30 January 2008

Cessa di più eseguire?

La Cieca hears that, beginning tonight, Jose Manuel Zapata will omit Almaviva's final aria from the remaining performances of Il barbiere di Siviglia this season at the Met.


27 January 2008

There's no wrinkle on his brow, no how!

La Cieca has to say she has never taken much interest in the music of John Corigliano; in fact, she believes she used the phrase "Technicolor twaddle" to describe The Ghosts of Versailles. But your doyenne must give credit where credit is due. Boyfriend is looking fucking amazing for a 70-year-old!

Take a look at these two images that accompanied Steve Smith's NY Times preview of the Brooklyn Philharmonic's upcoming Corigliano festival:

At left is Corigliano 8 years ago when he won the Academy Award for The Red Violin; at right is a recent photo of the composer. Is it just me, or does he look more refreshed -- or shall we just say younger -- at 70 than he did at 62?

At this rate, Corigliano will look a dewy 35 by the time the Met revives Ghosts in 2010! Though, come to think of it, collaborating with Angela Gheorghiu has been known to add a crease or two to even the most youthful punim. What a pity if America's hottest septuagenarian composer should end up looking his age!


15 January 2008

Anna as Anna?

La Cieca is loath to scoop dear Bradley Wilber, but rumors are swirling once again about future seasons at the Met. Perhaps the most controversial (among the cher public, at least) of these plans is a new production of Anna Bolena to open the 2011 season, with Anna Netrebko's pretty head on the chopping block. Further casting at this point is not set, though La Cieca is confident that speculation will run rife in the comments section.

Now, La Cieca is just going to suggest that we all don't go off the deep end instantly and unanimously here, despite what at least some of may regard as perfect justification for doing so.

It does seem apparent that if Netrebko is determined to do bel canto (not saying "should be doing" mind you), then Bolena does make more sense than, say, Puritani or Lucia. Anna (Mrs. Tudor, I mean) relies less on vocal brilliance qua brilliance than those two roles, and the "fiery" character of the rejected queen is the sort of dramatic type that appeals to Ms. Netrebko's lively theatrical instincts. We should also keep in mind that she now has more than three years of lead time and the availability of Scotto as a coach; as such she does have the opportunity to delve beyond a superficial reading of the music. (Again, no guarantees...)

It will also help, I think that the only "obligatory" sopracuto is the D at the end of the first act, a high interpolation so relatively that even Carol Vaness used to sing it.

But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Need La Cieca remind any of you that the duration from 2008 to 2001 is the equivalent of a century in Gelb Years. By that time we may end up with Christine Ebersole opening the season in Pikovaya Dama.

Your doyenne further has heard that the title role in Simon Boccanegra (2010-2011?) has been reassigned to Placido Domingo, with Thomas Hampson shifted into a revival of Macbeth -- opposite whom, La Cieca cannot venture to guess, though it's a safe bet the cover will be Cynthia Lawrence. Domingo, La Cieca hears, is already preparing an "out of town tryout" for Verdi's noble corsair with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

But speaking of Macbeth, La Cieca regrettably has a previous engagement and so will not be able to take in this evening's Lawrence/Ataneli version of the Scottish Opera. Any volunteers to serve as Guest Critic?

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13 January 2008

Le nozze

La Cieca hears that we can expect a June wedding with only a brief honeymoon before that busy love couple gets back to the salt mines!


11 January 2008

Doge star

La Cieca's spy in San Francisco whispers that the 2008-2009 season will open with Simon Boccanegra with Dmitri Hvorostovsky in the title role. Later productions will include a revival of Bohème with Angela Gheorghiu and the company premiere of Die Tote Stadt featuring Emily Magee and Torsten Kerl. Also expected is the world premiere of Stewart Wallace’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter, based on the novel by Amy Tan.

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Željko can and Željko do

Željko Lučic will sing Macbeth for the Met's broadcast and HD simulcast of the Verdi opera tomorrow afternoon, replacing Lado Ataneli, who is "indisposed."

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10 January 2008

Fatal mia donna!

La Cieca has just heard that Cynthia Lawrence will sing Lady Macbeth on Tuesday, January 15 at the Met... and possibly more performances later in the season!

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09 January 2008

Gran nuova! Gran nuova!

Juan Diego Flórez will make his role debut as the Duke of Mantua in a new production of Rigoletto on March 31.

The event will mark the inauguration of "The International Opera Festival Alejandro Granda" in Peru. Puppylicious Flórez is pictured here with Latin Grammy winner Gian Marco, with whom he shared the stage for a benefit concert for UNICEF last year. (Admittedly, that concert has nothing to do with the current news, but La Cieca wanted an excuse to run this photo.)

In breaking news also relating to puppyliciousness, the renaissance of Rolando Villazón's career will extend into a new medium when the tenor begins principal photography for the role of Rodolfo in a film version of La bohème opposite the Mimi of (who else?) Anna Netrebko. According to La Cieca's source, the pair pre-recorded their music for the movie last year and will begin their on-set lip-synching duties within the month.

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20 December 2007

The blonde leading the blind

Imagine La Cieca's delight when she heard that Julia Roberts has been cast in the starring role of Voce di Donna, a biopic based upon the whirlwind adventures of your very own doyenne.

Oscar-winner Roberts (left) beat out A-listers Nicole Kidman, Susan Sarandon and Dame Judi Dench to portray "Older Cieca." The character in more "youthful" days will be played by Zac Efron. Additional casting for the film includes George Clooney as "Gualtier Malde," Robert Downey Jr. as "Little Stevie" and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as "Maury D'annato."

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15 December 2007


La Cieca has obtained exclusive video footage of a presentation by Susan L. Baker, chairwoman of the New York City Opera, announcing plans for the company's 2008-2009 "season."

NYCO's announcement, dumped into the scarcely-read Saturday Times, would seem to indicate that our speculation of the past couple of weeks was, in fact, accurate.

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Rolando ritornato?

There hasn't been much chatter about it, but it seems that Rolando Villazón is emerging from his four-month period of silence. His recently updated website states that the tenor is scheduled for staged performances in Vienna (Manon and Werther) beginning January 5, followed by a series of concerts and a couple of Verdi Requiems in the spring. Engagements for the summer of 2008 include a new Don Carlos at the Royal Opera and Roméo et Juliette at the Salzburg Festival. La Cieca looks forward to hearing Villazón here in New York in the fall, when he and Anna Netrebko are to star in a revival of Lucia at the Met.

