31 January 2008

Joyce DiDonato in Maria Stuarda

La DiDonato is joined here by Gabriele Fontana and Eric Cutler in this 2005 video.

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30 January 2008

Singing, actress

For those of you who were stumped by Lady Number Six, here's the mysterious dame herself, Galina Vishnevskaya, in a more accustomed version of Lady Macbeth, the 1966 film by Mikhail Shapiro of Katerina Izmailova.

The great diva returned to the screen only last year in Alexandra (directed by Alexander Sokurov), playing an elderly woman who makes the trek to Chechnya to visit her grandson, who has been stationed there as a soldier for seven years.

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When Ladies Meet

And now, the solution to the "Sleepwalking Scene" quiz.

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28 January 2008


The unusual and undreamed-of videos just keep popping up on YouTube. Here's a scene from Norma with Elinor Ross and Mario del Monaco!

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A Star is Reborn

That superstar of the podosphere, Miss Frances Gumm, is back after six months of laying fallow. Or is La Cieca thinking of Frank Sinatra? Anyway, one of our absolute favorite online destinations, JudyCast, has returned with its distinctive mélange of entertainment gossip and otherworldy warbling as gaily subversive as ever. (No explanation is given for the hiatus, but La Cieca suspects that the recent TCM screening of the bizarre 1968 flick Skiddoo dislodged whatever was creatively blocking Carol Channing and the other JudyCast partipants.)

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26 January 2008

Gaîté Ancienne

La fée Manto (Francois Piolino) turns up the heat on old coot Anselme (René Schirrer) in this scene from Rameau's Les Paladins.

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24 January 2008

Mad about the boy

La Cieca is all for crossover, but...

In response to several questions from commenters, La Cieca will say, no, she does not believe that Vitas takes "the" high e-flat. However, there is another genetic male on YouTube who does have the note: Lallanzinho!

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Toy toy toy

The Lego Opera, previously heard performing Il trovatore, has returned with a new and innovative production of Tosca.

Lego bricks outnumber human beings 62 to 1. Did you know that?


22 January 2008

Hunk 10, Tenor 3

A gifted amateur by the name of Izzy Anderson takes on Verdi's Duke of Mantua.

Mr. Anderson is one of the regulars on the must-see Wenarto YouTube site. (That's the celebrated Wenarto himself conducting this selection, though usually he is found center stage.)

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19 January 2008

Spanish inquisition

Given the current lively discussion of Peter Konwitschny's regie of Don Carlos, La Cieca thought the cher public might like to see (and to debate) the "Celestial Voice" scene from this production.

UPDATE: Since the discussion has now broadened to involve the context of this scene, La Cieca has substituted a player with a selection of scenes from this production.

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18 January 2008

O brother where art thou

An Italian TV report on the already infamous all-Alagna-all-the-time Orphée.

Now, David Alagna may not be one of the world's great stage directors, but he certainly is among the cutest!

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15 January 2008

You love Lucy

La Cieca pulled a string or two and managed to get permission to embed a clip from the VAI Lucia so recently lauded by Our Own Niel Rishoi. Of course YouTube video and audio is severely compressed, but the imaginative viewer will surely get the gist that this is a performance for the ages.

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...and tenderly beckons, Moby Dick, dearest Moby Dick!

Honestly insincere

13 January 2008

Kiri gets it right

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10 January 2008

Karita... after hours

08 January 2008

Boldly going

This comes under the heading of "so obvious; why didn't anyone think of this before?" Here's the opening scene of Amok Time: the Opera, a "cabaret opera" presented by Goat Hall Productions in 2006. The music and libretto are by Steven Clark.


04 January 2008

Whatever happened to Katia Ricciarelli?

In fact, she became Peggy Lee.

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01 January 2008

Natalie Déshabillée

La Dessay rehearses the "bathtub scene" from Manon.

Sorry, folks, the video is no longer available for embedding at the request of the uploader, Parsifal1979. You can view it, however, on the YouTube site.

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30 December 2007

Fun with subtitles

From the 1978 film of Götz Friedrich's production of Tannhäuser -- alas, not currently available on DVD. Dame Gwyneth Jones is the lady asking the rather personal question.

