La Cieca

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. Currently he alternates his doyenne duties with writing a weekly column on opera for the New York Observer.


La Cieca’s spy L’Inconnu in the City of Brotherly Love (which, given the circumstances, she supposes she should specify is Philadelphia) whispers: La Cieca favorite Stephen Costello is one of the only worthwhile reasons to catch David DiChiera‘s new opera Cyrano premiering tomorrow night at the Opera Company of Philadelphia. The men truly led the…

on February 07, 2008 at 2:40 PM

Officially, Anna Netrebko is expecting her baby “this autumn,” and La Cieca of course extends her and Erwin Schrott all the best wishes. However, let’s take a peek at a few recent photos of Netrebko… [Traviata at Covent Garden, early January] [Arriving at the Opernball in Vienna, February 1] [On set of Boheme film, around…

on February 07, 2008 at 2:26 PM

That sizzling septuagenarian Dame Gwyneth Jones, now in the fifth decade of her career, celebrates a “first” this weekend when she makes “her long awaited Scandinavian debut” singing Herodias in a new production of Salome with the Malmö Opera. Now, that is what La Cieca calls a lovely all-purpose costume!  Should Dame Gwyneth add to her repertoire…

on February 07, 2008 at 12:47 PM

La Cieca was just recalling that soon after she arrived in New York back in 19-mumble-mumble, she screwed up her courage to audition for that most august of impresarios, Ira Siff of La Gran Scena Opera. Back in those days your doyenne thought she had what it took to be a great prima donna (including…

on February 06, 2008 at 10:38 PM

La Cieca is indebted to those Wellsungs for this idea: what’s your birth opera? Or, in other words, which opera (and cast, if applicable) was the Met performing on the day you were born? (You get this information, of course, from the Met Archives Database.) Unfortunately, La Cieca, being a Leo, was born outside the regular…

on February 05, 2008 at 4:49 PM

One of the cher public sent in this tidbit from the recently-published edition of The Letters of Noël Coward: Went to hear Albanese as Manon Lescaut and it was a grave grave mistake on account of she didn’t ought to have attempted it for several reasons. Time’s Wingèd Chariot being the principal one. She sang most…

on February 05, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Our previous Regie quiz didn’t stump many of you: the opera was Der Fliegende Holländer in productions by Calixto Bieito (doghouse), Peter Konwitschny (spinning class) and Christopher Alden (corpse bride). And now, what might this opera be?

on February 05, 2008 at 12:02 PM

Unfortunately, on this occasion, the text is all too apt. Fiorenza Cossotto in 2007 (!) demonstrates why it is better to quit while you are ahead.

on February 05, 2008 at 10:25 AM

Your doyenne didn’t even make it through the first paragraph of this opera-related article: “I’m not a patient person,” Anna Chatterton confesses over a quinoa brownie at a Toronto coffee shop… A female version of Don Giovanni by a veganess composer? It just doesn’t sound, well, promising, now does it?

on February 04, 2008 at 11:45 PM

…am dunklen Hage. Oh, and by the way, it’s always a delight to hear news about dear Lucine Amara!

on February 04, 2008 at 11:35 PM

In the second act of Carmen, the eponymous gypsy says “Holà!.. Lillas Pastia, holà!.. nous mangerons tout… tu me régales… holà! holà …. Tiens, attrape… et apporte-nous des fruits confits; apporte-nous des bonbons, apporte-nous des oranges, apporte-nous du Manzanilla… apporte-nous de tout ce que tu as, de tout, de tout…” Well, that line is cut…

on February 04, 2008 at 10:30 AM

Your doyenne has added a contact page so you may email her with all your tastiest soupcons!

on February 03, 2008 at 11:34 PM

Amazing Anja Silja in one of her bazillion roles: Lady Macbeth. ” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

on February 03, 2008 at 12:42 AM

So the code for the new design is buggy. In the meantime La Cieca has a generic design in place and everything still works. Enjoy the newly unfettered discussion function!

on February 03, 2008 at 12:38 AM

It looks as if those whispers about a romance between two of opera’s most charismatic stars have been correct all along. La Cieca has just heard from a generally reliable source that Anna Netrebko and Erwin Schrott are now “officially engaged” and will set a wedding date “within the year.”

on February 02, 2008 at 7:09 PM

Those of you who follow parterre.com via RSS will want to change the feed address. The new feed may be found at http://parterre.com/?feed=rss2 — or you can simply click on the button to the right to add parterre.com to your favorite reader.

on February 02, 2008 at 2:53 PM

More years ago than La Cieca would care to say, dear Gertie Dammerung wrote an hilarious parody of the song “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” which La Cieca published in the dimly-remembered print version of parterre box. Time passes. Then, only yesterday, La Cieca received an email from equally dear Hans Lick enclosing an updated version…

on February 02, 2008 at 3:26 AM

Which star of a recent new Met production showed up at an industry party on Thursday night with her new girlfriend in tow? It seems the diva is extending her sojourn in Manhattan to spend more time with this new (and very young) flame she met in the restroom of a downtown lesbian bar.

on February 02, 2008 at 2:13 AM

La Cieca’s observant spy Joe Conda infiltrated the January 29 interview of Anja Silja and Eva Wagner-Pasquier, reporting that sadly the event was something of a non-starter. He blamed interlocutrix Nimet Habachy, who mostly lobbed “generic” softball questions. La Silja did have a few well-reasoned observations about role preparation and her distaste for the concept…

on February 02, 2008 at 1:30 AM

Cher public, La Cieca acted with her usual impetuosity last night and migrated the blog to WordPress. For the last couple of months, Blogger has been slower and slower to post to FTP, and their Help Desk might better be called “Desk.” The frustration really peaked late yesterday afternoon when La Cieca got the “fishbone”…

on February 01, 2008 at 1:44 PM

Now that Angela Gheorghiu is entering the ranks of “veteran” divas, let’s see how what’s her vocal estate at age 42. (Video is from La Scala in 2007.)

on February 01, 2008 at 10:24 AM

Or, to put it another way, could this soprano be what the Met needs for Roberto Devereux? While you ponder the future, you can enjoy the past: the final act of Verdi’s Macbeth is now on Unnatural Acts of Opera.

on January 31, 2008 at 8:25 PM

Please bear with La Cieca, cher public as she is experimenting with WordPress. Don’t worry, the old parterre.com won’t disappear! To read previous postings, please click here.

on January 31, 2008 at 8:13 PM

Here are the results of La Cieca’s informal and utterly unscientific poll of her readers, asking “Who should replace Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in the Met’s production of Orfeo?” As you can see, a large plurality favored Ewa Podles, with David Daniels and Susan Graham also receiving numerous votes.

on July 16, 2006 at 6:32 PM
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