You know, it’s funny. Just this morning La Cieca was thinking, “Is it just me, or can I actually feel the days growing shorter now that midsummer is past?” At first your doyenne attributed the feeling to encroaching middle age; after all, middle age is her scapegoat for everything wrong these days. But in fact, there is just the slightest tinge of autumn in the air, and it’s not just all those jaded roués and gay divorcées who lunch at the Ritz. 

No, once again it’s that time of year when all the Little People of opera prepare to be thanked by the winners of the F. Paul Driscoll Awards for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence. This year’s recipients of The Opera News Award (as the accolade is known colloquially) include Natalie Dessay, Renée Fleming, Marilyn Horne, Sherrill Milnes and composer John Adams. Former Driscollites Susan Graham and Thomas Hampson will host the formal reception and dinner on November 16 in the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza Hotel.

Oh, a propos of nothing at all, La Cieca urges you to check out the article in the current New York magazine about the New New Face, detailing the latest trends in subtle cosmetic surgery said to be favored by fiftyish divas like Madonna and Demi Moore and, well, perhaps one or two others (“. . . the Mount Rushmore cheekbones, the angular jawline, the smoothed forehead, the plumped skin, the heartlike shape of the face. Their faces didn’t seem pulled tight in that typical face-lift way; they seemed pushed out.”)