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29 December 2007


A number of the cher public have asked for more photos of hunkalicious Jonas Kaufmann, with a several of you specifially requesting a image without the tenor's accustomed facial stubble. Well, one of La Cieca's dear readers has obliged by sending a snapshot of Kaufmann before he stopped shaving, or possibly before he even started shaving.

The reader recalls performing with Der Junge Jonas circa 1997 when he "still sang Rossini and The Student Prince." A particularly vivid memory is of "Jonas in biker spandex for Proben in Heidelberg!" (The image of Mr. Kauffman's dinner companion has been obscured for reasons of privacy.)

And now here's some contemporary video of the unstubbled Kaufmann in action, singing The Student Prince.

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27 December 2007

Isn't it romantic?

Jummy Jonas Kaufmann records his recital CD Romantic Arias, due for release in March.

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26 December 2007

Golden girl

Ageless Reri Grist sings "Somewhere" in a rehearsal for the 19th Annual Gypsy of the Year Competition, celebrated earlier this month. La Grist introduced this song 50 seasons ago when West Side Story premiered on Broadway. She is joined in this clip by Chita Rivera, Carol Lawrence and other members of the original company.

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23 December 2007

Another song of the season

A concert in Vienna, 2006.

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21 December 2007

Have Yourself a Hunky Little Christmas

UPDATE: The YouTube clip of Stephen Costello singing "O Holy Night" is no longer available. Given Stephen's ubiquity on YouTube, though, surely it can't be long before another performance of this song goes live, and La Cieca promises to link as soon as her veritable army of sources inform her. In the meantime, here's another number. Right religion, even if it's the "wrong" holiday.

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20 December 2007

Fatal sdegno

If, through some miracle of recombinant DNA manipulation, Madame Vera Galupe-Borszkh and Maria Montez were to have a child together, La Cieca is certain this is how she (or he, for that matter) would turn out.

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19 December 2007

Druid fluid

18 December 2007

"I am big, it's the opera that got small!"

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Speaking of Begbick

Magnificent Martha Mödl performs a bit of Mahagonny.


17 December 2007


A YouTuber new to La Cieca by the name of Promptersbox, has managed to make available the entire La Scala Tristan und Isolde. Your doyenne is not sure exactly where the intense magic in this performance comes from: Patrice Chéreau, Daniel Barenboim or Waltraud Meier. But magic it is!


15 December 2007

Trouser snake

Maite Beaumont created a sensation as Sesto in Lyric Opera of Chicago's recent Giulio Cesare. She's seen and heard here as Cherubino.

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11 December 2007

Fan male

This video indicates some of the underlying reasons for the recent shocking increase in acts of violence against character tenors.

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09 December 2007

"We're puttin' on an op'ra tonight!"

Mae West goes mezzo-soprano for this scene from her 1935 vehicle Goin' to Town.

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07 December 2007

Send in the clowns

That "Cate Blanchett" Traviata we were talking about earlier? Turns out there's video of the dress rehearsal.

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06 December 2007


Fiorenza Cedolins gets off to a bad start in this performance of Luisa Miller. La Cieca feels that if you're going to sing like that, you really should avoid the Grayson Hall wig.

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05 December 2007

Who can that attractive girl be?

La Cieca would never have thought this would work. And yet...

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04 December 2007

Surely you chest!

And don't call her Shirley! It's the one and only Ruby Hinds singing the cabaletta to "O mio Fernando" at a tribute to Doris Roberts (yeah, go figure) in Beverly Hills.

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03 December 2007

Another alternative Moment

Joan Sutherland circa 1959, as Lucia, of course.


02 December 2007

Mostly mediocre moments

In the words of Stella Maria Krazelberg von und zu Brabant, "Renata was robbed!" La Cieca offers a quick reminder of some moments that should have made the Met's "Top 15" list.

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01 December 2007

Mean Girl

Luana de Vol takes center stage as the bullying Ortrud in Peter Konwitschny's brilliant production of Lohengrin. Emily Magee is the hapless Elsa.