In fact, according to Mike Richter, Villazón has already made at least one public singing appearance in recent days. Mike has posted on his website a video identified as "Rolando Villazon sings unfamiliar Ponchielli - 9 December 2007." La Cieca doesn't know the aria, but she does hear a healthy voice with an easy high A-natural at the end of the piece.

Thoughts? Corrections? Or shall we all just remain guardedly optimistic for the moment?

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12 December 2007

The bells are ringing?

Purely a rumor at this point, but La Cieca hears that Erwin Schrott and Anna Netrebko are engaged. (To be married. To each other.)

UPDATE: A reliable source informs La Cieca: "As far as I know they are very close friends but I have not heard anything about marriage." So let's wait and see.

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02 December 2007

We report, you decide

UPDATE: Soprano Renée Fleming has issued the following statement:

"Today, December 3, 2007, is the 84th anniversary of the birth of Maria Callas, the greatest interpreter of the role of Norma in the 20th century. In honor of this great artist, I have decided to reaffirm my decision not to sing Norma indefinitely. As a gesture of respect for this magnificent bel canto stylist, later today I will not visit her grave where I will not leave a wreath in remembrance. Further, at my concert tonight in Baltimore, I will not dedicate any of my encores to her memory. As a soprano and single mother, I feel it is the least I can do."

Fleming's publicist, Mary Lou Falcone, refused to comment on this statement.

La Cieca now continues our coverage of this week's most earth-shaking story, the decision of Renée Fleming not to sing Bellini's bel canto masterpiece Norma. Our latest report is from Fox Eyewitness News Channel 12, WPRI in Providence, Rhode Island:

Renee Fleming ... will join the Boston Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin."

Fleming, however, has decided to ditch plans to perform Bellini's opera "Norma" with the orchestra next summer. Her publicist says the role "just didn't fit."
La Cieca has now received word that "The Story" has just achieved international coverage. In Canada, the Pierceland Herald ("The Voice of the Heartland") reports that "the opera ['Norma'] wasn‘t included in the Tanglewood schedule being released Friday. Instead, Fleming was listed for the Aug. 2 concert performance of Tchaikovsky‘s Eugene Onegin'." The Saskatchewan-based web site goes on to confirm the "just didn't fit" quotation.

Be sure to check back here at parterre.com frequently for new information on the
Mistletoe Crisis" as it unfolds.

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30 November 2007

Sgombra è la sacra selva

I hate to tell you, dear, but your skin makes chiffon velvet look like the Rocky MountainsAs La Cieca's clever public guessed six weeks ago, Renée Fleming is not going to sing Norma.

"The part just didn't fit as she had hoped it would after living with it," Fleming publicist Mary Lou Falcone said Thursday to the Associated Press. La Fleming, 48 (though she doesn't look a day over 20, does she?), will perform Eugene Onegin under the baton of James Levine next summer at Tanglewood instead of the Bellini work.

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14 November 2007

"Did you get her innuendo?"

"Ms. Fleming's soprano has gotten bigger and richer since her Dallas debut 15 years ago. 'I was replacing Carol Vaness in a lot of Mozart repertoire she couldn't sing anymore,' Ms. Fleming says of her early years."

You can read more of The Tactful Voice's audition for the remake of The Women in an interview with Scott Cantrell in The Dallas Morning News.

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12 November 2007

And hit "send"

Washington Post classical music critic Tim Page ripped DC Councilman and former Mayor Marion Barry in a widely-distributed company email recently, calling Barry a "crack head" and "useless."

The trouble began with an email from Barry's Communication staff that went out as a "blast" to several dozen reporters and media organizations. Page received a copy of the Barry email even though he doesn't cover the former Mayor or the DC government and apparently wasn't too pleased to hear from Barry. According to veteran newscast Bruce Johnson, Page fired off an email response to Barry's Communications Chief:
Must we hear about it every time this Crack Addict attempts to rehabilitate himself with some new--and typically half witted--political grandstanding?

I'd be grateful if you would take me off your mailing list. I Cannot think of anything the useless Marion Barry could do that would interest me in the slightest, up to and including overdose.

Sincerely, Tim Page
Johnson also says Page has confirmed that his supervisors at the Post have already taken disciplinary action against him. According to a source, Page has been placed on leave.

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09 November 2007

Desert song

Charles MacKay will become The Santa Fe Opera's General Director beginning October 1, 2008. MacKay, currently General Director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, succeeds Richard Gaddes, who is retiring. MacKay comes to Santa Fe after 23 years in St. Louis, where he followed Gaddes as that company's general director. More details on the appointment may be found at Playbill Arts.


08 November 2007

Time to say hello?

La Cieca hears that Andrea Bocelli dropped by the Met yesterday to audition for Peter Gelb. The accompanist, on dit, was none other than James Levine!

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31 October 2007

Enter Madame

One of La Cieca's intricate network of spies has been keeping his ear to the ground in San Francisco where a supernumerary friend whispered to him that "there was concern amongst the SFO backstage ranks that since La Gheorghiu had yet to show up for any La rondine rehearsals, that she may go the route of of her recent Lyric Opera contretemps and be dismissed as a no-show."

Signor Spy assured his super friend that Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna "were merely enjoying a personal idyll in NYC ... that once Mr. Alagna finished up with Pinkerton last Saturday, she (or both) would probably be winging to the West Coast to keep the SFO commitment." He then passed along to La Cieca a report on the soprano's "first rehearsal appearance."

UPDATE: Well, now it seems our original spy has reconsidered the hearsay he shared earlier and asked that the "Super" quotes be removed. Fair enough, La Cieca thinks, since she's not entirely clear on whether Super gave Spy carte blanche to share the "insights" in the first place.

La Cieca does not plan on making a habit of putting the toothpaste back in the tube, but this appears to be a special case. Okay with you, cher public?

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Remember, La Cieca is just the messenger

Writes a spy:
Today at the final dress, it was pretty obvious why Reneeeeee would cancel her Normas – the "Sempre libera" was SCARY bad – completely off the voice for the mewing and really sloppy coloratura, and then she had to go back on-voice to try and get to the Bb/B/C/Db area. The repeated C’s were especially hair-raising, and she didn’t actually get up to the pitch on any of them in the whole aria. A friend [also] watching the dress said it was uncomfortable and worrisome to have to listen to her try and get through it. While she can still produce creamy sounds in her basic rep, her ability to sing fioritura (which, while totally wrong for bel canto, was impressive at one time) is basically gone.

