James Jorden (who writes under the names "La Cieca" and "Our Own JJ") is the founder and editor of parterre box. During his 20 year career as an opera critic he has written for the New York Times, Opera, Gay City News, Opera Now, Musical America and the New York Post. He has also raised his voice in punditry on National Public Radio. From time to time he has directed opera, including three unsuccessful productions of Don Giovanni, a work he hopes to return to someday. He is the co-creator, writer and occasional wig stylist for "The Dozen Divas," the long-running cabaret show starring the ineffable Dorothy Bishop. Currently he alternates his doyenne duties with writing a twice-weekly column on opera for the New York Observer.
Critic Martin Bernheimer has died. He was 83.
Michael Mayer‘s production of La traviata at the Met is so timid, so devoid of insight, so cynically pandering and gaudy that I hardly feel like it even matters what I think of the performances of the current cast.
Soprano Iulia Isaev proved to be in just about every way a lovely Tosca.
The arrest of an important gay opera star and his husband on a serious criminal charge is undoubtedly news and almost certain to be interest to regular readers of parterre box.
parterre box published its first issue on December 3, 1993. That date was chosen because Our Own JJ wished to honor the 70th anniversary of the birth of Maria Callas.
A revival of My Fair Lady at Lincoln Center makes a muddle of the show’s thoughtful elements and isn’t particularly funny either.
The more ignorant segments of the public and the critical establishment continue to shout praise to David McVicar‘s torpid Tosca as the greatest triumph of the reactionary since the Bourbon Restoration.
“Roberto Alagna has found his most congenial and emotionally moving role yet: Cyrano de Bergerac.”
“Tatiana has developed into one of Netrebko’s very best roles.”
Despite the participation of venerable composer Carlisle Floyd, the only distinction Prince of Players can claim is as the worst drag show in Manhattan.
“She not only sang the difficult leading role, she also directed the opera.”
Prototype: Opera/Theatre/Now presented new works in which women were variously gang-raped, eviscerated and executed by firing squad.
One thing that is killing opera is the practice of critics’ comparing the singers they heard last night to dead or retired artists.
“A case of histronic personality disorder a deux.”
Anna Netrebko‘s artistry is both subtle and thrilling.
“And what, after all, is this ‘love’ everyone keeps singing about and dying for?”
New York City Opera Renaissance’s Tosca “was opera at its most retrograde, an effort to recreate a golden age from a handful of tinsel.”
Our Own JJ’s muse Dorothy Bishop returns to New York’s plush Metropolitan Room tomorrow night with another edition of her “Dozen Divas” revue.
Fellow parterrians, my review in the Observer of this year’s PROTOTYPE festival does not appear until Wednesday.
“Puccini’s Tosca is what is known in the trade as a ‘bread and butter’ opera.”
There’s hands-on and then there’s hands-on, and the latter was definitely in play in the lobby of the Kaye Playhouse just before Thursday night’s performance of La traviata by the Martina Arroyo Foundation’s Prelude to Performance program.
If Frank Castorf‘s work on Der Ring des Nibelungen at Bayreuth accomplishes nothing else, it should serve as a sort of loud disorganized reminder of the dangers of indulging in the intentional fallacy.
All right, I admit it; I finally broke down and read the program notes for the Ring in the Bayreuth program book.
I’m told that the public were, if hardly enthusiastic, at least ambivalent toward the Frank Castorf Ring up until the first performance of Siegfried, at which point things got really ugly and the booing started in earnest.