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24 November 2007

Do you come from a land down under?

Here's Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Don Giovanni at Opera Australia. La Cieca is, for once, speechless.

UPDATE: Imagine La Cieca's surprise when she found out there is already video of this production!

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19 November 2007

Moon, June, Spoon

In an unreleased track from Cecilia Bartoli's new "Maria" CD (and you know La Cieca dotes on inédits!), the singer/musicologess performs in English! The song is "Yon moon o'er the mountains," which, as you all know, is one of the hit tunes from Balfe's The Maid of Artois.

In less aesthetically pleasing news, a photo of la Bartoli that should have remained unreleased instead currently graces Opera Chic.

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17 November 2007

"Today is dedicated to Uranus"

You know that Vivaldi opera everyone's been talking about? (Yeah, La Cieca realizes that sentence looks absurd, but read on.) Anyway, here's the already infamous nude scene for tenor Zachary Stains from the opera Ercole sul Termodonte, or, as it is more generally known in this country, "Hercules versus the Dental Hygienist." (NSFW, obviously, since Mr. Stains' "original instrument" is clearly visible.)

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12 November 2007

Gaia, isolata, bianca

Legendary opera diva Anna Moffo spreads her wings in a straight film role -- but as a gay character. La Moffo plays the lesbian "Lia" in Das Mädchen Julius. The film concerns the heroine Jules (a girl with a boy's name) who, according to the plot synopsis, as a teenager had a lesbian experience with her governess, Lia, who has taught her to hate men, whom she considers beasts who can bring nothing but harm to a woman.

So, if you ever wondered what a Moffo performance of Gräfin Geschwitz might be like (especially in a production set in the minimalist late 1960s) here's a scene from Das Mädchen Julius.

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10 November 2007

And all he said was "woof"

In a controversial performance (condemned by Stephen Colbert, praised by Andrew Sullivan), bass-bearitone Kurt Rydl grrrrowls the role of Hagen.

Legendary diva Rosa Ponselle was so impressed by this Götterdämmerung that she dedicated an encore song to Herr Rydl.

The (ahem) versatile basso replied with a video tribute to Nancy Sinatra:

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07 November 2007

Wheels within wheels

This is why drag was invented. The artistes are James Bondage and Bella ToDyeFor.

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05 November 2007

Perché non ho del talento?

This performance of the "alternative" entrance aria from Lucia di Lammermoor illustrates why the road not taken probably wasn't such a good idea in the first place. Note, too, how the technical quality of the video production so aptly complements the efforts of the artiste.

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03 November 2007

Lookism? Again?

Yet another rehash of the great voice vs. waistline debate, this time in the Chicago Daily Herald. Nicole Cabell laments the scarcity of European gyms, while "hunken-tenor" Joseph Kaiser plants his feet firmly on both sides of the fence by declaring, "Essentially if you can be healthy about being healthy, that's the balance to find because there's a lot of unhealthy ways to be 'healthy.'"

Usual suspects Deborah Voigt and Nathan Gunn offer no comment, but "bari-hunk" Mariusz Kwiecien is willing go on the record that he is "not an extremely good looking guy." (Obviously he didn't take a good look at this photo accompanying the article!)

Is anyone surprised to hear that the most sensible one of the bunch is the mezzo? "There is no denying the influence of the mass media culture of today on opera, but I think it's naïve to think that the idea of 'glamour' is nothing new to opera," says Joyce DiDonato. "Look at all the old diva photos from the 1920s and '30s and you see many svelte, sexy ladies at the height of their powers."

La Cieca herself couldn't say it more eloquently, so she'll turn the program over to radiant Rosa Ponselle. The diva is 39 here, just a year before her retirement from the Met:

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31 October 2007

Robert Goulet, 1933-2007

The Broadway baritone, star of Camelot, died yesterday at the age of 73. Goulet won a Tony Award for for the 1968 Kander and Ebb musical The Happy Time, and most recently appeared on Broadway as Georges in the 2004 revival of La Cage aux Folles. An obituary and appreciation of the performer can be found at Playbill News.