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27 October 2007

Sob sister scoop!

Adept arbiter Anne Midgette has announced her farewell to The New York Times, moving on up to the Washington Post where she will reign as interim chief critic beginning January 1. The WaPo's current chief critic, Tim Page, is off to teach a semester at USC and, who knows, may extend his stay in academe to something more lasting. We here at parterre.com will miss la Midgette's pungent and always well-supported critiques of New York performances, and we look forward to her take on the WNO.

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19 October 2007

You tell me

Which Met diva has just vetoed her renascence as a bel canto grande dame? So daunting a role must have given her cold feet, or at least mistle toe.

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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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09 October 2007


La Cieca is pleased to note that her little soupçon about the maestro's errant email has now made it as far as the New York Daily News. True, it's way down at the bottom of the Gatecrasher page ("Don't Shoot the Messenger"), but, after all, classical music isn't exactly "Pedro and Stifler want to par-tay with YOU!" material, is it?


08 October 2007

Pat of butter

La Cieca only knows what she has heard so far on Sirius (i.e., through "Che tua madre"), but, my dears, Patricia Racette is such an improvement over last season's Butterfly! Your doyenne will definitely make another visit to Minghella-land this season.

So, who caught the prima in the house? What's your take? And, those of you listening at home; is La Cieca right or not?

UPDATE: Applause after "ei torna e m'ama!" Well, yes, that is an improvement over last year!

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Don't come knocking!

Admittedly, this item is ancient history, but here goes. Which curious, sexed-up Met hunks invaded a star dressing room and immediately got their original instruments a whole lot closer than an octave apart?

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06 October 2007

Serial monogamy

La Cieca has just heard that Marcello Giordani goes on tonight (i.e., two hours from now) as Roméo at the Met, jumping in for Joseph Kaiser who presumably is ill. That brings the total number of lovers for Anna Netrebko's Juliette to three after only four nights of the 10-performance run. By the end of December, Anna may be giving Elizabeth Taylor a run for her money!

UPDATE: The Met's website (already!) reports on Giordani's "rescue act" and, incidentally, provides a few minutes of the opening night Lucia on video.

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05 October 2007

I cc what you did there

Which world-class maestro is about ready to throw himself off of the roof since he accidentally cced a private email exchange to his entire list of contacts -- including Mrs. Maestro?

The exchange was eventually forwarded to La Cieca, who redacted some of the details for the sake of privacy, and now presents it for your perusal:
-----Original Message-----
From: [Maestro]
Sent: Tuesday, October 2, 2007 05:12 PM
To: [The Maestro's entire contact list!]
Subject: Fwd: OCT4

-----Original Message-----
From: [Maestro]
Sent: Tuesday, October 2, 2007 12:15 PM
To: [Maestro's friend]
Subject: Re: OCT4
Don't take a bag for this short trip ,it will be easier at airport and NO LIQUID in your purse .
When you enter in the ST Regis hotel ,turn left .The FIRST COUNTER on thr left (about 5 meters from thr main door) is the CONCIERGE.I'll leave an enveloppe with an electronic key under YOUR NAME.
THE ROOM NUMBER IS [redacted].
Wait for me in the room .You'l find a bath robe .I WANT TO FIND YOU NAKED when I arrive.

-----Original Message-----
From: [Maestro's friend]
Sent: Tuesday, October 2, 2007 06:11 AM
To: [Maestro]
Subject: OCT4
Did you already arrive at Beijing?
Is it cold in Beijing?
I'm packing now.
I'll visit you on Thursday.
My cell is usable in China. [redacted]
Looking forward to seeing you.
See you soon!
Kisses. M

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Retail therapy

In her ongoing efforts to monetize parterre.com, La Cieca has now partnered in a new and unusual way... with amazon.com, that is. The idea is that your doyenne selects products she thinks you, the cher public, will like; these items are then advertised on the site. Whatever purchases you make after click-through will result in a commission for La Cieca. Here's a sample of La Cieca's "must have" recommendations:


28 September 2007

E Susanna vien

La Cieca predicted a cast change earlier, and what do you know, so it came to pass! Soprano Lisette Oropesa will sing the Tuesday prima of the Met's revival of Le nozze di Figaro and at least one more performance. She is jumping in for the enceinte Isabel Bayrakdarian. Ms. Oropesa is not only a member of the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program but (even more impressively) she is La Cieca's homegirl since she is a graduate of LSU in dear old Baton Rouge! It should be noted, however, that she and La Cieca matriculated in different centuries.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Angela Gheorghiu has been fired from Lyric Opera's production of La bohème which is scheduled to open Monday, October 1. Thundered General Director William Mason, "Miss Gheorghiu has missed 6 of 10 rehearsals, including the piano dress rehearsal and both staging rehearsals with the orchestra. She missed one of the most critical stage-orchestra rehearsals when she left the city for New York without permission, a direct violation of her contract." La Gheorghiu was in fact spotted in the audience for the Met's prima of Gounod's Roméo et Juliette on Tuesday night.

The news is somewhat less dire for other members of the Gheorghiu famille. Those of you cher public who missed out on Roberto "Million Dollar Legs" Alagna's stylish Roméo this week may get another chance at seeing his collaboration with Anna Netrebko in the Gounod love story. La Cieca hears that Alagna will return in December to fill the "TBA" slots on the 8th, 12th and 15th, including the broadcast and HD telecast. Matthew Polenzani, La Cieca hears, will take over the role on December 20.

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26 September 2007

Repertory riddle

So La Cieca asks: if you're a guy known as one of opera's hottest hunks, who better to choose for a romance than an alluring superstar soprano? It's sure hot when this pair are booked at the same opera house!


24 September 2007

"C'est elle ou moi!"

A Met insider whispers to La Cieca, "Don't be surprised if there are changes to the current layout of the 2008-2009 season, especially when one soprano, after what she considers a catastrophic rehearsal process, vowed not work with the director again."


21 September 2007

Why did I ever buy him those damn long pants?

