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Plank your lucky stars

You Wagnerians out there (and you know who you are!) who are so busily either enjoying this season’s Ring cycle (or, perhaps, not so much) maybe be fascinated and/or appalled to hear that the next scheduled appearance of the Met’s production has been canceled, as irrevocably as these things can ever be. What we know, after the jump. Read more »

Pyramid scheme

The Metropolitan Opera was just over 100 years old when on January 19, 1984 it premiered Rinaldo, its first ever opera by George Frideric Handel; Samson (not an opera, by the way), Giulio Cesare and Rodelinda have followed. History repeated itself on Thursday when Sir David McVicar’s eclectically entertaining production arrived, the second time the MET has resorted to importing a nearly decade-old Cesare from England. But with a hard-working cast crowned by a resurgent Natalie Dessay as Cleopatra, the Met has done an honorable job in bringing back this most popular and enjoyable of Handel’s great masterpieces.   Read more »

Vil cutlet

“…Mary Queen of Scots calls Elizabeth I ‘vil bastarda’ — a lowborn bastard. The phrase was considered so inflammatory back in 1835 that the La Scala world premiere was shut down after a single performance. At the Met, though, the emotional temperature ran a little lower. True, Joyce DiDonato’s Mary spat out those fighting words in a tangy chest voice, but it was hard to believe she meant them.” [New York Post]

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Wigs and weaves

It’s easiest to write reviews when there are soaring triumphs and miserable failures.

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soap hunk: ‘opera shrank my wang!’

The colleague who sent the following item to La Cieca called it “the best opera story of the year,” and your doyenne cannot but agree. It seems that back in 2001 a young actor named Juan Pablo di Pace did a nude scene in David McVicar‘s production of Rigoletto for the Royal Opera. A photograph of a scene from the opera (including the starkers super) has been used since then in the ROH’s advertising of the production. (Meanwhile, Juan Pablo has risen from the ranks of nude walkons to achieve fame and fortune as a star of the BBC Scotland [...]

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