Headshot of La Cieca

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Pape music

There is something so very Don Draper about René Pape. The German bass is blessed with one of the most beautiful, sonorous instruments of all time. There is never a hint of a Bayreuth bark about Pape’s voice—it is rich, deep, loud, like a fine Cabernet Sauvignon. When he first came on the opera scene everyone swooned over that beautiful voice. But just as Don Draper refuses to curry favor with anyone in his life, Pape has proved to be a stubborn, mystifying artist.   Read more »

Hysterical blondeness

With its worrisome labor troubles behind it, the Met really did have something to celebrate this fall at its ultra-swanky Opening Night gala. Unfortunately the Peter Gelb tradition of premiering a new production came a cropper with Le Nozze di Figaro in Sir Richard Eyre’s lackluster ersatz-Spanish 1930s staging. The next night’s Bohème was reportedly a bit of a mess and its erratic soprano has already been replaced. However, Wednesday brought the “real” season opener, an indelible, indispensable night at the opera: a starry revival of Verdi’s Macbeth crowned by Anna Netrebko’s demented Lady.   Read more »

We’ll settle that tonight!

La Cieca has been wining, dining and otherwise wooing her Met connection (pictured above) and he (or is it she?) has come across with some tidbits about upcoming seasons at Casa Gelb, detailed after the jump. Read more »

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The case of the missing vehicle

La Cieca’s sources tell her that a planned revival of Faust at the Met in the fall of 2014 has been canceled, because who wants to see that ugly thing again, or else the leading lady didn’t feel like singing it, whichever.

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Teen spirit

La Cieca thought it would be amusing to do a bit of speculation about what’s to come as we approach the middle of the decade.

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Ring à la russe

Wagner is becoming an important calling card for Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre.

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Square cut or pear shaped

At tonight’s Faust performance, two events of note: René Pape, upon his re-entrance after the Jewel Song, ad-libbed the spoken line “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” The performance, a broadcast, was the basso’s final one of this production.) After this moment of comedy, drama followed at the curtain calls.

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Madame XY

Versatile diva Violeta Urmana takes on the demanding verismo role of Giordano’s Fedora for the first time at… Oh, sorry, that’s René Pape as Méphistophélès in Faust at Covent Garden! (Photo by Catherine Ashmore)

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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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pape idle?

La Cieca hears that Rene Pape has just canceled an upcoming production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Now, we New Yorkers perhaps should not panic quite yet, because the engagement he has just asked to be released from is not at the Met. On the other hand, the Hoffmann Pape is leaving is after his scheduled Met dates and (so La Cieca hears) the version of the music he was to be asked to sing is more or less identical to the mongrel edition James Levine uses at the Met. Which suggests that, in fact, maybe we should panic – because, if [...]

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