Cher Public

Count or countess

“Mezzo Susan Graham’s 2015-16 Includes Count/Countess Double Act at the Met Opera in November and December” [21c Media Group]

Tales of Stefan

This summer’s hottest opera event was Stefan Herheim‘s production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Bregenz Festival. The video after the jump has everything: transgender muses, planted hecklers, Offenbach, serendipitous allusions to Caitlyn Jenner, reassigned music and the origin of the world.   Read more »

Outskirts

Has anyone made Balzac’s “Sarrasine” into an opera? That’s the tale of a French artist in Rome falling in love with an opera diva—who turns out to be a castrato en travestie. (Women were forbidden the stage in Pope-land.) The story is simple, an anecdote, but the MacGuffin of gender is kept writhing in the air by the diva’s fear of her lover’s fury should he learn that the appealingly feminine creature he loves is, in fact, a man. Kind of like M. Butterfly. Roland Barthes wrote a charming structuralist analysis of the possible improbabilities of this tale, S/Z, and it has been given as a play, with two women, one melodramatic, one hilarious, and a drag performer (the great Bette Bourne), all playing the diva. At once.   Read more »