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27 October 2007

The solution to the "Ernani involami" quiz

All right, cher public, now that the competion is closed, La Cieca will reveal the 20 singers performing the composite "Ernani involami." First, you might want to listen to the original clip one more time. Now, ready? Here are our 20 divas, pictured and named. Just click on the YouTube clip to play.

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26 October 2007

Now this is more like it

Totally pulled together. Class act. Doing what comes naturally. Well played!

Call it what you will, but, fair is fair: this is great stuff.

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23 October 2007

Put our service to the test

The unsinkable (and apparently unflappable) Birgit Nilsson sings what turns out to be an aria from Verdi's Macbeth -- despite makeup design from Valley of the Dolls and a costume recycled from the "Be Our Guest" number in Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

La Nilsson's performance (as awesome as it is!) is only an opening gambit, of course. La Cieca wants to throw the floor open to discussion of last night's Macbeth at the Met.

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16 October 2007

There's opera outside of New York?

Well, yes there is, and La Cieca apologizes for her recent Manhattancentricity. For example, there's the Liceu in Barcelona where Fabio Armiliato and Daniela Dessì are tearing the place up in Andrea Chenier. (The video is of the distant single-perspective persuasion, which is okay because the production looks sort of like Starlight Express. But the sound clearly conveys the excitement this duo generates onstage.)


12 October 2007

Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be countertenors

10 October 2007

Hunkentenor manqué

In the words of the immortal Leonard Pinth-Garnell, "Monumentally ill-advised!"

UPDATE: The video has, perhaps unsurprisingly, been removed from YouTube. There are a few stills, however, on the tenor's website.

By the way, if you think the costume looks familiar, that's because you've seen it before.

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06 October 2007

The names he used to call me!

Aided and abetted by Noel Coward, the scintillating Mary Martin crosses over into operatic territory.

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03 October 2007

You Shouldn't Be Dancing

Ah, yes, of course La Cieca remembers the 1970s, or bits and pieces of it, anyway. Your doyenne fondly recalls that everyone spent that whole decade coked up and 'luded out, and she's in no position to condemn anyone. But even the hedonistic, anything-goes '70s Zeitgeist cannot explain the following video; specifically, why Franco Bonisolli should believe that Manrico is a long-lost member of the Village People.

Mr. Bonisolli models another look from the International Male collection here.

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02 October 2007

Marked Down Woman

La Cieca's old, old, old friend and role model Charles Busch returns to the boards this month in the New York stage premiere of one of his greatest film triumphs, the eponymous matriarch of Die Mommie Die. Busch (who is of course the author as well) stars as Angela Arden, a legendary screen chanteuse bedeviled by adultery, incest, blackmail, murder and the servant problem.

The play is a send-up of those 1960s horror films (sorry, "psychological thrillers") like Dead Ringer and I Saw What You Did, with the added twist that the plot is "borrowed" from the Oresteia. In other words, this is the funniest version of Elektra you're ever likely to see.

Die Mommie Die opens at New World Stages for a limited run beginning October 10, and for an even more limited time you can purchase tickets for this not-to-be-missed theatrical event for only $35.00! To take advantage of this near-felonious discount, Click Here and enter code DMTMC35. You can also phone 212-239-6200 and mention code DMTMC35.

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27 September 2007

While we're on the subject of "Lucia"

The stuff you find on YouTube!

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25 September 2007

Nel l'occhio tuo profondo io lego il mio destin

There's more (including a trailer for an upcoming Lego Tosca) on YouTube.


22 September 2007

Happy Birthday, Anna Tomowa-Sintow!

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15 September 2007

Off her Crocker

11 September 2007

Anything I can do, she can do better

Multifaceted Aprile Millo has branched out into blogging, and her site, operavision, includes some of the smartest online opera commentary La Cieca has seen. Currently she's expounding on Opera in 3D, a fascinating article if you can tear yourself away from the image of Renata Tebaldi shaking hands with an astronaut! La Millo naturally has penned a most moving tribute to her late colleague Luciano Pavarotti and includes some rare video of the legendary tenor (and other great performers, including herself!) on the site. Explore!

