Cher Public

An audience with La Cieca

La Cieca is happy to announce a meet-and-greet gathering for New York City area parterre readers on November 24 starting at 2:30 pm at Symphony Space. The focal event of the afternoon will be a screening of Les Vêpres Siciliennes from the Royal Opera House at 3:00 pm, with socializing (pictured, above) to occur during the intervals and, after the film, adjourning to a neighborhood watering hole TBD.

Your doyenne has secured a block of prime tickets for the parterriani, which you may reserve by emailing La Cieca and specifying the number of tickets you want held in your name. Each ticket is $18 (a discount of $5 from the single-ticket price) and La Cieca will be in touch with each attendee individually to arrange payment.

If you’re interested in meeting and/or greeting La Cieca and/or JJ, not to mention your fellow parterrians, please do make a reservation by November 15. It’s necessary for La Cieca to have an accurate head count (pictured below) so she may inform the Symphony Space minions.

Photos: Alastair Muir

  • DharmaBray

    So wish I could be there La Cieca… alas, distance. Maybe one day, La Cieca will do a speaking/blogging tour and visit us down under?

    • laddie

      Speaking tour, what a marvelous ideas, but maybe the states could have her first.

  • bluecabochon

    Sounds like fun! :)

  • PushedUpMezzo

    Me too.

    Would love to hear La Cieca’s interpretation at first hand.

    Perhaps she could do “An Evening with La Cieca” in the style of late period Bette Davis

    • -Ed.

      I’d not seen that before! It was fun for the first 10 minutes but the remaining 45 were rather a chore to endure. Wish I could attend the meet & greet but, alas, geography. Besides, I just washed my hair.

  • How I wish I could be there. Alas, ’tis not to be.

  • Opera Teen

    I wish I could be there (I have a show that day. Adolph Gretzl in Stage Door at school.), so have fun to everyone who’s going!

    • damekenneth

      I wish I could come see you, Opera Teen! I hope it’s a great show. (Stage Door… there must be lots of actresses and not so many actors among you lot?)

      • Opera Teen

        Why, thank you! And it’s surprising. There are a fair number of actors in school, but there was a large uptake in actresses this year. It’s nice to not have rehearsal every day, though. My scene is at the end, so it’s a pretty low stress production. :-)

        Thanks for the nice thoughts and if you’re in the area and feel like coming by, lemme know. ;-)

        • damekenneth

          Where is it? I take it you’re in the NYC area?

          • Opera Teen

            Oui. Westchester.

  • Rowna

    Double and triple ratz! I am coming to NYC on Tues so I can see my pal Andrey Nemzer in Die Frau, not to mention meeting my cousin Daniel Sutin who is playing a one eyed something or other (I swear, everytime I think I know an opera another character appears), so we will be in the big Apple Tues through Sat. If anyone wants to meet me at the Frau, please let me know. I will looking like me, and sitting somewhere as yet unknown. Hoping for freebies! Anyone who can get me 2 good tix, gratis, well, I would be eternally grateful. Hubby coming too. He will sleep for the 4 hours plus. But he said I should jab him when Andrey sings. Will miss you all :(

    • bluecabochon

      Rowna, you should try the Rush orchestra standing room tickets at this link:

      I’ve never done it and it involves queuing up, but you can’t beat $25 to sit in the orchestra. Maybe someone here knows how early you need to get there to be guaranteed of a ticket.

      • Camille

        The formal or official waiting time is two hours before the start of performance.

        This is all a rather moot point when and if it is a popular opera or a big star is involved. I remember showing up once about six hours before a Contes d’Hoffmann and just turning around and leaving, for such was already the queue line. Bring a foldup chair, as many of the veterans do, and/or wear support hose! Also, many of those tickets are under the dreaded (by me) overhang.

        • bluecabochon

          It may be possible to move down to a better seat if you’re quick before the lights go out, or after intermission once you’ve determined which seats are really empty.

          You could also try Craig’s List in case someone is trying to sell tickets cheaply, but There are plenty of seats available at all price levels…have you checked? Why would you expect to be given free tickets, I wonder?

          You could also get standing room tickets in the orchestra and look for an empty seat…no idea how strict the ushers are these days if there are plenty of empty seats.

