

            For all his Britishness, Keenlyside has, I believe, Viennese Jewish blood on his mother’s side -- so what he is doing living in the depths of the countryside, I don’t know!

    • 27.2
      operaassport says:

      By alfresco lunch, I’m guessing you mean cheap brandy in a paper bag and a half eaten meatball sandwich from Sbarro in Times Square because that’s what Keenlyside is dressed for.

      On the other hand, he is perhaps appropriately dressed for what is a sad shell of a pathetic event.

      • 27.2.1
        MontyNostry says:

        I always find that the brand name Sbarro is dangerously close to an Italian word not used in polite company. But, then, so is the brand name SEGA.

          Camille says:

          Don’t they have a line that’s called SEGAfreddo--the gelatos or something? Can’t recall correctly anymore. Never had a segafreddo, meself.

          • manou says:

            Semifreddo is a gelato -- Segafredo is coffee I think. Or coffee machines. Something to do with caffeine.

          • Camille says:

            Oh is that it?! I just couldn’t remember properly anymore. I am starting to forget Italian as I have lost all amici italiani due to either morte or pazzia, or both.

            I think I’d rather a granità di caffè, anyway. There is a place in NYC now that makes a fairly good one--called GROM. One near Lincoln Center and one around --oh tarnation I forgot the street, around Warner Center. And a truck at the Park @ 72nd I think.

            Otherwise, no good gelato in NYC. Oh, haven’t tried Eataly. They didn’t have bignè di San Giuseppe I was told, so not good!! Little Italy is now Piccola Cina, so forget there.

            Where have all the good gelati gone, longtime passing?

          • marshiemarkII says:

            CammiB, GROM is not really near Lincoln Center though, it’s about 76th or 77th, no? it is so ridiculously overpriced though that I swore never to set foot there again and haven’t. Remember MMII is really from the Arrabales….
            The best Gelato I ever had anywhere, including in Italy was at a place, long gone since, at 76th and Columbus, just south of Isabella’s, it was called The Palm or something similar. What sublime routines were those, but don’t know why it folded, it seemed to be always packed.
            There was also fabulous Gelato at Cafe degli artisti, on Greenwich Ave, but I am sure it’s probably also long gone, but I wouldn’t know, since I rarely if ever go down there, but the Zuppa Inglese was to die for.

          • lorenzo.venezia says:

            @camille, I don’t know about NYC, but the GROM on campo san barnaba in venezia has an exceptional cioccolata fondente gelato!

          • Baltsamic Vinaigrette says:

            Camille, is the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory still not re-opened post-Sandy? We passed by it and the similarly-shuttered River café in mid-March. It’s getting on for six months now.

            I realise you may have no business being in Brooklyn, whether for gelato or not, but hey, it’s Barbra’s birthday today.

      • 27.2.2
        Camille says:

        Yes OAS! He is thumbing his nose or flipping the finger to the whole sad, pathetic event, or tired event, is what I’d call it.

        Then, this is just The Age of Innocence in constant replay. Goes on and on.

  • 28
    turings says:

    Full slideshow of the event here:

    Poor Simon Keenlyside looks excruciatingly embarrassed in pretty much all of them. I doubt he’s a man who’s very good at being honored, in black tie or otherwise.

  • 29

    Leave it to the lesbian and the (almost) octogenarian to teach the ladies how it is done.

    • 29.1
      marshiemarkII says:

      Caro, the octogenarian looks like a vecchia strega, povera, and the lesbian looks like she just wandered off from the set of SALO, on a break of the piano playing…. Poor Dawn, unspeakable the schmatta, but she is excused because she apparently had a recurrence as late as 2012, which must be so horrible, as to make all of our comments here a bit… superfluous?

      • 29.1.1

        A recurrence of what? I am sorry, I did not know she was battling anything.

      • 29.1.2
        marshiemarkII says:

        She had breast cancer in 2006, and apparently had a recurrence beginning of 2012. So it is amazing and exemplary that she is so out and about. She was another one who was wire thin back in the day, so the “fatness” of today is probably cortisone induced? that would be my guess.

    • 29.2
      marshiemarkII says:

      Oh and Eric Owens needs to lose a few pounds. What happened to him? I heard him/met him at the Puccini Foundation auditions in 1994. It was a chance meeting as I was there to hear someone else, but he caught my attention as he sang so gloriously (and sonorously) a Handel aria (if I remember correctly), and he was thin as a wire. I mean anorexically thin. He would look so much better, and be healthier, with 30 lbs less?

      • 29.2.1

        I get your point, but I have to say that he looks bearilicious, at least to me. I have always found him incredibly attractive.

      • 29.2.2
        marshiemarkII says:

        Oh he was really hot back in 1994, although admittedly much too thin for MMII, who likes them with LOTS of baby fat alla Vittorio G :-) :-) :-)

      • 29.2.3
        MontyNostry says:

        But it is a bad suit he’s wearing. Just look at all that fabric flapping around his legs. He’s a big chap, yes, but he’d have been fine in something more streamlined,without all that satin trim and with more elegant lapels. I mean, he’s only 43, but he sort of looks like a grandpa there.

