Our Own JJ

James Jorden (who writes under the names “La Cieca” and “Our Own JJ”) is the founder and editor of parterre box. During his 20 year career as an opera critic he has written for the New York Times, Opera, Gay City News, Opera Now, Musical America and the New York Post. He has also raised his voice in punditry on National Public Radio. From time to time he has directed opera, including three unsuccessful productions of Don Giovanni, a work he hopes to return to someday. He is the co-creator, writer and occasional wig stylist for “The Dozen Divas,” the long-running cabaret show starring the ineffable Dorothy Bishop. Currently he alternates his doyenne duties with writing a twice-weekly column on opera for the New York Observer.



The name game

Turandot“And what, after all, is this ‘love’ everyone keeps singing about and dying for? As R. B. Schlather demonstrated, it’s not about the noisy orgasm but rather the gentle comfort of resting a weary head on the shoulder of a long-time partner.” (Photo: Cory Weaver) [Observer]

Glister act

New York City Opera Renaissance’s Tosca “was opera at its most retrograde, an effort to recreate a golden age from a handful of tinsel.” [New York Observer]

Cherchez la femme

Our Own JJ’s muse Dorothy Bishop returns to New York’s plush Metropolitan Room tomorrow night with another edition of her “Dozen Divas” revue, featuring 12 diva impressions in the breakneck course of a single 70 minute show.   Read more »

Hello there, masterpiece

Fellow parterrians, my review in the Observer of this year’s PROTOTYPE festival does not appear until Wednesday.

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La povera mia cena

“Puccini’s Tosca is what is known in the trade as a ‘bread and butter’ opera.”

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Portrait of a lady

There’s hands-on and then there’s hands-on, and the latter was definitely in play in the lobby of the Kaye Playhouse just before Thursday night’s performance of La traviata by the Martina Arroyo Foundation’s Prelude to Performance program.

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No one who speaks German could be an evil man

If Frank Castorf‘s work on Der Ring des Nibelungen at Bayreuth accomplishes nothing else, it should serve as a sort of loud disorganized reminder of the dangers of indulging in the intentional fallacy.

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Ring? What ring?

All right, I admit it; I finally broke down and read the program notes for the Ring in the Bayreuth program book.

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The Platz thickens

I’m told that the public were, if hardly enthusiastic, at least ambivalent toward the Frank Castorf Ring up until the first performance of Siegfried, at which point things got really ugly and the booing started in earnest.

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Flame off

First things first: working from the limited evidence of half or less than half of Frank Castorf’s production of the Ring, I don’t see any evidence of contempt for the audience or whatever you want to call it.

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