Cher Public

A Life in the Theater

Devotees of Dawn Fatale (and you are legion!) will be delighted to hear that the parterre scribe made an early (2001!) appearance in issue #45 of parterre box the queer opera zine, ranting about the “squish-squish school of opera direction.” This groundbreaking issue also includes in-depth interviews with the legendary, lovely Anja Silja (in town to perform Vec Makropulos at BAM) and frequently-nude countertenor David Walker; plus reviews from around the world, La Cieca’s occasionally accurate gossip, and a do-it=yourself interview with “Lanfranco Madlibbo.” [Download Issue #45]

  • la vociaccia

    It’s so interesting reading these rave reviews of Voigt that focus not only on her voice but her artistry and presence (and even movement!), and then reconcile that with people here who now insist that she was NEVER good, ALWAYS dull, has NO idea what she’s singing about ever, etc etc etc.

    • She was good enough for me to take the trouble to travel to London and Vienna for her. Her Chrysothemis in Paris, in her prime, is something I’ve never forgotten.

      • la vociaccia

        I heard her Aida a couple of years after this review (2003). I thought she was splendid. Always have. It had been a while since I had heard the recording of her Frau at the Met and I was shocked at how amazing it was considering how many people here seemed determined to make it clear that her Kaiserin was nothing special

        • LaV -- Thank you for mentioning this -- her performances as Die Kaiserin in those 2002 Met FroSch’s were extraordinary.

          Does anyone know if there was an audio broadcast and if so, is the recording available anywhere? I have the commercially released live performance from Dresden, but DV sounded better at the Met, and I prefer Thielemann to Sinopoli.


          • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

            There was a Saturday afternoon broadcast on 05 January 2002. I have it and will add it to my list of future uploads for my Mixcloud site.

            My last visit to the States was in November 2003, and I saw Voigt in the second season of the Wernicke “Frau” and found her quite spectacular (if not enough to erase several decades of Leonie). But most of the 2003 performances were before broadcast season began, and it was not on the radio that year.

            I would have to say that the last really great performance I heard from her was her first Isolde (at Wiener Staatsoper). The subsequent Marschallins, Salomes, and Act I of “Die Walküre” at Domingo’s 40th anniversary bash started to show a voice in serious trouble, and I recall listening in horror to the “Siegfred” duet with Heppner at some Met gala and felt there would never be a Voigt/Heppner “Ring” (I was right).

            • vielen Dank, Jungfer! Yesterday was my birthday and one of my presents was a full score of FroSch, now this!


            • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

              Lurker, I tried to find a way to contact you on your Tumblr blog but wasn’t successful. Please drop me a word at as I have something to discuss with you (you will be pleased).

            • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

              Lurker, I spoke too fast: I was going to offer to send you the 2002 “FroSch” broadcast, but when I tried to open it just now, my computer tells me the file is damaged. Sorry! I shall be on the lookout for another copy.

            • Jungfer -- I truly appreciate your thought and efforts. I’m sending you a message so you will have my email address for when another copy surfaces in the future.

              In the meantime I have the 1978 Met FroSch that you uploaded a few months ago with Leonie and Ursula Schroeder-Feinen. I have to say, Leonie is even more radiant there than in the 1977 VSO live performance with Nilsson.

              Thank you again!

            • Camille

              You are right about that Jungfer Marianne. The Siegfried duet was doomed from the outset, and I think a lot of people knew it, too. It’s too bad.

              Thank you very much indeed for the offer of the Bette Davis films, in particular, Juarez, but I think I have seen it somewhere so I will seek it out first, and only come whining to my Jungfer if I strike out. You have enough to do as it is and tomorrow is anothe Montag mit Marianne.

              You are the best Jungfer a girl could wish for!!

              Heiße Liebe!

            • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

              Kamilentee, it’s already Montag here, so this week’s opera was uploaded to Mixcoud about two hours ago. Our gracious hostess, La Cieca, shall give it a proper introduction on Monday morning NYC time. I’ve even prepared most of the elements for next week. Pretty soon I shall have the added distractions of baseball and “Mad Men” so I want to plan ahead as much as possible.

              File my e-mail address away and let me know if you ever want a copy of some film or opera recording and can’t find it elsewhere. As I’ve often stated, what’s the point of having all this stuff if not to share it?

        • Her Kaiserin in London wasspecial enough for me. But I have cloth/tin ears, so people constantly imply.

          • MontyNostry

            I regret not having seen Voigt as the Kaiserin in London in 2001, but it came during that strange patch after 9/11 and I was put off by the presence of Schnaut (whom I’d seen as the Faerberin in Amsterdam) and of that silly Hockney-designed production, which I’d already seen twice.

            • Porgy Amor

              What was Schnaut’s connection to 9/11?