      • 29.2.4
        marshiemarkII says:

        Monty, fully agreed, the jacket could have been a tad more elegant, of course. And the pants are unspeakable, what’s up with all that flapping fabric indeed. It is an ill-fitting suit no matter how you slice it. And as a tall person he’d have a fighting chance not to look that bad with the proper tailoring. Alas it doesn’t seem to matter to him all that much? or no GAY FRIENDS?

          MontyNostry says:

          I think he just went to a Big and Tall shop and listened to the salesman.

  • 30
    operaassport says:

    Scotto’s dress looks like something Ruby Keeler would have worn, circa 1975.

  • 31
    operaassport says:

    Sorry, I meant Freni!

    And poor Dawn Upshaw, Joan Jett is calling and wants her faux leather coat back.

  • 32
    manou says:

    Un tal baccano in Cieca! Bel rispetto!

  • 33
  • 34
    willym says:

    I’m seriously trying to figure out why all the snark -- 6 people are recognized for their talents and their contributions -- whither we all agree on the value of them or not -- to opera and they’re being raked over the coals for their fashion sense or lack there of. What’s with that?

    • 34.1
      Camille says:

      Willym, yours is the pausa that refreshes.

      I have reflected upon this whole matter and I wish to retract all commentary other than to say I have grown quite a bit fonder of Mr. Keenlyside through the vantage point of this lens.

      What matters is their respective voices and the joy they may have given to many, many countless others. Let them dress in burlap bags if that pleases them. What is important is the voice and the soul they express with it.

      Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

    • 34.2
      CruzSF says:

      Jealousy and anonymity

      • 34.2.1
        DonCarloFanatic says:

        Earlier, I was thinking of posting a general WTF? Why is everyone so bitchy today?

        Could it possibly be end-of-Met-Season ennui? If so, we all should study our summer festival calendars and plan some fun.

          Vergin Vezzosa says:

          DCF, Hear, hear!! I’m done except maybe a Carmelites so I am focusing on the delicious prospect of Vepres Siciliennes en francais at Caramoor in July.

  • 35
    oedipe says:

    Let me see:
    Is the soul searching about dress code snark restricted to: Singers who get awards? Singers of a certain age who may have health problems? Singers who have excess weight? Singers who dress according to a code that’s comprehensible to, say, Americans?
    So that it’s perfectly OK with everybody here to make snark comments about the dress style of others who don’t fit in these categories?

    Note: I confess I often disagree with the tastes of some of the commenters here, though I rarely make remarks on people’s dress styles.

    • 35.1
      operaassport says:

      How about just singers who should have more gay friends to help them dress?

  • 36
    Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Bickett appointed music director of Santa Fe Opera -- what an odd appointment.!/blogs/operavore/2013/apr/24/santa-fe-opera-taps-early-music-specialist-harry-bicket/

    • 36.1
      operaassport says:

      I assume you mean Harry Bicket, a great conductor in a certain narrow repertoire.

    • 36.2
      LittleMasterMiles says:

      Odd, odd indeed. In his first season he’s conducting Fidelio and farming out Donizetti and Stravinsky. I also see that it’s a three-year appointment, raising the question: does Santa Fe have a history of rotating people through in 3-year shifts, or is this assumed to be an initial appointment likely to be renewed? Beacause in the long run Bicket would need to work very hard to expand not only his repertoire but his stylistic range quite broadly.

      • 36.2.1
        davidzalden says:

        There is already quite a long list of musicians (very often British) who started off as Baroque specialists, built strong international careers in this rep, and then started to branch out into other styles and periods. Some Baroque specialists never really develop a technique strong enough to work with larger orchestras in later musical styles, and remain in the Handelian ghetto. But John Eliot Gardner, Harnoncourt, Minkowski, Ivor Bolton and other gifted men have certainly succeeded brilliantly. I have a feeling that Harry Bicket (with whom I have had the great pleasure of doing a lot of Handel, Monteverdi, Cavalli, etc. over many years) is going to thrive and expand as he moves into new areas. Being the great musician and wonderful colleague and collaborator that he is, the signs are very positive.

    • 36.3
      Baltsamic Vinaigrette says:

      QPF: odd appointment, lovely shirt. He’s nicked the Freni frock by the looks of things.

      [I presume that’s why you put up the link on this particular thread].

    • 36.4
      Camille says:

      Could it possibly be that the Santa Fe Opera, traditionally a R. Strauss specialty house, is refocussing in a different direction, e.g., Händel?

      That was just the first thought which came to mind. I know not whether there is any substance at all to this notion.

      MisterMyster has vanished from our midst, so we’ll hear naught from him.

  • 37
    kashania says:

    It is a delightful commentary on the Cher Public (yes, we love Cher, too) that a post about clothing choice has garnered 228 responses (and counting).

    • 37.1
      Flora Amiche says:

      I think it’s a very sad commentary on the Cher Public. I used to think that Parterre Box was about singing and singers and productions…not about wardrobe. Of course that was before it became an in cutesy site for a few people.