Cher Public

Roberto Devereux: Tragedy Mirrored

Devereux Leyla GencerBy the time Roberto Devereux saw its premiere at Napoli’s Teatro San Carlo on 29 October, 1837, Gaetano Donizetti had lost, in an 18-month time frame, both his parents, two still-born children, and his beloved wife Virginia. (Ten years later, the unfortunate composer, after a gradual descent into madness, met a grisly end, from complications of syphilis.) The opera was completed a month after his wife’s death. We can scarcely imagine how the composer, in his grief, summoned up the means to create an opera—and one that so often teems with his richest levels of inspiration.  Read more »

Every little thing she does is magic

A while back I joined a closed group on Facebook called “The Beverly Sills Crazies.” I can’t recall how I found the first posting on my feed but they seemed like a fun bunch and I’m a great accumulator of digital pictures of set and costume designs. It’s been dubbed my “Opera Porn” collection. When knocking on the door to be let in I did feel it necessary to be frank in that, although I appreciated Ms. Sills and certainly enjoyed her work, I was not “crazy” for her. (My secret heart belongs to another diva.)

I was nonetheless received into the fold with a formal posting on the page and many joyful welcomes. It is, by far, the most well-behaved and pleasant group of people I have ever encountered on the interwebs. They luxuriate in their Beverly exclusively with remembrances, photos, keepsakes and the occasional porcelain figurine. They continue to show their devotion to her through their unstinting good humor and camaraderie.  Read more »

Red-headed woman

Forty-nine years ago this month, Beverly Sills sang Cleopatra at New York City Opera and became an overnight sensation at age 37. Surprisingly she sang only two other Handel roles, one—Semele—is featured in this scintillating souvenir from the 1969 Caramoor Festival.   Read more »

Chris and the pirates

Back when I was a good boy, I told my parents that my goal in getting my first job was to earn money for college; however, my real motive was to make my secret wish come true—to be able to consort with “pirates.”

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Brooklyn Queen Express

Our own Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin delves back into those days when there was another opera company in New York, and (what’s more) the opera done there was worth hearing.

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La voce sua soave

At Camille‘s request, here’s some all-American Bellini from our dear Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin: a live performance of I puritani from New York City Opera featuring Beverly Sills.

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Squillo talk

Tenor Michael Fabiano has been named the recipient of the ninth annual Beverly Sills Artist Award for young singers at the Metropolitan Opera.

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Est-ce vrai? Grand merci!

Among the many reasons La Cieca has to be thankful: the legacy of Mike Richter on his CD-ROMs.

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Deeds of kindness to review

For decades thousands and thousands have attended Handel’s Messiah (usually around Christmas or more appropriately near Easter) making it easily one of the most widely known works of classical music.

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Re-entrance

La Cieca (not pictured) has just accessed a new feature in YouTube that imported a dozen or so “classic” parterre video clips from Google Video into the familiar YouTube interface.

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