18 October 2007

Alagna, Anna again to bed

Ken Howard/Metropolitan OperaOf course, cher public, you heard it about it here a few weeks ago, but La Cieca has just read a press release from the Met announcing that, yes indeed, Roberto Alagna will reprise his Roméo opposite Anna Netrebko on December 12 and 15. (Our Own Gualtier Maldè, as you no doubt recall, confirmed the rumor when he spoke to Alagna after Aida on Tuesday night.) The December 15 matinee of Roméo et Juliette is the first of this season's "Live in High Definition" transmissions to movie theaters around the world.

Joseph Kaiser is Roméo on December 8 and 20, and finishing up the batting order will be Matthew Polenzani on December 27 and 31.

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15 October 2007


La Cieca has just heard that Roberto Alagna will sing his first Met Radames tomorrow night, replacing the ailing Marco Berti. Which means, if you haven't guessed it yet, that Marcello Giordani is jumping into tonight's Butterfly. By the end of the season, Giordani will have five different roles in his Met repertoire for 2007-08: Edgardo, Roméo, Pinkerton, Ernani and des Grieux (Manon Lescaut.)

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13 October 2007

The season begins. Finally.

"The Metropolitan Opera's opening week offered two super-starry nights that more than offset a misfired new production across the plaza at the New York City Opera." After some rather frustrating technical delays, our JJ's reviews of the Met's Roméo and Lucia, plus the NYCO's Cav/Pag, are at last online at Gay City News. (Perhaps at this point they can be read for historical significance, if nothing else.)

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03 October 2007

Too darn Schrott?

Reactions to last night's Figaro prima? Anyone?

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25 September 2007

The winner and new diva

La Cieca wasn't "in the house" for the Lucia prima last night like so many of her colleagues; instead she hosted perhaps the most popular of all her online chats thus far. Approximately 120 of you cher public logged in at some point during the night, with 75 or so on average staying for the long haul. Say what you will about Natalie Dessay or even Stephen Costello, there was really only one genuine "star is born" moment last night, and here, as dear Mathilde Marchesi would say, is "la nouvelle Melba" --

Our nomination for Camp Diva of the 2007-2008 Season: Miss Blythe Danner!

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24 September 2007

Another Opening, Another Chat!

Thanks for joining La Cieca for the first online chat of the 2007-2008 season. If you enjoyed the chat, please visit the Amazon Honor System to help support parterre.com.

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23 September 2007

Something to chat about

La Cieca's chat returns Monday night to welcome in the new Met season. Topic of discussion: the evening's prima of the new production of Lucia di Lammermoor, as broadcast on SIRIUS Internet Radio. Please check back on this site after 5:00 pm Monday for a link to the room, which will open at 6:15 pm for the 6:30 start of the opening night performance.

Note that any of you who do not have a current subscription to Sirius can get a trial 3-day pass in time for the Opening Night chat. The event is also broadcast on RealNetworks.

Are any of you cher public attending this Lucia at one of the outdoor simulcasts? If you are, why not bring a laptop along and chat along with the rest of us? It's easy, now that the Lincoln Center plaza has WiFi!

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20 September 2007

"She runs upstage screaming and then sits on the stairs laughing maniacally" is the new "weeping bitterly, she consents to the horrible bargain"

That's a bit of the description of Natalie Dessay's Lucia mad scene, as dress-rehearsed at the Met earlier today and reported by La Cieca's spy. The complete report (including SPOILERS!) follows:
I'm sure some people will be up in arms over the production. It is set in the mid-19th century. The costumes are decent. Mariusz Kwiecien sounded good although he seemed to oversing at times, but I attribute that too the before noon rehearsal time. At any rate, he sounded amazing. In "Regnava nel silenzio," Zimmerman has an actress appear as the ghost that Lucia sings about. I'm sure some people will get their panties in a knot over it, but I think it was done pretty well.

In the mad scene, the set has a grand spiral stairway which leads to an open hallway which runs the entire length of the stage. Stage left is the bridal room. The top of the stairs is downstage right. Lucia enters wiping the blood of the dagger on her veil and then crosses to the top of the stairs. Just before she sings her first line, she runs down the stairs almost to the bottom of the stairway.

On the lines, "Un gelo me serpeggia nel sen! trema ogni fibra! vacilla il piè!" She slowly slumps to the stairs. She lies down on the step and then, fainting, rolls down the two steps to the stage floor. She eventually crosses downstage to the prompter's box where she sings much of the scene on her back. She sings, "Sparsa è di rose!" after holding up her bloody veil.

