Cher Public

Tattoo, amore, tu!

In vintage issue #33: La Cieca gossips about Dr. Jonathan Miller, Renée Fleming‘s Lucrezia Borgia, a weekend at Glimmerglass and New York Grand Opera in Central Park; reviews by Andrew Cooper and Dawn Fatale; “La Canzone di Lydia”; the final installment of “Impossible Discs”; Act Two of “A Bitchy Class”; and offbeat recordings selected by Leila de Lakmé. [Download Issue #33]

  • Avantialouie

    I cannot wait for you to get around to republishing “The Impresarios,” which was one of the funniest opera-related spoofs I ever read. Oh, how I wish I still had those wonderful “original pinkies.”

  • antikitschychick

    my, my look at the muscles on La Cieca. A hottie fo sho :-D.

  • I do love reading (or in some cases, re-reading) these old issues. So much fun and insight.

  • Clita del Toro

    A fun Bette scene! Sad at the end, though… :(

    • Clita del Toro

      I can’t believe that they use the names of real stars in the dialogue, especially Barbara Lawrence’s.

  • Tubsinger

    I sure do miss more articles about opera recordings, even if in the intervening years the industry collapsed. It’s frustrating to read about “partial” recordings or the fruits of abandoned sessions will remain in the can forever. Being a big Caballe fan, I’m also disappointed to read of so many recording projects, during her strongest years, that never happened. Most other singers recorded their best rep (many of them in multiple occasions), but I always think of the lack of recorded legacy from her as among the biggest gaps for opera recordings collectors.

    • Krunoslav

      “the lack of recorded legacy from [Caballe]”


      And surely almost every thing she ever sang, including Donna Elvira, the Marschallin, Arabella and Dvorak’s Arrmide as well as more central pursuits like TROVATORE and STUARDA, is available on live recordings.

      • Cocky Kurwenal

        Yes, a bit of a baffling assertion, that one -- she seems like one of the most widely recorded sopranos there is.

        • Tubsinger

          I do not mean to baffle. I wasn’t writing in the context of live recordings, because that wasn’t the context of Ortrud’s articles. But there was no Leonora (either), no Ernani (except for that RAI job in dodgy sound), no Vespri, and, with the exception of Fiordiligi, no Mozart. I’m not aware of any Viaggio recording she made, nor did she wind up recording Semiramide or Anna Bolena or Maria Stuarda or Ermione when, in or near her prime, these performances might have stood up rather well. (Her baroque roles in Handel, well, perhaps not so much--except for the fan base.) In her earlier days, she had a very broad rep of roles she stopped singing later, roles if they’d been recorded, I’m not sure would necessarily have been well=received or stood the test of time. I’m not sure, either, that if her latter-day assumptions of Ariadne (for example) would have held up to the competition. What I was writing about is the frustration I feel as to how many projects she didn’t wind up making, where time spent on roles such as her Lucia or Fiorilla, in a perfect world, might have been directed elsewhere. And I do wish that her Butterfly, her only commercial recording never transferred to CD (that I know of), would be shaken loose of whatever ownership rights conflict there is. I recall it fondly, knowing full-well that Scotto and Freni were considered more effective in the part on record.

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            I certainly share your frustration re the Caballe Butterfly -- along with Freni she is my first-equal favourite soprano for Puccini and I bet she would be absolutely ideal for me as Butterfly.

      • marshiemarkII

        Cara Kruni, commercial recordings on your list left out include the Andrea Chenier on Decca, the second Verdi Requiem and Immolation Scene with Mehta and NYPhil, and live the Roberto Devereux in two magnificent performances, and the Semiramide with Horne, although this live list can get much longer pretty quickly if the Qs get on to it, in short order, and start putting their preferred “greatest live” :lol: . She was also, and very luckily, very well represented on video, with the Orange Norma at the top of the list.

