Cher Public

To my cher public

ciecaLa Cieca (pictured) begs your pardon for her unexplained absence from the site for the past several days. A little over-enthusiastic pre-Thanksgiving revelry seems to have brought on the mother of all autumn colds, so severe that finally, yesterday, your doyenne checked in with a a handy walk-in medical clinic where she was assured she was thankfully free of influenza. The long and the short of it is, I’m feeling much better now and looking forward to catching up with the news and gossip I hope you’ve been missing. Look for a fresh posting Sunday a.m.

  • actfive

    Pauvre La Cieca! I find that drinking a Rusty Nail kills the most stubborn cold.

  • Bon santé, La Cieca.

  • Krunoslav

    “Coraggio adunque -- la convalescenza non è lontana.”

    • Donald Grove

      (La tisi non le accorde che pocche ore….)

  • Rowna Sutin

    The Nutmeg State send La best wishes for a speedy recovery!

  • Luvtennis

    Large quantities of top quality absinthe. One liter before bed. When you finally wake up, your cold will be gone.

    • Krunoslav

      Don’t you mean “if”? :)

      • Luvtennis

        Yes. But who pays attention to the warning label! Sobriety is so November 7, 2016. Sometimes unconsciousness is the only way to go….

  • Big Finn

    La Cieca (in the picture above) gives very much the same air as the argentinian ballerina Manuel Palazzo during the whole 1st half of the “stage directed” WAR & PEACE recital of Joyce DiDonato. (in Helsinki 11/26) Wearing his loose and extravagantly flowing skirt by Vivienne Westwood that leaves his beautiful torso bare, Mr. Palazzo took four or five conscious poses during the hour, and in the extended the times he simply sat on a pedestal or behind the string players, just tilting his head slightly, as if to give the impression that he was aware of the music around, or wishing to give it slight additional “meaning”…

    Miss DiDonato sounded fresh and well in the baroque repertoire, and the splendid small orchestra Il Pomo d’Oro was a big wonder. Only in the final encore, Morgen by Strauss, did the chops and the capacity of both Miss DiDonato and the orchestra, show their obvious limits. The planned stage tricks, videos and light effects might (or might not) work in a box shaped venue with a proper stage and stage lighting. In Helsinki’s wonderful new vineyard shaped Music Center with no surfaces to project into, the effects were only distracting and seemed like a poorly thought-through if not ridiculous effort. (Something had changed along the way; this recital was part of an extended baroque festival in Helsinki. The main catalogue, printed much earlier, states “visual design” by so-and-so, with no stage director. The program leaflet, printed for the actual recital, states a director, lighting and video designer, and not the original visual designer at all.)

    • Um. About to wade into tricky waters here but:
      Joyce has set up a website for this tour, which includes a section of adoring tweets about this concert series.

      I’m a great admirer of Joyce’s artistry but this website smacks of … uh … narcissism.

      • Big Finn

        Um. The staged recital concept is in the tricky waters. Before her final encore, Miss DiDonato, barefoot in her gilded gown, gave a long and overly humble speech about WHY in these horrible times she was judging her own integrity and dedication to music, and WHY this recital concept and content HAD TO come about. She also left each audience member her own dedicated Hallmark greeting card “created for Joyce” (raised fists amongst falling rose petals), and asked each participant to “think about and write down a way to reach a level of personal peace in these times of war”… and make the planet a better place. The earnestness and spectacle of all of this was so overbearing (calculated? manipulative?) that instead of contemplating art and the redeeming qualities of love, my thoughts wondered to murder, and I was tempted with an answer “1st shoot, tar and feather Mr. Trump”…

        • DonCarloFanatic

          Let’s not do this for four whole years. We’ll all drop dead of apoplexy.

          • Big Finn

            You mean mourn the Paris terrorist acts for another 4 years? Well, if Miss DiDonato continues with her War & Peace tour with 4 more years, what can we listeners do ;) I’m sure, though, there’ll be plenty of more wars and terrorists acts to build a recital concept on.

        • Stephen

          This is my first post on this site though i have been following it and entertained for some time. I saw Joyce in London. At first I found the whole thing a bit irritating -- having to find my seat in a dark Barbican hall, no clear view of those on stage and that distracting dancer. But the singing and playing soon won me over and I loved the Morgen encore. Now happily reliving the experience listening to the CD. I have never been to a JDD event that was anything less than good.

          • Cicciabella

            Welcome Stephen! Glad to “meet” a kindred spirit.

          • Clivia

            I also saw JDD in London and share your opinion that the music won out over the visual distractions. I was in the second row and unfortionately had a hard time avoiding looking at the tedious dancer lurking about. Just when I thought he might have drifted off stage he would pop up behind one of the players.

      • Cicciabella

        No, Trump is a narcissist, and he thinks the world would stop turning if no-one paid him any attention. DiDonato is just trying to make sense of the chaos and confusion around us. Because she is an artist, she does it with her art, whereas I, for example, do it by having a natter with my neighbour over a cup of tea. The light, video and dance show may not be to everyone’s taste, but you can’t fake sincerity, and DiDonato was 100% sincere onstage. She was eager to share her feelings with the audience (isn’t that what performing is about?), but also invited feedback, in the gentlest possible manner. Narcissists don’t want feedback: they just want attention and assent, which is why they surround themselves with yes-men and lackeys eager for rewards. You can be cynical about the Hallmark card and the Vivienne Westwood costumes and the bare-chested dancer, but I don’t for one moment doubt that DiDonato is genuinely trying to converse with her audience, while also giving them some bang for her buck. At the Concertgebouw the video was projected against what we call “the big organ”, so its purpose was very clear. I can imagine that it’s difficult to tailor a travelling show for each and every hall on the tour. It’s a risky concept and she has taken the risk.

        On a technical level, DiDonato deserves credit for doing something new with the recital formula which, unless you have a star with megawattage onstage and a bunch of adoring fans willing to overlook any shortcomings, can be rather boring.

        • Dame Vivienne was in the news just last week…

          ‘Dame Vivienne told the crowd to switch to green energy following her son’s demonstration. Leaning out of the back window on the top of a green double-decker bus, parked on the river bank, she said: “This is the first step towards a free world. It’s the most important thing you could ever do in your life.”‘

          • Cicciabella

            Yes, I saw that. I hope when people read such items that they remember that most parents are not responsible for the actions of their grown-up children. In this particular case, however, maybe it’s not that surprising that the son would want to burn objects associated with a deeply disturbed father.

  • Liz.S

    Good to hear you’re you’re getting better. I hope this would cheer you up a little.

    I’m not familiar with this work but Kosky’s making it sound so interesting. It will be streamed next Sat and will be available on demand @

    AND, as you know, on the following day, Sunday, we’ll have Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk webcast by an ex-Komische team (Kupfer & Petrenko) from Munich also. Lots to look forward to. :)

    Gute Besserung!


    I was almost getting worried. Glad you’re on the mend. Great picture of the divine Miss B. and I’m still laughing at ‘Troy Story’ (genius).