Later, she runs upstage screaming and then sits on the stairs laughing maniacally. Between verses of "Spargi d'amaro pianto", a doctor administers a shot (morphine?) which prompts the ornamentation of the second verse. Dessay is completely committed to the stage directions, so it works. I think she sounded good. I wish I had remembered my opera glasses. I was in the family circle.

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12 September 2007

Flash Mab

The Met's star-crossed revival of Roméo et Juliette has just hit another bump. Nathan Gunn, announced for Mercutio, has dropped out of the September and October performances of the opera due to illness. Jumping in will be baryhunque Stéphane Degout, who performed Mercutio in this production back in 2005. Gunn is still on the cast list for the December portion of the run.

UPDATE: It just gets worse. Rolando Villazón is now off the Met roster for the season. His Roméo performances (December 8, 12, 15 and 20) have been updated to TBA; the tenor's Carnegie Hall recital is also canceled.

Gossip elsewhere on the web suggests that Villazón may be off the stage for as long as a year.

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22 August 2007

Kaiser's role

La Cieca has just learned that tenor Joseph Kaiser will make a "surprise" Met debut October 3, singing the role of Roméo in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. He will also sing performances on October 6 and 11, replacing the ailing Rolando Villazón.

Kaiser stars as Tamino in Kenneth Branagh's film of The Magic Flute and will reprise this Mozart role later in the Met season. He appeared as Narraboth in Lyric Opera of Chicago's Salome last season, a performance about which the always reliable David Shengold wrote, "The most consistently satisfying vocalism came from Joseph Kaiser, a young tenor on the brink of stardom . . . he sang the challenging high phrases with clarity and shine."

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26 July 2007

Das Traumboot

Bayreuth scion-apparent Katharina Wagner's production of Die Meistersinger opened yesterday at the Festspielhaus.

As you can see, this production is rather curiously cast with David Beckham as Walther and Aprile Millo as Eva.

Oh, well, all right, La Cieca must have her little joke, you know. The tenor is in fact Klaus Florian Vogt, whom many of you heard sing Lohengrin at the Met back in 2006, and, if this photo is anything like accurate, is indeed the "Traumboot" above referenced.

Now, be honest, cher public. If you saw this fellow approaching on a boat, would you even notice that it was drawn by a swan? No, La Cieca didn't think so.

Oh, and of course, that's not La Millo up there with the paint-spattered decolletage. More's the pity, La Cieca must say, because surely if it were Millo singing the soprano part in the quintet, it would be more nearly in tune than this snippet from the Generalprobe.

For those of you interested in Ms. Wagner's Konzept, here's a feature from German TV.

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19 July 2007

Melons! Coupons!

La Cieca just received a press release from the Met detailing some of the cast changes and reshufflings already afoot for next season. She is pretty sure than none of this has anything to do with last night's steam pipe explosion in Midtown.

Angela M. Brown will sing the title role in Aida replacing Maria Guleghina on September 29, October 4 and 16. La Brown will sing the role of Aida on November 2, 5 and 8 as previously scheduled; Micaela Carosi will replace her on October 30.

Maija Kovalevska replaces Krassimira Stoyanova as Micaëla on February 4, 8, 13 and 16. Stoyanova will go on as scheduled at all other performances of Carmen. Lucio Gallo will sing the role of Escamillo (role debut) in all performances of the opera this season.

Ekaterina Siurina replaces Isabel Bayrakdarian as Susanna in Nozze on November 10, 14, 17, 21, 24, 28 and December 1. La Bayrakdarian retains her October 2, 6, 10, 13 and 18 performances.

Matthew Polenzani will sing Roméo opposite Anna Netrebko replacing Rolando Villazón on December 27 and 31. Villazón is still scheduled at all other performances of the opera.

Anthony Dean Griffey now sings the entire run of Peter Grimes; to no one's surprise, Neil Shicoff is a no-show.

Now, here's where it get complicated. Do listen carefully, because La Cieca is only going to say this once. Maria Guleghina gets the prima and the fall run of Macbeth (replacing Andrea Gruber) on October 22, 26, 31 and November 3. Gruber is still scheduled for the May 9, 13, and 17 performances. Meanwhile, Guleghina is out of the November 12, 16, 19 and 23 performances of Norma, with Hasmik Papian leaping into the breach. Guleghina tries her hand at the Bellini on November 26, 30, December 4, and 7. Oh, and on January 5, 9, 12 and 15, our old, old, old friend TBA returns triumphantly to the Met... as Lady Macbeth.

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