Headshot of La Cieca

Cher Public

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Blind item

“If you’re a hard-core opera buff who finds the Met’s flashy sets and costumes distracting, have I got a show for you! It’s called The Blind, and for the duration of this hourlong Lincoln Center Festival presentation, the audience sits blindfolded and sightless as the opera is sung all around them.” [New York Post]

32 comments

  • Camille says:

    “Opera buff”?? I thought was TT sprach, not JJ?

  • CruzSF says:

    Sorry I missed it (being on the other coast and all). I hope it goes on tour out west, minus the haunted house effects.

    • m. croche says:

      Don’t expect to see it, or any other work by Auerbach, at the SF opera any time soon. Only native-born sons seem to get Gockley commissions of late.

      However, her Little Mermaid did receive a lot of attention when it was done at the SF Ballet a couple of years ago. There was a video broadcast of one performance.

      I kind of like the idea of “smell-o-vision”, especially out here where eau de patchouli seems to be the preferred fragrance.

      Auerbach’s an interesting composer -- I get the sense that she is trying to find ways forward out of the complex of late-Soviet musical styles she inherited. Sometimes the results seem a little slim, but I imagine committed performances can bring off her carefuly pruned musical visions.

      • CruzSF says:

        m. croche, “The Blind” sounds more like a project for Opera Parallele, to be honest.

        • m. croche says:

          Yes, and they would take it up. I just couldn’t resist a chance to take a (not entirely fair) shot at the present, blinkered administration of SF.

        • derschatzgabber says:

          Or maybe West Edge Opera over in the East Bay. I don’t make it over there nearly enough, but I have enjoyed their performances and they program at least one 20th/21st century work per season.

          • CruzSF says:

            Their Poppea last season was pretty good (half-good -- the cast was hampered by bad directing decisions). The 20th (or 21st) century “Bonjour, M. Gaugin” was abysmal. But, I haven’t given up on them.

      • CruzSF says:

        And yes, SF Opera seems like a boys’ club of late, or always.

  • Will says:

    m.croche, “smell-o-vision” was used in opera decades ago for an intimate production of Tristan und Isolde at American Spoleto to emphasize the sensuousness of the music. The House of Gurlain provided various floral scents that were wafted into the auditorium for the second act. The idea was that one scent would succeed another as the duet became progressively more and more frenzied toward the end. But the theater’s exhaust system couldn’t clear the air fast enough for each new perfume. The odor in the theater became heavier and sickly sweet, people with allergies started sneezing, the whole thing just didn’t work. If it had, I imagine a lot of operas with a garden scene or a flower duet would have used it; Mascagni’s Iris that ends in a sewer, not so much.

    • m. croche says:

      The odor in the theater became heavier and sickly sweet, people with allergies started sneezing

      Sounds ideal for “King Roger”….

    • manou says:

      Is marshie somehow associated with the House of Gurlain?

    • marshiemarkII says:

      And why queridisima Manoucita would such a Huysmansian description bring Marshie to mind, perchance?
      Actually MMII, like CammiB is a 100% House of Creed gurl, Millesime Imperiale to be precise, you know when she is at the Metropolitan Opera, and where she is sitting, by following the scent :-) :-) :)
      Actually MMII WAS a Guerlain gurl many many years ago, and she wore then Eau de Cologne Imperiale, so once an Empress always an Empress (what’s that an arch-queen or what :-) )

  • MontyNostry says:

    Does it contain quotes from Iolanta, Die toten Augen and L’amore dei tre re?

  • MontyNostry says:

    … plus, of course (on here of all websites), La Gioconda.

  • rogwood says:

    This reminds me of Lars von Trier’s (more) interesting ideas on “Enriched darkness” (http://mostlyopera.blogspot.se/2007/10/lars-von-trier-on-nibelungen-ring.html). I still wish he would change his mind.

    • m. croche says:

      Thanks for the link…an interesting read. I suspect von Trier would need his own, private Festspielhaus to get the time and technical resources he would need to complete his vision.

      Today’s other great avatar of music-in-the-dark is Georg Friedrich Haas, whose wholly unilluminated 3rd quartet was performed a few years in New York, to great acclaim, by the formidable JACK quartet.

  • zinka says:

    SO..Cieca WAS Cieca….. To avoid booooing at new Met productions Gelb should demand all members of the audience be blindfolded…but in some cases we might add earplugs…and because of the coughers…masks…so it ends up that no one can laugh at thw wrong places (act one Tosca..every time Mario says,”Davanti alla madonna” and the jerks laugh aloud… I think this is elen Keller version of opera…..

    OI VEY…..it is getting so avant guard….Zinka vud not like it.

    • armerjacquino says:

      What on EARTH is wrong with people laughing at Mario’s ‘Davanti alla Madonna’? He’s joking.

      • zinka says:

        You can smile at jokes…but NEVER interrupt music with laughing..this is not barbiere//.This is one reason I despise titles>>>..People think they are a riot…they are disrespectful.

        Carlo Il snobbo

        • la vociaccia says:

          Titles have nothing to do with “Davanti Alla Madonna” being a funny line. The english translation doesn’t magically make it any more or less amusing that the same Tosca who said “not in front of the Madonna” five minutes ago now fancies a snog in the same place.

          Is it more offensive hearing someone snicker during a genuinely funny part than people breaking into applause after the “Vittoria!” and covering up the first measures of Mario’s arietta?

          • armerjacquino says:

            Brava. People who complain about titles (which at the Met aren’t even intrusively above the stage, ffs) are basically complaining that riff-raff who don’t know every note are allowed in.

            (btw, is the laugh more offensive than all of Tosca’s entrance music being drowned out with applause because Tebaldi or Milanov has just walked on?)

          • oedipe says:

            My favorite: entrance music being drowned out by applause for the sets.

        • DonCarloFanatic says:

          Guess it’s too late to tell Herr Wagner that he should not have included the line: “Das ist kein Mann!” which always draws an enormous snicker.

          If the audience is not allowed to respond to the opera, what’s the point? Might as well stay home.

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            How do we feel about scores of homophile adolescents crazed for Troy Donahue re-routing their *angoisse* into screams for Milanov’s “Ah, come t’amo” over Ponchielli’s music while she kicked her train (and--if she could reach her-- Nell Rankin’s Laura)?

          • armerjacquino says:

            And as for Rysanek, drowning out Wagner’s music with all that vulgar screaming…

          • Nerva Nelli says:

            In my experience Leonie screamed in Strauss, Puccini and Janacek as well.