La Cieca is suffering a mild case of Empty Nest Syndrome this afternoon, since she just found out that parterre.com fave Stephen Costello is all grown up. It turns out that Stephen is the "TBA" who will sing Edgardo (his very first!) in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Met on October 25. In this spectacular followup to his scheduled house debut as Arturo next week, Stephen is joined by Annick Massis, Mariusz Kwiecien and John Relyea in a performance conducted by James Levine and broadcast live on Sirius.

In other TBAlicious news, an artistic administrator or two is breathing a little easier this afternoon as the Met has finally announced completed casting for their new production of Verdi's Macbeth -- only a month before the October 22 opening! Maria Guleghina will sing Lady Macbeth in the "Live in HD" January 12 matinee performance relayed to movie theaters around the world. She will also sing the role on January 9 (which had not been previously announced) and on October 22, 26, 31, and November 3 as scheduled. Andrea Gruber will sing the role of Lady Macbeth on January 5 and 15 (which also had not been announced) as well as on the previously scheduled dates of May 9, 13, and 17. The new production of Macbeth is directed by Adrian Noble.

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Oh! che volo d'augelli

La Cieca's little bird sang true: yesterday it was announced that James Robinson will be the new Artistic Director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Moving on to another story that you heard first from your doyenne, ze bad-boy of ze opéra Gérard Mortier spilled his plans for his first NYCO season yesterday. In 2009-2010 he will offer Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach and John Adams's Nixon in China. Ian Bostridge will slouch into town to headline a production of Benjamin Britten's Death in Venice.

Also in 2009-2010, the Park Avenue Armory and Drill Hall will serve as venue for Messiaen's St. Francis of Assisi. Future commissions include a new Glass opera, plus a work from Bernice Johnson Reagon of Sweet Honey in the Rock. A full account of Mortier's press conference may be found at The New York Sun.

Meanwhile, the intendant's latest effort in Paris, a new production of Ariane et Barbe-Bleue, was not, as they say, taken in with pleasure. The headline for the Musical America review reads "Another Mortier Disaster at the Bastille."

UPDATE: La Cieca just changed the headline for this article (from "Charmant oiseau") to reflect the fact that yet another birdie has opened her little beak, spilling more details of the first year of Mortierie. Further twentieth-century works on the schedule include Vec Makropoulos, Pelléas et Mélisande, and Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, the last of which will be performed by alternating casts at City Center. (Hmm, did someone say Patti LuPone?)

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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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17 September 2007

Pregnant with meaning

Expect yet another major cast change at the Met in the next couple of weeks. La Cieca won't spill the details at the moment, but let's just say that the problem is a soprano who got knocked up before the marriage!

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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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11 September 2007

"TBA" about to be announced?

A source close to the Met whispers to La Cieca that Maria Guleghina will step into the TBA performances of Macbeth in January 2008 including the HD transmission on the 12th. Your doyenne also hears that la Guleghina has been approached to take over the May performances of the Verdi thriller, currently announced for Andrea Gruber. "The word is that Gelb felt Guleghina was exceptional in the broadcast of Trittico and wants her to build on her prominence at the opera house," our source concludes.

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07 September 2007

Not a comeback, a return!

Fans of red-haired three-named sopranos d'un certain âge will rejoice to hear that at least a couple of the mainstays of the Volpe Era have been asked back to the Met under the Gelb Aegis. (And after all that naughty gossip about firings and buyings-out! Who ever heard of such a thing?) Anyway, not to delay the gratification any longer, La Cieca can reveal that the Titian-tressed trinominates in question are Hei-Kyung Hong and Ruth Ann Swenson.

La Hong was announced only a couple of days ago as a substitute for the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro on October 2, 6, 10, 13 and 18, replacing Dorothea Röschmann "who has cancelled all engagements for three months for health reasons," per the Met's press office. Less officially, Ms. Swenson is rumored for the 2008-09 season as Musetta in La bohème as a followup to next spring's Violettas, which were at one point assumed to be her farewell to the company.

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04 September 2007

What's the use of wondering?

Which stage director fled a rehearsal in tears last week after the prima donna's metamorphosis into a screaming harpy?


20 August 2007

Tennis balls

A Faithful Reader writes:

"Went to the closing performance of Deuce today and during one quiet moment I thought I heard a familiar snore. Sure enough, as I was leaving, there was Lois, wakened by the ovation . . . .

"I'm sure she was headed back to get autographs as she was looking in her purse for what I assume was her pen."


17 August 2007

Rocky Mountain low

UPDATE: A source at Opera Colorado informs La Cieca that there is in fact no exodus currently in progress from the company's costume shop. La Cieca apologizes for the confusion.

Earlier, La Cieca reported that her "mile-high informant" whispered that "Colorado Opera's entire costume department just quit in a huff. Or was fired in a huff." Apparently La Cieca was either misinformed or else misunderstood the tip she was given.

In any case, we continue with the latest installment of News of the Hard to Believe. America's Singing Slab Nathan Gunn is quoted in the Chicago Tribune as saying, apparently with a straight face, "To be honest, I don't think that much about how I look."

No, John von Rhein wasn't buying it either.

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16 August 2007

He will be their tootsie-wootsie

A little bird high in the rarefied air of the Rockies informs La Cieca that James Robinson "will be named come September as the new Artistic Director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, a post held until this Spring by the late and laudable Colin Graham."

Robinson is perhaps best remembered here in New York as the guy who knocked up Lucia di Lammermoor.

UPDATE: In a press release embargoed until 5 p.m. Thursday, Opera Colorado announced Robinson's resignation as Artistic Director to assume "a new position at another American opera company but [he] declined to discuss the specifics as a courtesy to that company until their official announcement next month."

Opera Colorado's President and General Director, Peter Russell is also resigning. Stepping up to the plate will be Greg Carpenter, currently Director of Development, as the company’s Executive Director.


14 August 2007

Bobby, come on over for dinner

Roberto Alagna will jump -- no, not into the swimming pool, but rather into the first two performances (September 25 and 29) of the Met's fall revival of Roméo et Juliette, replacing Rolando Villazón who has withdrawn due to illness. The Met's press office officially announced Villazón's cancellation today, though regular parterre.com readers knew all about it last week. The role of Roméo remains TBA for the performances on October 3, 6 and 11; Villazón remains on the roster for the winter stint of performances including the HD simulcast.

