La Cieca is simply beside herself to announce what she is confident will be both the biggest and most exciting parterre box competition of all time. This competition is called “Reading the Letter,” and it will test that most basic of opera queen skills, i.e., pretending to be a soprano. After the jump, La Cieca will explain how it works: 

1. At the end of this posting you will find links to download an mp3 and a pdf file, consisting respectively of the background track and the score of the “Teneste la promessa” scene from La traviata.

2. Using these materials, you are to create a performance of these famous lines:

«Teneste la promessa… la disfida ebbe luogo! il Barone fu ferito, però migliora… Alfredo è in stranio suolo; il vostro sacrifizio io stesso gli ho svelato. Egli a voi tornerà pe ‘l suo perdono; io pur verrò… Curatevi… mertate un avvenir migliore; Giorgio Germont.» È tardi!

The scene may be done as a video or as audio-only according to your talent and desire for anonymity, if any.

3.  Save your performance (whether video or audio-only) as a video file suitable for YouTube.  (All computers should have some type of video editing program available. If you need assistance, leave a comment below and some of the cher public will surely pitch in with advice.) Upload the resulting video to YouTube.

4.  Send La Cieca an email with a link to the YouTube video.

5.  As the competition progresses, La Cieca will post some of the more interesting entries here at parterre.com.

6.  The deadline for La Cieca’s receiving an email informing her of your entry is midnight, Sunday July 26.

7.  When all entries have been received, they will be reviewed by La Cieca’s blue-ribbon panel of experts. The panel will select four winning selections, each of which will be awarded a prize.

One winner will be chosen in each of the following categories:

  • Most Authentic Video
  • Most Audacious Video
  • Most Authentic Audio-only
  • Most Audacious Audio-only

(For the purposes of this competition, “Authentic” means doing the scene straight and serious; whereas “Audacious” means going for the laugh.  In either case, cleverness and creativity are encouraged!)

8.  From these four winners, you, the cher public, will select a “Best In Show” who will receive a fabulous grand prize.

So, warm up those pipes, cher public, and may the best Violetta win!

The downloads (right-click on the link, or “save as” to download):

* La Cieca wishes to express her gratitude to Our Own Sanford for preparing this accompaniment track. Sanford is, in fact, starting an online service creating these tracks for singers and instrumentalists: if you’re interested in sampling his wares or commissioning your own rehearsal track, you can contact him via email.