Headshot of La Cieca

Cher Public

  • Buster: First hearing: 1) 2) KIrsten Flagstad 3) 4) 5) Gundula Janowitz 6) Inga Nielsen 7) 8 ) 9) Galina 10)... 2:25 AM
  • musesick man: One place where Mr. Gelb has completely disappointed me is in the arena of co-productions.... 1:01 AM
  • la vociaccia: No. Voters are being hyperbolic for the sake of drama. When Dessay had trouble at the... 12:56 AM
  • musesick man: I don’t know that there are plans other than “we don’t know what to do so... 12:51 AM
  • Constantine A. Papas: It’s really silly to argue about words such a “obsolete 221; or... 12:35 AM
  • parpignol: not a very exciting season, but still plenty to enjoy; in addition to the productions mentioned... 12:23 AM
  • philomel: Only La Cieca knows for sure ;-). 12:07 AM
  • laddie: I just heard Erin Morley sing a coloratura tour-de-force performance in Santa Fe. She dispatched the... 12:05 AM
  • philomel: Predictions were asked for, I gave mine with self described anecdotal evidence for my opinions.... 12:03 AM
  • Lohenfal: I agree with you that Gelb is only part of the picture. The union contracts negotiated by Volpe... 12:01 AM

A dude? Am I a dude? Madame Flora, a dude?

It’s just not true that Gian Carlo Menotti composed The Medium as an opera only because he couldn’t get Joan Crawford to do it when his libretto was originally a screenplay. But you can see how these rumors get started. I know what I’m talking about here, because I started that one myself.   Read more »

L’infelice Aragonese

Camille Saint-Saëns was such a brilliant, facile musician that pals like Wagner and Liszt felt a distinct schadenfreude when he suffered composer’s block. Still, in a career of some eighty years’ length, he completed a dozen operas (not to mention symphonies and concertos and, as Leon Botstein explained and demonstrated at Bard, the world’s first full-length film score)—but you are unlikely to have heard more than one of the operas.  Read more »

Thirds and music

Richard Wagner told Cosima he first got the idea of composing an opera about Tristan and Isolde while he was conducting Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi starring his muse, Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient, in the trouser role of Romeo.

Wagner said lots of stuff. Whether this bit was true or not, it was Wagner’s high opinion of Bellini (especially Norma, of course) that kept the man in the repertory outside of Italy through the dark years of verismo and Gesamtkünstwerk. Happily, the two men never met; Wagner would have tried to borrow money and you know how that would have turned out.  Read more »