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10 August 2007

Villazón out for two months, at least

As La Cieca whispered earlier this week, Rolando Villazón is going to cancel at least the fall portion of his Met Roméo engagement. This morning PlaybillArts.com says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting a statement from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra that the tenor is "ill and has been instructed by his doctor to cancel all performances for the next two to three months in order to make a complete recovery."

In happier news, Anna Netrebko's lissome larynx seems to be healing nicely, thank you. The diva (reports PlaybillArts) plans to go ahead with a four-city German tour this month, albeit minus partner Villazón. Subbing opposite the soprano in various venues will be Marcelo Álvarez, José Cura and Ramón Vargas.

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08 August 2007


La Cieca hears that Rolando Villazón, who recently canceled his Salzburg Festival appearances citing "long-term illness" ("einer längerfristigen Erkrankung"), may pull out of the Met's fall revival of Roméo et Juliette as well. The tenor is scheduled for five performances of the Gounod opera between September 25 and October 11, followed by another four in December. Matthew Polenzani has already been announced for the final two performances of the run including the New Year's Eve gala. The matinee performance of Saturday, December 15 is scheduled for HD simulcast with Villazón and Anna Netrebko.

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02 July 2007

Does anyone still wear only one hat?

Iconic Ira Siff temporarily puts aside performing and his busy teaching schedule this summer to direct Cosi fan tutte with the Tanglewood Music Center young artists, in collaboration with Maestro James Levine. The Mozart comedy runs August 11-14. La Cieca further hears whispers that due to the overwhelmingly positive response to Ira's guest appearances on last year's Met/Sirius broadcasts, he will be promoted to co-host status opposite Margaret Juntwait on that series beginning this fall.

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26 June 2007

N'est-ce plus Manon?

La Cieca hears that Natalie Dessay has walked out of the current Liceu production of Manon, leaving Inva Mula to sing the company's new production of the Massenet opera. (Given the tight stagione scheduling, though, surely they will need another soprano to alternate.) Our insider whispers that la Dessay found Rolando Villazon (Des Grieux) something less than sympathique, in the sense of "it's either him or me."

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19 June 2007


La Cieca hears that Justin Davidson, classical music critic at Newsday for the past decade, is moving over to New York magazine, where he will take over reviewing duties from the departing Peter G. Davis. Davidson's gig will also include writing about architecture.

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30 May 2007

UPDATED! Start the coronation without me

La Cieca hears that Ruth Ann Swenson has withdrawn from her autumn performances of Agrippina at the New York City Opera.

This just in... "replacing" Swenson will be none other than the legendary Nelly Miricioiu! The Romanian diva assoluta is seen here in a 2003 performance of Anna Bolena.

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10 May 2007

Crones on notice

A Met insider whispers that new chorus director Donald Palumbo, recently praised to the skies for his "tireless" efforts on Orfeo, may not want to stay tired for long. According to our source, “warning of vocal deterioration” letters have already been drafted to be sent to several members of the Met regular chorus, especially in the notoriously wobbly soprano section. Apparently, this warning letter is the first step in a lengthy contractural process of weeding out unacceptable voices. (Ironically, by the time arrives for Palumbo to rehearse the witches' choruses in Macbeth next season, he may already have fired at least some of the Met's worst crones.)

Continues our spy, "Not a surprising move, but one taken earlier than I would have thought in his tenure, since [Palumbo's] tenure really hasn’t started yet. But thank Goddess for it – the soprano section has been a mess for quite a while."

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08 May 2007

Wie alles war, weiss ich; wie alles wird, wie alles sein wird

The Met's press office just sent this out:

New York, NY (May 8, 2007) - Bizet's Carmen with Russian mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina in the title role will be revived during the Met's 2007-08 season, replacing the previously announced performances of Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann. The change in repertory is due to the decision by Argentine tenor Marcelo Álvarez to retire the title role of Hoffmann from his repertory. Mr. Álvarez will instead make his Met role debut singing Don José in Carmen opposite Ms. Borodina. Nancy Fabiola Herrera will sing the title role in one performance. Krassimira Stoyanova sings the role of Micaëla at the Met for the first time. Emmanuel Villaume conducts all eight performances from February 4 to March 1, 2008.
Told you so.

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03 May 2007

"Tales" untold

La Cieca hears that the Met will scrap next season's revival of Les Contes d'Hoffman (scheduled for February-March 2008) in favor of Carmen. A well-informed source suggests that the switch will be done at the behest of tenor Marcelo Álvarez, who would have sung the title role in the Offenbach but will now perform his first local Don Jose. Opposite Álvarez will be the familiar but always welcome Carmencita of Olga Borodina.

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25 April 2007

She never does anything twice

La Cieca is totally in awe of the insightful (and totally enjoyable) reporting her baby sister OperaChic is doing on the most recent Angela Gheorghiu scandale. In what La Cieca chooses to regard as an early 50th anniversary hommage to one of the most infamous moments in the career of Maria Callas, la Gheorghiu has, yes, walked out of a production at the Rome Opera. It seems that at the prima, Renato Bruson took a bis of "Di provenza," which (so OperaChic whispers) the soprano interpreted as an act of war. Gheorghiu obtained a doctor's certificate and canceled her second (and final scheduled) performance.

Permit La Cieca to say: maybe this is why they stopped allowing encores in the first place.

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23 April 2007

But enough about me

Our editor JJ chats with the lovely and talented Mona de Crinis in an interview for the Palm Springs Bottom Line, a publication whose title contains so many double entendres La Cieca lost count. Thrill yet once again to the saga of parterre box, the little zine that could, and JJ, the editor who would. And did. (Frequently.)

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21 April 2007

Third base

La Cieca hears that the Met's new production of Il trittico will return in 2010, starring Patricia Racette as the three heroines.

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17 April 2007

Great minds

La Cieca has heard from two independent sources who attended today's dress rehearsal of Il trittico at the Met, and the word they both use to describe the show is "wonderful." Production values are lavish yet true to the works, the singing is never less than "very fine" and the orchestra under Maestro Levine sounds "superb." Highest praise went to Maria Guleghina (Giorgietta) and Stephanie Blythe (all three leading mezzo roles, but especially La Zia Principessa). Friday night will likely be a long evening (the rehearsal ran four hours), but the buzz so far is that Il trittico will be "the highlight of the season."