          • Ruby

            Hi Blue: I seem to get lucky quite often: lined up for standing tickets for “The Nose’s” last performance and was just seconds away from the box office window when a young lady tapped me on my shoulder and offered 2 orchestra seats (hubby was with me). I thought she wanted money and I almost said “no”, but she quickly added that they were free: in the middle of row G, need I add how thrilled I was? I think the smile on my face never left it during the entire fabulous performance.

      • Rowna

        Thanks, Blue! We are going to eat dinner near there, so this is a great idea. Will let you know how it turns out.

      • Ruby

        I arrived at the MET twice on rush hour ticket days 20 minutes before the “show”. Asked for a standing ticket and the teller told me I could still have a rush ticket, which actually was cheaper than the standing ticket. You never know but looking at the ticket sale, it could be that the rush line won’t be long at all.

    • Jamie01

      Rowna -- a physical queue for standing room is a thing of the past. Those go on sale on-line the day of the show.

      There are also a limited number of $25 sit-down seats. There is a weekly lottery for all weekend shows. For weekdays, seniors can buy $25 seats on the Met website the day of, while the young and spry have to wait on a physical line. So if you or your spouse has access to a fake ID, you could score some of those senior citizen tickets.

      • Rowna

        Jamie01 -- O the joys of attaining Senior Citizen status!!!! Who knew . . . thanks so much -- I will be doing this on LINE on the net and not on my poor aching feet :) Thank you for the info

        • Ruby

          There are joys for having reached “senior status”, aren’t there? Sometimes they come unexpected. I bought a few tickets for upcoming concerts yesterday at Carnegie Hall and did NOT ask for senior discounts and/or show an id. I thought I didn’t look senior, but either the teller was VERY KIND or I looked horrid yesterday. Whatever the reason: when I came home I saw he had given me senior (50% off) tickets for one of the events, and when I still was with him and he saw my long face after realizing how expensive the remaining Vienna State Opera “Salome” tickets were, he pointed out that I could get $10 senior tickets on the day of the performance (March 1). I won’t go back and complain!

          • Camille

            My advice:
            show up with NO MAKEUP, excepting a very palid base. No eye makeup, nor lipstick. Let your old HAG OUT OF ITS RAGBAG! Works like a charm, every time.

            If your vanity conquers and you apply lipstick/mascara/LINER, etc., well then, be prepared to pay full freight, and don’t complain that someone doesn’t think you are NOT OLD ENUF!

            Ruby, you are a doll, anyway. Hope all goes well with family……

            • This makeup scheme does, in fact, work like a charm. Here, as evidence, I present a snapshot of Camille taken during the intermission of a recent performance at the Met.

              In her defense, I should note it was a very windy day.

            • Camille

              oh, you BRAT!!!! You’ve outted me!!! Schach und Schande uber mich!!!!!!!!


            • Camille


              And my hair is a shade of platinum grey, by the way. NO blue rinse for me, that is so 1999.

              Although, it really DOES look like me when I awaken, wie Kundry, in the mornings, have to admit.

  • Tristan_und

    I should be able attend and since I’ve never heard the French version (and the Italian only once), it should be interesting. Wondering about the protocol for being presented to La Cieca: do I need a second, or just a little courtesy? Also wondering where that gruesome photo is from. It can’t be Salome and I don’t remember any other opera plot which involves dead-head play.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      It’s from the ROH’s Vepres Siciliennes.

      • Tristan_und

        Hmmm, well, I can always close my eyes at that part. It’s what I do at horror movies when the blood starts spurting.

    • grimoaldo

      And of course the heroine carrying a dead head around is not actually in the “plot”, the director has put that in because the character is mourning the death of her brother, executed by the occupiers of his country for political activity.

      • Cocky Kurwenal

        It’s a bit clunky (metaphorically, and literally when it lands on the floor), but it isn’t against the plot in the least -- it means you never lose sight of Helene’s motivation, at least.

        I don’t think it’s in the plot of Nozze that the Countess should be staring into a hand-held mirror in the introduction to Porgi Amor, but it’s one decision about what she could be doing during that music that makes perfect sense and works with the plot very well -- this head is slightly crass but works in the same way.

