James Jorden

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.

Martin Bernheimer 1936-2019 Martin Bernheimer 1936-2019

Critic Martin Bernheimer has died. He was 83.

on September 29, 2019 at 1:57 PM
The damned don’t cry The damned don’t cry

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.

on April 07, 2019 at 1:17 PM
Jump for my love Jump for my love

Soprano Iulia Isaev proved to be in just about every way a lovely Tosca.

on March 19, 2019 at 10:11 AM
Why parterre box is not going to cover the David Daniels / Scott Walters arrest Why parterre box is not going to cover the David Daniels / Scott Walters arrest

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.

on January 30, 2019 at 11:16 PM
Silver lies hidden in the core of dreams Silver lies hidden in the core of dreams

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.

on December 03, 2018 at 7:45 AM
Unfair ‘Lady’ Unfair ‘Lady’

A revival of My Fair Lady at Lincoln Center makes a muddle of the show’s thoughtful elements and isn’t particularly funny either. 

on May 01, 2018 at 5:46 PM
Bringing up Bondy Bringing up Bondy

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.

on January 05, 2018 at 12:16 PM
Panache room Panache room

“Roberto Alagna has found his most congenial and emotionally moving role yet: Cyrano de Bergerac.”

on May 03, 2017 at 6:19 PM
A quiet girl A quiet girl

“Tatiana has developed into one of Netrebko’s very best roles.”

on April 03, 2017 at 12:38 PM
Wig schlock Wig schlock

Despite the participation of venerable composer Carlisle Floyd, the only distinction Prince of Players can claim is as the worst drag show in Manhattan.

on February 24, 2017 at 11:22 AM
Leading lady Leading lady

“She not only sang the difficult leading role, she also directed the opera.”

on February 15, 2017 at 2:24 PM
Women beware women Women beware women

Prototype: Opera/Theatre/Now presented new works in which women were variously gang-raped, eviscerated and executed by firing squad.

on January 10, 2017 at 11:43 AM
Comparisons are odious Comparisons are odious

One thing that is killing opera is the practice of critics’ comparing the singers they heard last night to dead or retired artists.

on January 06, 2017 at 3:30 PM
Stone soup Stone soup

“A case of histronic personality disorder a deux.”

on January 03, 2017 at 1:17 PM
Mighty real Mighty real

Anna Netrebko‘s artistry is both subtle and thrilling.

on August 30, 2016 at 4:08 PM
The name game The name game

“And what, after all, is this ‘love’ everyone keeps singing about and dying for?”

on August 19, 2016 at 10:08 AM
Glister act Glister act

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.”

on January 28, 2016 at 1:08 PM
Cherchez la femme Cherchez la femme

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.

on January 28, 2016 at 9:00 AM
Hello there, masterpiece Hello there, masterpiece

Fellow parterrians, my review in the Observer of this year’s PROTOTYPE festival does not appear until Wednesday.

on January 10, 2016 at 10:41 PM
La povera mia cena La povera mia cena

“Puccini’s Tosca is what is known in the trade as a ‘bread and butter’ opera.”

on October 22, 2015 at 2:50 PM
Portrait of a lady Portrait of a lady

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.

on July 12, 2014 at 2:36 AM
No one who speaks German could be an evil man No one who speaks German could be an evil man

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.

on September 02, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Ring?  What ring? Ring?  What ring?

All right, I admit it; I finally broke down and read the program notes for the Ring in the Bayreuth program book.

on August 29, 2013 at 10:19 PM
The Platz thickens The Platz thickens

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.

on August 26, 2013 at 6:18 AM