Cher Public

Book club

La Cieca hears that the opening night of La Scala’s 2013 season will feature a new production of La traviata starring Diana Damrau and Piotr Beczala, directed by… no, not Franco Zeffirelli, but Dmitri Tcherniakov. And, yes, this should be amusing. Read more »

Wait… what?

“La Scala has canceled the inaugural ballet of its season because of a strike by the chorus.” [AP]

Stairway to paradise

We approach, beloveds, as unto a shrine, for these are no ordinary performances. Nay, for most opera lovers this is the equivalent of a trip to Lourdes, Oberammergau and the Holy See in Rome with 24-bit digital remastering laid on. For Our Lady Maria Meneghini Callas sacrificed her voice on the stage of La Scala so that we may all live on with the memories for ever and ever. Amen.

The lovely people who run that big theatre in Milan have decided it’s high time to publish their trove of treasures since all the other opera houses are already in on the game. Vienna and the Salzburg Festival, Glyndebourne, Covent Garden, and the Met have all been releasing archival performances now for years and some of them quite wonderful indeed. Not to be outdone, La Scala is publishing small format (7.5” by 5.5”, exact measurements are always important) hardback books called Memories with dozens of delicious archival performance and backstage photos and set and costume designs.   Read more »

Il le faut, il le faut

Due to health reasons, Natalie Dessay has withdrawn from the performances of Massenet’s Manon.

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Behind the red curtain

It was indeed a curious sensation  making a late morning trek to East 59th Street, a block devoted to showro0ms for bizarre upscale furniture and lighting fixtures, and then to enter a boutique cinema specializing in Hindi films (the big coming attraction right now is Desi Boyz) — and all this before sitting down in an auditiorium half- full of retirees to see a live performance of Don Giovanni from La Scala. That it worked as a Mozart experience I think can be chalked up to two factors: Robert Carsen‘s production and the constantly improving (if still imperfect) HD technology. 

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Mirror, mirror

La Cieca is just back from the HD of Don Giovanni from La Scala: excellent singing through the whole cast, strong conducting (if tending to the slow side) by Daniel Barenboim, and a smart, chic production from Robert Carsen that frankly makes Michael Grandage look like an utter bumpkin. The presentation will repeat here in New York (and elsewhere) in coming days.

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Full of stars

La Scala will announce its 2011-2012 season perhaps as early as tomorrow, but in the meantime La Cieca has discovered that the Milan season will open with a gala new production of Don Giovanni, conducted by Daniel Barenboim and directed by Robert Carsen. The delectable cast is scheduled to include Anna Netrebko (Donna Anna), Elina Garanca (Donna Elvira), Bryn Terfel (Leporello), Peter Mattei (Don Giovanni) and Giuseppe Filianoti (Don Ottavio).

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Twilight of the god?

René Pape has withdrawn from La Scala’s season-opening new production of Die Walküre, in what was to have been his role debut as Wotan. Vitalij Kowaljow will substitute.  Pape is still scheduled to sing this role at the Berlin Staatsoper in April 2011. It is not clear at this point if Pape’s decision was based on vocal issues or a very reasonable unwillingness to spend five hours of stage time cavorting with mimes.  

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La Scala Upper West

Everything I need to know about Bizet I learned at a Judy Chicago exhibit in 1996. Brutality against women is pervasive, and society is culpable by permitting it. Such grievances were aired at the expense of the composer’s chef d’oeuvre Carmen yesterday at La Scala’s Gala opening, viewed dal vivo at Symphony Space on 95th and Broadway.

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vil milanese

The season at La Scala continues under the guidance of Daniele Gatti.

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