        • grimoaldo

          I was not trying to say that “it isn’t in the libretto, therefore they shouldn’t do it”, just pointing out to Tristan_und who was trying to think of opera plots with women cradling severed heads that the libretto does not actually say “Enter Hélène carrying the head of her brother”.

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            Jolly good then.

          • manou

            The libretto actually says : “Enter Hélène carrying a prayer book”.

            • antikitschychick

              LOL! Guess they opted for a more ‘direct source’? :-P.

    • manou

      Protocol for being presented to La Cieca:

      • Tristan_und

        Maybe if I take lessons? Otherwise, I don’t think I could do it.

      • Camille

        Wow! Was Wendy Williams ever a Linebacker in another life?????

    • There is at least one more major opera with an important (singing) role for a severed head.

      • Cocky Kurwenal

        Are Birtwistle operas really ‘major’?

        • I actually had 1-2 Russian operas in mind. The dead head in one of them has a name very familiar to music lovers…

          • grimoaldo

            I was trying to remember if there is a speaking/ singing severed head in The Fiery Angel, I seem to remember something like that in the seance scene.

            • Not quite the right track. There is also a Russian opera that involves, well, it’s not quite a brain transplant -- just the pituitary gland, as well as some appendages attached to the (male) body’s other “head”.

            • manou

              Ah -- gland opera…

      • Krunoslav

        Are we hinting towards RUSLAN AND LYUDMILA?

        • We are. For those who have forgotten, Ruslan fights and defeats a giant head, who turns out to be the evil wizard Chernomor’s brother. The head gives Ruslan a special magical sword.

          Then there is the head of the journalist Berlioz, in the Bulgakov “Master and Margarita” (set by Sergei Slonimsky). Berlioz loses his in a freak sunflower-seed-oil accident, after which it s used as a memento mori to amuse Woland during his stay intown.

          And then, Bulgakov again, there is The Heart of a Dog, which despite its title involves the transplant of a human pituitary gland (and two testicles) from a peasant to a dog. The transplanted organs don’t entirely have the desired effect. Eventually they are removed. In the final scene, a fresh head (belonging to a better sort of gentleman) is brought in for a second experiment on the dog. This was made into a successful opera by Aleksandr Raskatov.

          • grimoaldo

            The amazing m.croche -- I love the way you tactfully say “for those who have forgotten.Bulgakov’s novel “The Master and Margarita” is one of my most-loved things, ever. Everyone should read it. I would love to hear that opera (I have never even heard of it, never mind heard it) thanks for telling us about it and the other opera based on a wonderful Bulgakov work, I will look out for them.

    • Camille

      The protocol for being presented to La Cieca? Simply drop to your knees, and pronto!

      Works every time.

  • La Valkyrietta

    I wonder if the dress code for this occasion is as in the first or second photo sbove.

    Saw ‘Two Boys’ last night and liked it. Good music and a good libretto, as well as production and cast. Sure, it is not Vêpres by any stretch of the imagination, but it is not a film. It is a good thing the ROH film is scheduled for a Sunday when there is no Met performance.

  • Camille

    MarshieMIItm! This the thread you need to see, if you have the intention of attending La Cieca’s splash at Symphony Space with the Vespers, on the 24th Sunday.

    She needs a head count…see above!

    love from
    Frau cowbells

    • marshiemarkII

      Mille grazie as ever CammiB!!!! OK Salomanda so this is the thread. I am not sure yet if I want to see a full Vespri with Haroutounian, but I certainly hope to meet all the Qs beforehand, or afterwards as the case may be. Is there a place picked to meet? The only place I can think of is the TastiDelite across the street but it might be a tad, well, cold for that. There is a Hot and Crusty a few block south like on 92 or 93. A little fancier is Pio Pio on Amsterdam and 94th but that means lunch or dinner. Or Cafe con Leche on Amsterdam and 96th Street?

  • Camille

    Will Berger fans alert!! WQXR is announcing that Mr. Berger, Metropolitan Opera intermission host, (among other things), will be in attendance at the Symphony Space performance of the Vespers, and I guess he will be ‘splainin’ it all to youse guys, too.

    FYI 4 FWIW 2 U