    • Camille

      She sang a great Elsa, too. Never will forget it.

      • Sempre liberal


        Loved Voigt’s Elsa in Wilson’s Lohengrin, though my judgment is off as I loved the bars of light. Also loved her first run of Cassandres. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Debbie gave me many nights of pleasure. (Oh, that sounds so seedy.)


  • Sempre liberal

    NPW-Paris, I too timed trips to Vienna to hear her Sieglinde ’03, Isolde ’04, and Marschallin ’05, and in the Staatsoper, she really sounded glorious. The Isolde, in particular, was superb.

    • It was. And she domianted the whole evening, theatrically as well as vocally.

    • messa di voce

      Also have great memories of those Isoldes. Very girlish, moving in the end, and the singing seemed so effortless.

      • armerjacquino

        Careful- the fact that singers can be loved in their prime, criticised in their decline, and subsequently looked on with retrospective admiration is apparently, and bafflingly, a controversial one round here in recent days.

  • armerjacquino

    Well, this is an oddly ageing rite of passage- this is the first of la Cieca’s archive uploads that I posess in paper form…

  • Opera Teen

    That madlib is a real crackup. I’d love to see opera madlibs as a regular feature on Parterre!

  • MontyNostry
    • manou

      Who is this Roberto Le Diable? Is the WSJ aligning itself with the œdipe tormentors? I think we should be told.

      • oedipe

        I am sure you’ve also noticed that this is a “Farticle”, haven’t you (you notice everything).

        Undoubtedly, the author is a knowledgeable person signing with the nom de plume Pia Catton and who, through very subtle humor, kills two birds with one stone: with one little (distorted) opera title s/he shows how insignificant Mayerbeer is in comparison to the main topic under discussion, Jennifer Rawley.

        It is also an opportunity to get back, again, at that prick Daniel Oren who, it would seem, dared to prefer the non-entity Partizia Ciofi for the role of Isabelle, instead of Jennifer Rawley, who has never sung the role. This is a shame, because it is widely known by now that Ms. Rawley is an important future voice for French opera.

        • armerjacquino

          Presumably the bit where she says her voice wasn’t capable of doing what the conductor wanted is what you classify as ‘getting back at that prick’, and the bit where Ciofi ISN’T MENTIONED AT ALL is the bit which, for you, paints her as a non-entity.

        • manou

          I also notice that “Rawley” is an anagram of “lawyer”, whereas the correct spelling “Rowley” is an anagram of “yowler”. Momentous, n’est ce pas?

          I wonder what Partizia makes of it all…

          • oedipe

            My sincere excuses to Ms.Rowley.
            I was in a hurry to get to the open air market before it closes and, unlike the “farticle” author, I have no proof reader.
            I am sure (the very humble) Patrizia doesn’t hold it against me.

            • manou

              …and of course Meyerbeer is past caring.

              One wants to know -- what did you buy at the open air market?

            • oedipe

              I get all my fruit and veggies there, they are cheap and fresh. I also buy cheeses, fish, spices and dry fruits, olives and olive oil, fresh herbs and all kinds of fresh mushrooms, honey that comes directly from the producers, organic eggs…Everything is much cheaper than in grocery stores and there is a great choice of merchandise.

            • manou


            • Guestoria Unpopularenka

              Where is this open market?

            • oedipe

              There are several in Paris, generally on Sundays and Thursdays. I (alongside a zillion other people) usually go to the one next to the Bastille.

        • The article’s title is “Opera Singer Finds Her Voice
          Jennifer Rowley Makes Her Metropolitan Opera Debut in ‘La Bohème’.” How is that showing how “insignificant Meyerbeer is in comparison to the main topic under discussion, Jennifer Rawley”?

          • grimoaldo

            Actually the main topic is a “human interest” story, “plucky singer overcomes setback of being dropped from important gig” and it is a sad comment on journalistic quality that not only the original writer but no proofreader (are there still such people?) or editor noticed that the name of the opera was incorrect, yes, that does show the significance of Meyerbeer in this article, zero.

            • armerjacquino

              The ‘proofreaders’ are called subs, and they still exist, although there are a lot fewer of them than there used to be.

              I very much doubt the editor will have seen this piece before it went to press.

              Whatever, I don’t think it has any of the dark significance you place on it, or that it’s an insult to Meyerbeer. What it is, is a typo. Typos happen.

            • grimoaldo

              Three times, though, that’s more than “a typo”.

            • MontyNostry

              Maybe it’s ignorance.

            • manou


              “Pia is the leading arts and culture reporter of her generation in New York and beyond”

            • MontyNostry

              You mean, there’s arts and culture beyond New York? I thought the whole of the rest of the world was f***ing Brits.

        • Edward George

          Who is this “Mayerbeer” anyway?