As we launch into the fourth and final movement of our étude, La Cieca asks the musical question, “Can a Contemporary Diva achieve Grandezza, or, for that matter, Drag Imitability?” Let’s see what the numbers tell us.
Well, you could knock La Cieca over with a feathered headdress, but who do you think is capable of Grandezza when she puts her mind to it (and, perhaps more to the point, when she knows Robert Carsen is watching)? Why, that same soprano who is capable of just about anything—except, alas, reliably living up to her amazing capabilities!
This one’s a cakewalk for Angela, of course, but we’ve already seen her doing Emotional Journey, so let’s focus our gaze upon another modern mistress of malice.
Hair and Headgear
Allow La Cieca to kvetch for just a moment about the lamentable modern tendency toward singers (note: not divas) wearing their own hair onstage. Ladies, I knew Blanche Thebom, and, ladies, you are not Blanche Thebom. Again, Angie edges ahead, mostly thanks to her already legendary Lady Gaga-themed photo shoot, but for the purposes of this discussion, La Cieca prefers to highlight a diva who has basically made a second career of putting on and taking off wigs on stage whilst performing bel canto vehicles.
So, some would-be La Cieca imitators confidently claim, Anna Netrebko canceled her Met Traviata this season because she was self-conscious about exposing her zaftig curves in the skimpy “Little Red Dress.” Bull, says the real La Cieca. (“At 0:16, why does she turn the page on the music so quickly? How much music is printed on that first page? I can’t get past this!” says JCK.)
Yes, Edita looks very like a drag queen, but that’s mostly because she’s elderly and mannered, and Ceci and Natalie do too, but they’re both nuts, so that hardly counts. For real RuPaul’s Drag Race action, though, it’s not where you start, it’s where you’re Finnish.
Tomorrow, in the Epilogue, we tally the scores and name, once and definitively, The Greatest Diva of Our Generation.
Jay Caspian Kang, who has delighted us so often at Free Darko, also may be heard tweeting at maxpower51.