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12 April 2007

Give me my robe...

La Cieca has just heard that the 2007 Richard Tucker Award winner is tenor Brandon Jovanovich, pictured here at a concert given recently in honor of long-time Tucker colleague Eleanor Steber.

Career Grant winners for 2007 are Meredith Arwady, contralto; Jason Collins, tenor; and Stephen Costello, tenor. La Cieca regrets to inform you that she does not have any photos of Mr. Costello in a towel at the moment, but, after all, summer is just around the corner.

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05 April 2007

Ruth's no stranger to friction

DRAMA on the front page of today's NYT Arts section! Ruth Ann Swenson comes out swinging at the Met for "snubbing" her in favor of younger and less zaftig artists. Her current run of Cleopatras in Giulio Cesare is her final contact with the Met*, apparently the end to a 20-season career there spanning over 225 performances.

And now La Cieca is going to throw this one open to discussion from the floor!

CORRECTION: Swenson is also contracted to sing Violetta during the Met's 2007-2008 season.

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24 March 2007


Our editor JJ's busy week included a review of the Met's Aegyptische Helena in Gay City News, and that panel La Cieca has been yammering about all week. As his presentation on the topic "Opera and Technology," JJ introduced this little documentary about your own La Cieca.

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05 March 2007

Event horizon

Now that we all know what's what for the Met's 2007-2008 season, surely it's time to start speculating about what comes after, right? Well, La Cieca has been in touch with her stable of reliable sources, and what she has heard is more than a little intriguing. N.B. All this is as heard, of course, not an official announcement...

Opening night 2008 will be a Renee Fleming gala showcasing The Beautiful Voice in acts from La traviata, Manon and Il pirata. Also in the season's opening weeks: Karita Mattila returns in Salome, Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon team for Lucia (HD simulcast for sure!), La Gioconda with the triple-diva goodness of Deborah Voigt, Olga Borodina and Ewa Podles, plus, for a little 21st century flava, the Met premiere of John Adams' Doctor Atomic featuring Audra MacDonald.

At the other end of the season, late spring 2009, the last revival of the rocks-n-rags Ring with James Levine conducting (start queuing for that one now) and the debut of DGG "It Girl" Elina Garanca in Cenerentola. In between, some hot tickets and some Sternstunden:
  • La sonnambula (Natalie Dessay/Juan Diego Florez)
  • Thais (Fleming/Thomas Hampson)
  • Rusalka (also Fleming)
  • La rondine (Angela Gheorghiu/Roberto Alagna)
  • Tristan und Isolde (Daniel Barenboim)
  • Eugene Onegin (Mattila/Hampson)
  • Cav/Pag (Alagna in both operas)
There's more (a lot more) of course, but La Cieca hopes this is enough to get the conversational ball rolling.

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27 February 2007

The dotted line has been signed

The New York Times reports that Gérard Mortier will become general manager and artistic director of the New York City Opera in 2009. Of course, you already knew that, didn't you?

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26 February 2007

Hello, Mister Wilson!

The most startling news from tomorrow's press conference at the Met (as released early to the New York Times) -- in 2011, a new production of Bellini's Norma, starring Renee Fleming and directed by Robert Wilson. The casting of Cecilia Bartoli as Adaligisa is La Cieca's own whimsy, but, hey, stranger things have happened. (For example, a Wilson/Fleming Norma...)

UPDATE: The role of Adalgisa in the Fleming/Wilson Norma scheduled for 2011 will not, as La Cieca puckishly suggested, be sung by Cecilia Bartoli. In fact she has just been informed by one of her most impeccable sources that the part will go to Elīna Garanča.

And in other exclusive Decca recording artist/avant-garde legend related news, the Schwartz gallery at the Met is awaiting installation of a Robert Wilson "video portrait" of La Fleming. La Cieca will inform you when the Wilson film makes it on to YouTube.

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21 February 2007

Huis clos

Now who, of all people, do you think spent all day today in a hush-hush meeting with George Manahan over at the New York City Opera? (Do you remember the New York City Opera? It's that other company in Lincoln Center, the one people used to pay a lot of attention to before Peter Gelb took over the Met.) But back to the subject at hand. Manahan's all-day tête-à-tête partner was Gérard Mortier, so La Cieca hears. And so La Cieca repeats, though for the life of her she can't figure out what this is all about. Unless it's the sharing of lousy Francesca Zambello productions between now and 2009, when Mortier departs the Paris Opéra. Or might it have something to do with the years following 2009?

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20 February 2007

OONY thing goes

UPDATE/CORRECTION: La Cieca has just been informed that Mark Risinger (the scheduled Marco) was ill yesterday and his cover, Brian Kontes, sang in his place. There was no announcement made.

La Cieca's spy at the dress rehearsal of L'arlesiana whispers:
Mr. Filianoti muffed the interpolated high note in the famous aria but it was 11:30 a.m. Other than that he used his sweet, compact voice to give a lesson in Italianate singing and in the use of every penny of the vocal interest and not a cent of the principal. And Ms. Cornetti is the real deal -- plenty of molten sound to get past that verismo orchestra on stage with her and the use of a Simionato-like mix on the bottom to score many points, indulging in full chest only occasionally. Too bad there is nothing to equal "Acerba volutta" to get her a more proper response during the opera itself. The Baldassare and Metifio were interesting studies in vocal production. Weston Hurt as the old shepherd owns an attractive sound with an easy top with a lot of "fly" but not enough presence in the middle for a versimo part of this sort. The Metifio, Ihn-Kyu Lee, resorts to a lot of grab to try to cut through the orchestra but then has a top with very little freedom, though he is big on sneering malice. The Vivetta, Latonia Moore, has a voice best described charitably as "dusky..." If she can leap to the top or pick it out of the air she does have a nice party-trick pianissimo (because the sound is so far back). In the brief role of Uncle Marco, bass Mark Risinger Brian Kontes contributes four minutes of pure professionalism and geniality. Ms. Queler is her usual self and the orchestra plays fairly well if not subtly.

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No time for "Tragedy"

La Cieca has just heard from one of her myriad of reliable sources that the Met's surprise box-office smash of this season, The First Emperor, will return in the spring of 2008. In order to make room in the schedule, a projected revival of An American Tragedy has been 86ed.

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13 February 2007

Cessarono gli spasmi del dolore?

