Cher Public

I do not regret one moment of my life

langtryBorn on this day in 1853 actress and socialite Lillie Langtry

Born on this day in 1887 composer Rafael Martínez Valls.

Born on this day in 1904 conductor Boris Khaikin.

Born on this day in 1912 composer Hugo Weisgall.

Happy 78th birthday bass Enzo Dara.

Happy 67th birthday soprano Leona Mitchell.

Happy 66th birthday mezzo-soprano Katherine Ciesinski.

Happy 65th birthday baritone Gregory Yurisich.

  • Cicciabella

    Has Bob Dylan really just won the Nobel Prize for Literature? Or am I hallucinating?

    • Lady Abbado

      I thought he was long dead: I did a Google search to check Wikipedia that he is indeed alive!

      • Peter

        Not only is he still alive, but he just performed in some big Rock’n roll festival in Southern California:

        Still surprising that he got a Nobel price. Apparently, there were audible gasps and laughs at the ceremony when it was announced.

        • Krunoslav

          Maybe they meant to give it to Matt Dillon?

          • Cicciabella

            Or Dylan Thomas, but then they found out he’s no longer with us.
            Reading the newspapers is going to be loads of fun. Let’s which literary critics are going to come up with evidence that Dylan is a literary genius and which ones are going to point out that the Nobel Prize committee has lost its marbles.

            • Donna Annina

              That’s one Nobel address I want to hear.

            • Williams

              You’ll need subtitles.

            • Sirotah

              And a pitch pipe

            • Donna Annina

              I don’t think he’ll be singing. At least I hope not.

            • manou
            • The NY Times already has on its Opinion Pages an article entitled “Why Bob Dylan Shouldn’t Have Gotten a Nobel.”

            • Sirotah

              I am in agreement with the author of this opinion piece. Dylan did not deserve the Nobel in Lit. One of the strangest of recognitions.

            • fletcher

              Philip Roth, is that you?!

            • Armerjacquino

              Let’s calm our boots. I can’t bear Dylan but there are enough people in the world who believe in his genius to make this a perfectly understandable nomination.

            • Porgy Amor

              I think so (that is, that it’s understandable; I don’t trouble myself with who actually wins awards).

              Like many people who were getting called “genius” when still very young, he could be lazy and he could coast. But he has been extraordinarily good at his best, and he kept it up for a long time. I will always have a healthy respect for the author of “Tears of Rage,” and that is just one of many. One can check out The Band’s recording and hear these words in poor Richard Manuel’s very beautiful, very pained voice, if Dylan’s own is a stumbling block.


            • Sirotah

              Then award him another Grammy or organize a hommage concert or similar. But the Nobel? Reminds me of the Peace Nobel awarded Obama, for what I don’t know. On his watch over half a million Syrians have been slaughtered. Not by him but still he has enabled the killings through paralysis.

        • I found this article quite convincing.

          And yet I believe that measuring the art of the lyric against the art of prose is unfair because prose exists solely on the page while the lyric does not. The lyric dances with voice and instrument while prose is left to stand naked against a tree. The lyric hides its weaknesses through melody while prose has to be strong enough to withstand the vacuum of its own existence… The Nobel Prize for literature finds its power, I think, in recognizing, and popularizing, if for one notable day or week, the lonely writer: the person without a drummer or bass player who spends most of their time alone in a dark room with mouldy coffee mugs and chewed pencils trying to hack out a paragraph.

          • rapt

            What are the implications of this view for playwrights, though, whose work depends upon live performance by a host of collaborators? Would they, too, be disqualified?

            • Rapt: I don’t think that’s the same thing. The lyrics, as well needing music to “complete” them, still need to be performed, like the words of a playwright. But it’s that extra step of the creative process – the addition of music – that sets lyrics apart from other literature.

            • rapt

              I see your point, kashania. My reaction was triggered by the article’s romanticization of the “lonely writer,” a view to which (though a writer, and sometimes lonely) I am allergic!

            • Yes, the writer did double down on that cliche!

    • often admonished

      you are hallucinating

      and Bob did win a Nobel

    • HenryHolland1

      John Adams won a Grawemeyer Award for his insipid violin concerto, so gosh, maybe awards aren’t the be-all and end-all of art.

    • Evenhanded


      Every now and then, a conversation on this site veers into the non-opera world (e.g., Dylan’s Nobel Prize) and reminds me of how extremely narrow some operaphiles can be. Thinking that Bob Dylan was “long dead”? And generally disparaging him to the point of saying that the Nobel committee has “lost its marbles”? Dylan is as much (or more so) a legend/American icon/musico-lyric genius as any contemporary author (not to mention opera singer). In addition, he has indisputably made a permanent mark on the “American Song” tradition both as composer AND lyricist. If we now have contributors to this forum that are more discerning and knowledgeable than the Nobel committee, well then I am among even more distinguished company than I realized!

