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Less than Zarah

In a slight detour from the usual all-opera-all-the-time format of parterre box, the queer opera zine, issue #44 centers on Ben Letzler‘s superb appreciation of film and cabaret diva Zarah Leander. This feature-rich installment also includes a gaggle of high-concept operas devised by Dawn Fatale, a reimagining of La gioconda as performed by the cast of TV’s Friends (courtesy of Hans Lick) and Our Own JJ‘s glowing review of Astrid Varnay‘s awesome autobiography. And don’t miss La Cieca‘s breathless accounts of Graham Vick‘s Trovatore at the Met and Renata Scotto‘s role debut as Klytämnestra in Elektra!  (“At times she reminded me of Vivien Leigh in Streetcar Named Desire or Ship of Fools in the way she seemed on the very brink of dissolving in hysterical tears, though never quite losing control.”) [Download Issue #44]

Drama queen

The very first words in this issue are “Renata Scotto will return to the American operatic stage in the 2001 season!” And if just gets more exciting from there!  Casting and repertoire gossip from all over the place; the Top 50 Excuses for Jane Eaglen‘s Isolde; reviews by Dawn Fatale, Qual Cor, Enzo Bordello, Doug Peck, Richard and Peter, Flora Bervoix and The Loge Lizard; Leila de Lakmé pays tribute to Leonie Rysanek, and that notorious “artist’s conception” of Renée Fleming with the nekkid guys in Alcina. [Download Issue #39]

Bass-barihunk

Richard Bernstein is a very good-looking guy, even with his clothes on.” An interview with the Speedo-sporting singer is the centerpiece of this Spring 1999 issue, along with gossip from La Cieca, a round-the-world revue from Enzo Bordello, a visit by Indiana Loiterer III to the Met’s premiere of Moses und Aron, a Renata Scotto discography by Leila de Lakmé and the evergreen aria parody “Ain’t it a pretty voice?” [Download Issue #36]

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That kind of diva

In Vintage Issue #32: How that opening night of Lohengrin might have gone; La Cieca on La Gran Scena…

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Once in half a lifetime

Then and now: the “Dio ti giocondi, o sposo” duet from Otello.

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Scotto talks

Parterre’s tutelary diva shares espresso and cookies with parterre’s fave scribe Zachary Woolfe in preparation for the gala Met Legends event honoring her next Sunday.

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This beaver looks like that beaver

Separated at birth: “Tu che di gel” goddess Renata Scotto and “Too much hair gel” oddness Johnny Weir. This is also holiday-themed breaking news because Johnny has now officially donned his gay apparel. [After Elton]

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Un wallow in maschera

Chicago’s opera community has been abuzz about this production of Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera ever since the 2010-11 Lyric Opera season was announced.  A sumptuous production owned by San Francisco opera, major female stars, a solid male cast of experienced Verdians, and stage direction by the legendary Renata Scotto—what more could one ask?  

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Mano a mano

I attend the opera intent on enjoying myself. If the music is not my favorite, there is always something to like, be it a colleague’s individual performance, the discovery of a newcomer, nifty stagecraft or costumes, observing the movement skills of the various singers, or in worst-case scenarios, observing the audience’s boredom, carefully notating the point-of-no-more-patience. My critical eye and ear are well-known, so I try not to be cynical as I silence my smartphone and smile at the sextagenarians who own the subscription seats next to me. 

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That is what fiction means

“As beautiful as her singing was, [Renata Scotto] never was much of an actress.” — Lotfi Mansouri: An Operatic Journey

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