A highly-placed source for Opera Orchestra of New York has expressed the hope that all is not quite lost for the company. In an email sent to a long-time supporter of OONY this morning, the source concedes "big problems because of the dramatic drop in box office" and admits the board is "hard pressed to make up the difference." OONY is is "sure of one opera next year," we are told, but they are "not sure about the other two evenings." The source further suggested that very strong ticket sales for the upcoming L'arlesiana might rescue the 2007-08 season.

UPDATE: An OONY spokesperson confirms that the company has scheduled Bellini's La sonnambula (featuring the well-received tenor Dimitry Korchak from this year's Dom Sebastian) for February 27, 2008 and promises that further plans will be announced "very shortly." Meanwhile, La Cieca has heard that one possible event for OONY's next year would be a gala concert headed by Marcello Giordani and Aprile Millo.

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11 February 2007

Eve at Twilight?

UPDATE: Opera Orchestra of New York music director Eve Queler has confided the sad news that the company is closing its doors permanently at the end of the current season to cast members of the upcoming L'arlesiana, La Cieca has just heard.

Queler has reportedly spilled the beans to at least one other OONY mainstay, a superstar tenor who (La Cieca hears) is toying with the idea of organizing a gala fundraiser to rescue the company.

When asked to comment on Opera Orchestra's future, press representative Aleba Gartner replied via email "All I can say right now is that OONY will be announcing plans for next season shortly."

La Cieca reported last night that she had just heard "something pretty startling" -- that Opera Orchestra of New York will shut down permanently after this season. According to our source, the board of directors of the company have already made the decision; all that remains is to complete the 2006-2007 program with L'arlesiana on February 21.

In its 35 year history, OONY has presented the American premieres of Puccini’s Edgar, Boito’s Nerone, Smetana’s Libuse and the Russian language version of Tchaikovsky’s Orleanskaya Deva, marking the American premiere of the Russian language version of this opera.

OONY has also presented such rarities such as Wagner’s Rienzi; Verdi’s I Lombardi, I masnadieri, Aroldo, and La battaglia di Legnano; Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles; Catalani’s La Wally; Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine, Les Huguenots, and Robert le Diable; Berlioz’ Lélio and Benvenuto Cellini; Smetana’s Dalibor; Donizetti’s La Favorita; Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini; Dvorak’s Rusalka and Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina.

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09 February 2007

Voce di primavera

La Cieca has just heard the delightful news that her #1 favorite singer of all time, Renata Scotto, will grace the airwaves as Quizmistress during the Met broadcast of Il trittico on April 28.

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06 February 2007

I want to dish a prima donna, donna, donna

Which diva has been secretly married for over a year to a male model barely half her age?

Which diva (not the same one) is in talks to return to the Met in the same fach she "abandoned" over a decade ago?

Which diva (neither of the above) seems to be inching her way out of the closet, if her most recent biographical information is to be believed?

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05 February 2007

After the ballo

... is over, you can hear a performance of the winning entry in the Madlib challenge, devised and written by the lovely and talented Le Cerf Agile and performed by the Apocryphal Opera Anecdote Theater of the Air Players. The actors have informed La Cieca that they are honored to be performing such top-notch material, and La Cieca has replied "How lovely for you" or words to that effect. Le Cerf and the other four winners should keep an eye on the mailbox for their rewards in the form of historic opera DVDs. Also on the latest episode of Unnatural Acts of Opera, the aforementioned third act of Un ballo in maschera and a wild rant by your doyenne on the subject of the Met's Jenufa.

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04 February 2007

Le nozze di Basilio

Tenor Hugues Cuenod will get married early this year, La Cieca hears. Under a a new law legalizing same-sex unions in Switzerland, the veteran artist (age 104) and his long-time partner, a retired diplomat, have decided to tie the knot. Date and location are undisclosed at the moment.

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Weekend roundup

Future plans for ur-diva Ewa Podles include Azucena in Il trovatore at Caramoor (July 2007) with Julianna D’Giacomo, Simon Neill, Daniel Sutin and Daniel Mobbs; then Orsini in Lucrezia Borgia in the spring of 2008 opposite Edita Gruberoba, Jose Bros and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo.

A company debuts in Manhattan when Ottocento Opera presents a concert of arias and songs by Giovanni Pacini and Saverio Mercadante on Sunday, February 11 at 7:00 PM. The venue is Christ & St. Stephen's Episcopal Church at 120 West 69th Street. For more information, email [email protected].

A propos of the death of Gian Carlo Menotti, an essay from the G. Schirmer web site by Paul Wittke. Actually it's specifically about Samuel Barber, but it does dwell at some length on the composers' romantic relationship.

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26 January 2007

The Verdi is always greener

La Cieca's cher public are, as in so many aspects of their existence, well ahead of the curve on foreknowledge of casting at the Met in the bel canto and German wings. Perhaps this wintry Friday is a good time to move on to a more semi-substantiated gossip, now on the subject of the operas of Giuseppe Verdi. (Do keep in mind that none of this is set in stone. In fact, given the Gelb administration's penchant for last minute switcheroos, one should probably hold off on booking tickets for 2012 until, oh, 2011 at the earliest.) But, anyway, herewith a few possible highlights of the next five years:

Next season's hot ticket will surely be a rare revival of Ernani starring Marcello Giordani, Sondra Radvanovsky, Thomas Hampson and Ferruccio Furlanetto. That certainly sounds more fun than the new Macbeth "starring" Andrea Gruber, Leo Nucci. Carlos Alvarez, Marco Berti and Roberto Aronica. Will anyone be surprised at massive audience attrition following the second-act demise of Banco (John Relyea/Rene Pape)? Fans of Mr. Berti (if such there be) may expect to hear him as well in revivals of Ballo (shared with Salvatore Licitra, and featuring Dmitri Hvorostovsky's first local Renato) and Aida (alternating with debutant Nicola Rossi-Giordano in an otherwise dismal cast). Renee Fleming offers repeat engagements of La traviata and Otello, with Ruth Ann Swenson optimistically double-cast as Violetta and Johan Botha as the Moor.