      • Cicciabella

        Dear Evenhanded, I think Bob Dylan deserves every pop, folk and minstrelsy prize he has ever received or could receive. I disagree that what he wrote is “literature”, because his lyrics without the music are not equal to his lyrics with his music. Therefore, he would deserve a Nobel Prize for Music, if there was one, but does not qualify for a Nobel Prize for Literature. If this opinion makes me narrow-minded, so be it. I also think most of Wagner’s libretti are a literary nightmare, with childish alliterations and endless expository dialogue, but they are opera texts, and therefore it is meaningless to consider them divorced from the music. As for the discernment of the Nobel committee, one of them declared a couple of years ago that there are no living American novelists worthy of the Literature prize. Donna Tartt, Jonathan Safran Foer, etc are supposed to be inferior to writers living in other countries (??!!??). OK, back to opera…

        • Evenhanded


          Cicciabella -- you make some good points, and I mostly agree. :) We are all entitled to opinions concerning who should/should not win the Nobel. I just don’t think Dylan is a particularly outlandish choice. (And maybe the committee is trying to be a bit inclusive of the music since there is no award for that category!) Ultimately, the choice is a subjective one, so there are bound to be those who don’t agree with it. As you said, back to opera…

          • redbear

            Back to opera, indeed. In the 18th and 19th Century there was not yet a division between “popular culture” and “high culture.” Most of the operas filling your ears every day were “popular culture” in their time.

          • nachtEule

            +1, Evenhanded.
            A quick perusal of the list of past Literature award winners (see Wikipedia for an easily viewed example) shows others not in line with those usually thought of as “literary” authors — eg screenwriters and translators — and IMO Dylan’s name at the end seems in no way out of place. The Nobel Committee’s press release described his achievement as being “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. Did he not?

            • Evenhanded


              He did. And FWIW, I agree 100% with Dylan winning the prize. I also agree that Obama was an excellent choice for the Peace Nobel. And note to Sirotah: Just because you don’t agree with two of the choices doesn’t mean the entire Nobel institution has lost its significance. You might be overvaluing your own opinions just a tad.

        • Sirotah

          This is as good an argument as any against Dylan being awarded the Nobel in Lit. His lyrics divorced from his music and vice versa are (is?) like chewing through cardboard, wet or dry, take your pick. Same goes for the Beatles. Or Verdi or Wagner, Institutions can and do decay or can lose their purpose or significance over time. This may the case with the Nobel, at least in their Lit and Peace units. See below what I wrote about Obama winning the Peace Nobel.

          • grimoaldo2

            “His lyrics divorced from his music and vice versa are (is?) like chewing through cardboard, wet or dry, take your pick. Same goes for the Beatles. Or Verdi or Wagner”

            Verdi didn’t write any lyrics except for the words of the final duet “O terra addio” in Aida. He got tired of waiting for the librettist’s revision to come in the mail and just wrote it himself.

            • Sirotah

              True. Correction made.

          • Armerjacquino

            Here is the entire list of qualifications required to win a Nobel Prize.

            1: Them deciding to give you one.

        • Roth still counts as a “living American novelist,” I think, even though it’s now been six years since his last novel (he was previously quite prolific). If the committee was going to give it to an American, it ought to have gone to Roth, and now it is almost certain that it never will. The Dylan choice is weird to me, for all of the reasons @disqus_vlLEMhD8bH:disqus lists and then some. I suppose there’s no accounting for taste.

          I was highly amused by Rushdie’s obsequious tweet, though. It takes him less than 140 characters to suck up in picturesque fashion, clearly hoping that they’ll give one to him.

  • chicagoing

    LOC got Joe Maddon, manager of the Chicago Cubs, to appear on the cover of this year’s Operathan brochure. He is holding, not wearing, a Lyric baseball cap (available for purchase for twenty dollars). Operathon is an annual fundraising radio broadcast on WFMT in support of Lyric Opera. It is just as well that they are concluding the program at 7pm this year (they will be broadcasting opening night of Lucia) as the Cubs happen to be opeining a playoff series at home that evening.

  • HARTEROS DOUBLE FEATURE – her first Sieglinde and tonight’s “Tosca” from Wiener Staatsoper just posted at Mixcloud:

    Act I of “Die Walküre” is from a concert performance in Berlin last month with Peter Seiffert and Georg Zeppenfeld; I wish she had been given more, uh… shall we say “world-class” colleagues than Jorge de León and Marco Vratogna for the “Tosca,” which literally ended just a few minutes ago.

    This is her first stab at Tosca in Wien, and I must say I really enjoyed her performance. Aside from finding her voice perfectly suited to the role, she’s the most fun Tosca I’ve heard in quite a while. I mean: when was the last time you actually heads a Tosca cackle after prying the safe-conduct from Scarpa’s dead hand?

    If you missed it, last night I posted the Boston Symphony’s “Der Rosenavalier” (Fleming, Graham, Hawlata, Morley; Nelsons), so all this should keep you busy until the next “Montag mitMarianne.”

    • Sirotah

      Photo by me at that Walküre Act I last month. Will be listening (again) soon and thank you for sharing. Seiffert missed one entrance and then entered too early on another occasion (did they fix these for the broadcast)? Zeppenfeld was the star, arguably.

    • Sirotah

      On a related note, someone has uploaded Siegfried Jerusalem’s final performance at the Vienna State Opera in ’02 (as Siegmund) which you wrote about recently. Link here.

    • Sirotah

      Harteros and Zeppenfeld sound pretty much as heard in the hall. Not so Seiffert whose massive wobble is picked up mercilessly by the mics. I don’t remember it sounding so intrusive then.

      • spiderman

        “I heard (Seifferts) wobble got unbearable. Maybe the hall is to big for him?” … just to quote someone.

  • Sanford Schimel

    Not to sound like Trump, but if Leona’s boobs were pushed up any higher, they’d be earrings.

  • Sanford Schimel