        • marshiemarkII

          Oh and the Forza from La Scala on DVD, and said Semiramide. She was filmed on a lot of stuff in Paris, Aix, Orange and La Scala, not to mention Liceo and Teatro Real, even Salome was videoed :P
          but nothing at the Met?!?!?!? can’t think of any

        • Krunoslav

          Oh, MM II, I by no means meant that live list to be all-inclusive. We’d be here all night! ( Then again we are anyway.)

          And yes, I was wrong about VIAGGIO- that is a live DVD.

          • marshiemarkII

            You were probably thinking of the Ricciarelli/Valentini-Terrani, on DG right? wow another nice Rossini on my list, maybe I don’t hate him as much as I thought :-) (diabla sheath that blade! :twisted: )

      • marshiemarkII

        Oh, MM II, I by no means meant that live list to be all-inclusive

        Yes I totally realized that, and as you say, we’d be here all night, and all of this week :-)
        I was just trying to add the Devereux and Semiramide in your category of “central pursuits” because I think the Devereux, in particular, was an awesome assumption (and to show my cara diablina that though deep dyed-in-the-wool Wagnerian, I am really a closet bel canto Q in the core :lol: ). But wouldn’t it be a nice little game, to have our list of our favorite Montsy live performance? I am sure every Q will have a different one, and would be fun to see the diversity of that list…..

  • Dominatrix

    Regarding Renee Fleming’s debut at LaScala, does anyone here remember a comment that came out afterward on the internet (perhaps on an opera blog), referring to Renee’s LaScala debut, which mentioned Mathew Epstein’s part in the mess, who I believe was working with Renee at the time of her LaScala debut. The comment was obviously written by someone who had a gripe against Epstein — the gist of the comment, was that Epstein was partly responsible for the mess that took place (in addition to the other contributing factors, i.e., conductor faints, Renee trying to sing bel canto, the claque, etc.). The author of that comment used this sentence — that Epstein offered LaScala “sloppy seconds.” It was one of the most interesting things I’ve ever read about the nasty back office intrigues going on at LaScala. I didn’t save it unfortunately, but would love to have a copy of it again. It might have been written by an agent, or someone with knowledge of LaScala. Everyone sort of assumed, that Renee had a hard time because of these other things — her singing of the music, the claque hating her, conductor faints. But the article implied there was more to it than just that, that Epstein had a hand in what happened. Does anybody remember the comment I am referring to? It might have been on an opera blog — I just can’t remember. I’ve searched on the net, but can’t find it. But it used the words “sloppy seconds.”

    • javier

      one correction: lucrezia borgia was not renee fleming’s debut at la scala. renee made her la scala debut several years earlier as donna elvira in don giovanni.

  • The Impossible Discs might just be my favourite part of these early parterre issues. They are so chock-full of delightful and intriguing details that multiple readings are required. It’s hard to pick even a few examples to site but I will zero in on the cancelled “Cat Duet” at the Levine Gala sung by Christa Ludwig and Jessye Norman!! I can just imagine the facial expression alone.

  • A particularly nostalgic issue for me. I had a beastly internship with the petty, alcoholic, boundary-free artistic administrator at Glimerglass that summer (which mostly involved carting a bunch of young narcissists around Otsego County) but I also had amorous adventures and heard a lot of great opera in the lovely little theater and had my life ahead of me and all that. I remember running into La Cieca after a matinee! I think I went to that Partenope 8 times and sat in back on the little bench for employees and interns. It remains the only Handel I really love.

  • Chenier631

    Regarding Caballe, I remember reading in Opera News back in the 80’s that she was supposed to record Minnie in La Fanciulla del West, with Pavarotti as Dick Johnson.
    Alas, this never happened. I also recall reading that she began recording Adriana Lecouvreur, with Cossotto and Carreras, for the Philips label, but it was never completed.
    I also wish she would have commercially recorded Trovatore and Forza.


  • don warner saklad

    Searchable text please ! How do you put the archive up with searchable text?…