Rumors of Ms. Radvanovsky's "buyout" should be dismissed once and for all since she is on the books for two high-profile assignments in 2008-2009, a new Trovatore (opposite Mr. Lictira) and her first in-house Traviata (alternating with Anja Harteros). Those two up-and-coming tenors Giuseppe Filianoti and Joseph Calleja share Duca duties in a Rigoletto otherwise notable only for Diana Damrau's Gilda. And speaking of tenors, Placido Domingo is supposed to cross over to the bass clef for the title role in Simon Boccanegra, but La Cieca will believe that when she hears it.

The big news of '09-'10 is the Met debut of Riccardo Muti leading the company premiere of Attila. There will be singers as well in this production, notably Violeta Urmana and less notably Ramon Vargas, C. Alvarez and Ildar Abdrazakov. Mme. Urmana will also join two other golden-age physiques, Dolora Zajick and Mr. Botha, for Aida. La Radvanovsky's career continues full-tilt in a revival of Stiffelio heavy on hunk-appeal (Jose Cura and Mr. Hvorostovsky), and the Gruber doesn't seem to be going away either: she's up for a repeat of Nabucco.

As we move into the twenty-teens, we can foresee new productions of La traviata (with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon in the Willy Decker update) and Don Carlo (probably not with Angela Gheorghiu, though the rest of the cast seems firm enough: Mr. Villazon, plus Luciana D'Intino, Simon Keenlyside/Anthony Michaels-Moore, Rene Pape. Antonio Pappano and Nicholas Hytner will reprise their Covent Garden duties. Also: revivals of I Lombardi (Giordani) and Il trovatore (Fleming). That year may also see Mr. Hvorostovsky's Boccanegra.

The "jackpot" year of 2012 is still pretty much up for grabs, La Cieca hears, with only Falstaff (Bryn Terfel, James Levine) a definite maybe.

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03 January 2007

A pretty girl is like a melody

This just in: soprano Elizabeth Futral, currently Tan Dunning it in The Last Emperor, will sing the final Met performance of Puritani this season on February 15.

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29 December 2006

Headline of the year for 2006

"Opera that depicts Bush, Blair dancing in underwear is canceled."

From the Associated Press.

And while we're on the subject, the scene in question (from Robert Carsen's production of Candide, which will not be seen at La Scala in 2007.)

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28 December 2006

Bel canto lushinghier

La Cieca thought that now that Puritani has opened at the Met, it's as good a time as any to review the company's (rumored) bel canto plans for the next five years or so. Remember, everything in this life is uncertain, so please regard these "predictions" as the gossip they are.
Anyway, La Cieca hopes you'll find plenty of fodder for discussion in the following grafs.

Next season (as you all know) opening night will be a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor starring Natalie Dessay. Sharing the role of Edgardo will be a trio of toothsome tenors: Marcello Giordani, Marcelo Alvarez and Giuseppe Filianoti. Further upping the hunk quotient will be Mariusz Kwiecien and John Relyea. The Mary Zimmerman production will be led (on opening night at least) by James Levine.
Per La Cieca's sources, Mad Lucy will pay a couple of return visits in following seasons, first with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon in the fall of '08, and then with Mlle. Dessay again sometime in 2010. Ze French diva gets the unusual honor of opening two new productions next season, the Lucia, of course, and then a new Fille du Regiment opposite puppylicious Juan Diego Florez.
JDF and Dessay reunite in the fall of 2008 for a new Sonnambula. The tenor will reprise his Tonio during the 2009-2010 season, this time with Diana Damrau as Marie. And that pairing will be repeated in the Met premiere of Rossini's Le Comte Ory the following season.
Now, jumping back to 2009 again, that's when the new production of Rossini's Armida is skedded, featuring of course Renee Fleming and (among other tenors) Eric Cutler.
And then comes 2012, aka "The Year of the Jackpot," when just possibly we will hear the Tudor Trifecta (Fleming, Netrebko and Angela Gheorghiu) as well as a new Giulliame Tell (presumably for Giordani) plus revivals of L'elisir (Netrebko, Florez, Kwiecien), L'italiana and Semiramide.

Oh, and for Druid fanciers, the outlook is not quite so rosy: a single revival of Norma next season with Dolora Zajick, Maria Guleghina and Franco Farina -- or, as Mme. Vera Galupe-Borzkh might sum it up: "Can Belto, Can't Belto and Can't Canto."

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26 December 2006

Cieca plays Criswell

This is the biggest limb La Cieca has ever gone out on:

Expect James Levine to make his official Met farewell at the end of the 2011-2012 season. (First hedge on this prediction: Levine will make occasional "guest" appearances with the Met after 2012.)

Remember, you heard it here first.

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Soon and later

UPDATE: Gregory Kunde is now listed on the Met's site for the prima of Puritani.

La Cieca hears that Eric Cutler did not sing the dress rehearsal of Puritani (anyone there to confirm/deny?) and, though his name's still on the Met's site, he won't go on for the prima Wednesday. Thoughts?

And the tittle-tattle about (of all things) the 2012 Met season continues to filter in. The latest: the Donizetti "Tudor cycle" shared amongst Angela Gheorghiu (Anna Bolena), Anna Netrebko (Maria Stuarda) and Renee Fleming (Roberto Devereux [??!!]). All that, plus new productions of Guilliame Tell and Rienzi. Or, on the other hand, Earth may collide with a giant comet, so hold off on locking in the dates quite yet.

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It's a dessert topping, you cow!

The miraculous properties of the Gelb-era Met begin to rival those of the legendary aerosol product Shimmer. In the future, it seems, the Met will be both a floor wax and a dessert topping. For example, it has been rumored that a new production of Il trovatore would star (depending on who was telling the tale) Sondra Radvanovksy or Renee Fleming. Ha, ha, you're both right! If the information La Cieca hears is accurate (and when is it not?), Radvanovsky will sing the prima of the new production; then Fleming will star in the first major revival, perhaps with a telecast thrown in.

The same informant who tossed La Cieca this tidbit went on to say that the reports of la Radvanovsky's "buyout" at the Met were greatly exaggerated: the soprano, we are told, will perform revivals of Stiffelio and Traviata in coming seasons.

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22 December 2006

Science fiction

In the year 2012 we will all have robot servants to organize our collections of antique CDs!

In the year 2012 we will complain about the mediocre sound quality of holographic opera telecasts!

In the year 2012, stem cells will be used to used to regenerate node-infested vocal cords.

Oh, and did I mention that in 2012 Cristina Gallardo-Domâs will sing Menotti's Saint of Bleecker Street at the Met?

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