Cher Public

the french mistake

La Cieca hears that at least one of the ultracool ultraqueer world premieres scheduled for the Met is definitely off the bill.

Peter Gelb has rejected the one-act opera Prima Donna by popster Rufus Wainwright, apparently on the grounds that the Met expected the libretto for an American-commissioned opera to be performed at an American opera house to be in, well, English.  In point of fact Wainwright wrote the libretto in his native French, or perhaps it would be better to say “in his native sophomore-level French” since the text includes such poetic sallies as “Vous avez dû mal dormir, Madame St Laurent. Avec tout le bruit des préparatifs du 14 juillet, nous sommes juste à côté des feux d’artifice. Voulez-vous votre petit-déjeuner ou du moins du café?”

Another line from the libretto, which La Cieca has determined is going to be the catchphrase for the 2008-2009 season, is “Eh bien! que l’atmosphère est bizarre!” which, as she thinks you will agree, will come in handy in all sorts of situations.

Anyway, with a Met staging off the table, Wainwright has handed off Prima Donna to the Manchester International Festival, where the work is set for a premiere in the summer of 2009. Le mot dans la rue is that the music is “reminiscent of Massenet,” which given the hothouse ambiance of the libretto doesn’t surprise La Cieca one bit.