Headshot of La Cieca

Cher Public

  • willym: I have not great love or hate of the lady as a musician – only really heard her once in... 10:06 PM
  • Poison Ivy: This reminds me of a story my friend likes to tell. He was traveling through Paris and Italy and... 10:03 PM
  • Camille: No SQUILLO! It is what it is with what he has got, but am afraid Italian operas such as these demand... 9:48 PM
  • Resistopiu: well to be fair Gwyneth was a little more measured back then, and a lovely lady, always had time... 9:45 PM
  • Camille: Ha! I am surprised they discovered–f inalmente–th at score of Arizona Lady which I... 9:43 PM
  • LT: Is it really new? I read somewhere it was sort of a recycled version of the old one. 9:37 PM
  • Camille: This is a note of appreciation to Mr STEPAN ATAMIAN, announcer and programmer for the Saturday Night... 9:17 PM
  • la vociaccia: Really not liking Jonas in this. There isn’t really any charisma in the timbre- the... 8:49 PM
  • Camille: MAH! This “Down to earth Diva” shit has GOT to STOP!! An oxymoron that must die! That... 8:42 PM
  • Camille: La Cieca—please! Dissing Renée is so 1997! “Ain’t it a pretty voice” was a... 8:32 PM

The girl next door

Andrea Andermann, the producer who brought you Tosca in the Settings and at the Times of Tosca, Traviata in Paris, and Rigoletto in Mantova, is preparing for a telecast of La Cenerentola, to be performed and broadcast in two consecutive days, as per libretto, and filmed inside several palaces of Turin, with the Reggia Sabauda (the Savoy Royal Palace) as Ramiro’s abode.   Read more »

Cross purposes

fedora_amazonIt was while attending a performance of Fédora in Naples in 1885 that eighteen year-old Umberto Giordano fell in love with Sardou’s then immensely popular play; the protagonist was none other than Sarah Bernhardt, the creator of the title role.

He immediately asked the French dramatist to sell him the rights, a request Sardou did not even take into consideration.  After the composer scored modest successes with Marina, Mala vita and Regina Diaz, Sardou seemed almost persuaded to relent, although the publisher Sonzogno considered the author’s financial demands too excessive.  Only after the triumph of Andrea Chénier did Sardou and Sonzogno come to an agreement, and Giordano was finally able to devote himself to his long-awaited project. Read more »

Just around the corner

macbeth_amazonCubes and Macbeth seem to have been a successful pairing in the recent Regietheater.

Graham Vick’s production of Macbeth at the Teatro alla Scala in the 1997/98 season had become famous, or infamous, for centering its spirit and energies on a big cube dominating both sets and singers. David Pountney exploited the same idea of a “cubic” Macbeth in his production of the Verdi masterpiece for the Opernhaus Zürich in 2001 (staged a few years later also in San Francisco), now re-released on DVD by ArtHaus Musik.  Read more »

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A pretty girl milking her cow

If I had been handed Clari’s score without being told the name of the composer, I might have thought it was a lost Rossini opera, albeit a minor one.  I would have probably assigned it to the early period of Rossini’s career, because it shows more similarities with works like La pietra del paragone and L’inganno felice than his later masterpieces, particularly in the first act. When Fromental Halévy’s Clari was premiered in 1828 in Paris, the renowned music critic Fétis called it a “Rossinade”, summing up with just one word the essence of this opera. Halévy had no choice.  [...]

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Ma, deh! Non dirgli, improvvido…

“Le pene d’amore non uccisero la Callas” reads the rather sensational headline: “The pains of love did not kill Callas.” The actual story in La Stampa is more sober, telling of an investigative study into the causes of the diva’s vocal decline and eventual death.

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Vergin territory

Incredible, but true, I Puritani had not been performed in Great Britain since 1887 when Glyndebourne decided to stage it in 1960 with the main intention to showcase Joan Sutherland, who had been catapulted to international superstardom one year earlier in the legendary Lucia di Lammermoor at Covent Garden. Furthermore, Vittorio Gui, who had already been introducing the Glyndebourne audiences to Rossini, was eager to add more belcanto works to the repertoire of that opera company. This effort is now documented on the CD just released on the Glyndebourne Enterprise label.  

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Critical addition

Very few things intrigue me as much as analyzing belcanto operas, comparing their several versions and examining the composers’ second thoughts, modifications and revisions that, willingly or unwillingly, they made to their scores. I was already salivating when I heard that the Teatro Comunale di Bologna was going to perform Vincenzo Bellini’s I Puritani in the new critical edition by Fabrizio Della Seta.  DECCA, which has released this DVD documenting the 2009 Bologna performances, reports on its cover that this Puritani follows the above-mentioned critical edition, but unfortunately it is not telling the whole truth.

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Kaufmann, Italian style

Our Own Ercole Farnese discovered and translated this interview in La Stampa with Jonas Kaufmann, in which the tenor discusses his “his idolatrous success with ladies and gay men, four fifths of the opera-goers.”

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A tale of two Alagnas

In 1890 Cavalleria rusticana had taken the whole world by storm and in the next decade or so, hordes of composers, willing or unwillingly, jumped on the Verismo bandwagon.  La navarraise (1894) is generally considered Jules Massenet’s homage to the genre, and for a long time the two works were often performed together.   Emma Calvé, the creator of the title role in Massenet’s opera, and one of the most illustrious champions of the Verismo movement, frequently appeared in the two operas in the same evening.  

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Sicilian Whispers

There is no peace for Verdi in Parma.  As a second production of its Verdi Festival the Teatro Regio presented I vespri siciliani on October 10,  starring Giacomo Prestia as Procida, Leo Nucci as Monforte, and the lovebirds Daniela Dessì and Fabio Armiliato as Elena and Arrigo. 

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