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31 August 2007

Bella è quell'ira, o vergine!

Wow! Who is this Odabella?

As several of you quick-witted commenters have divined, the mystery Odabella is none other than Eva Marton, who performed in Verdi's Attila in 1972. As you watch this YouTube clip of the entire aria, thrill to la Marton's precocious mastery of diva body language!

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30 August 2007

Where is style? Where is skill? Where is forethought?

Yes, another YouTube posting, but this one is something very special indeed. Legendary Zarah Leander is seen in a few moments from her 1975 triumph as Madame Armfelt in Das Lächeln einer Sommernacht (A Little Night Music) at the Theater an der Wien. La Leander also cavorts about a studio, lipsynching a medley of her hits with Les Boys. Once she lights up the cigarette, doesn't she look exactly like Bette Davis doing a musical version of The Little Foxes?

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29 August 2007


1962: "Il compositore Joseph Kosma ... ha composto un'opera con musica elettronica, rappresentata a Berlino, in cui viene cantato l'amore di una donna per un robot." (Thanks to A7Sogno for sending this clip!)


22 August 2007

Isn't it ironic?

BTW, this film is called La donna più bella del mondo, and it's very loosely suggested by certain events and characters in the life and legend of Lina Cavalieri. (In other words, it's utter and pure fiction.) But anyway, la Cavalieri is portrayed by Gina Lollbrigida, who certainly lives up to the title "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World."

It's not clear whether la Lollobrigida does her own singing in this movie. But here's an example of what the real Cavalieri sounded like. And here's more of Gina as Lina.

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19 August 2007

Mezzo replacement

Kitty: I was reading a book the other day.

Carlotta: Reading a book!

Kitty: Yes. It's all about civilization or something, a nutty kind of a book. Do you know that the guy said that machinery is going to take the place of every profession?

Carlotta: Oh, my dear, that's something you need never worry about.

Dinner at Eight, 1933


17 August 2007

Gayest thing ever ... then and now

Neither is opera-related, but La Cieca just can't help herself.

Nothing really changes.

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11 August 2007

"The muse was definitely not in attendance"

The delightful and greatly missed Madeline Kahn explains how she almost became an opera singer.

The complete version of this 1985 Opera Quiz, also featuring Kitty Carlisle Hart and Charles Nelson Reilly, can be found on Veoh. com.

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09 August 2007

Escalator to Obscurity

From the 1983 public access TV show "Stairway to Stardom," a singer with a fabulous name, Giuseppe Taormina. You know, a name like that is very hard to live up to, and, what do you know, live up to it he doesn't.

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07 August 2007

Singing is the lowest form of communication

In what La Cieca chooses to believe is a warmup for the title role of Simon Boccanegra, Plácido Domingo will appear as "Himself" on an episode of The Simpsons to air in the fall of 2007. According to PlaybillArts, the tenor/maestro/intendant will figure into a storyline concerning Homer Simpson's midlife career change to singing opera. (Hilarity surely will ensue.)

Longtime fans of Domingo will recall his duet with Miss Piggy of the Muppets and the running Sesame Street character "Placido Flamingo."

The image of Mr. Domingo at right was created at Simpsonizeme.com.

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03 August 2007

Pool boy

It's the Roberto Alagna workout!

(Via Parsifal's)

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25 July 2007

Wayback machine

To while away the tedious time of waiting for the next season of Metropolitan Opera HD transmissions, here's a montage recalling the first two decades (1977-1998) of "Live from the Met" and "Metropolitan Opera Presents" telecasts:

This YouTube video originated on the MetManiac site back in 1998.


20 July 2007

Let it snow!

As La Cieca is sure her cher public has heard, the term "to ski" is now used widely in Craigslist personal ads to indicate an interest in recreational use of cocaine. The divine Grace Moore here demonstrates how these ideas became associated.

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16 July 2007

That manzanilla has quite a kick!

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12 July 2007

Zum Raum wird hier die Zeitgeist

As a warmup for this evening's Unnatural Acts of Opera podcast of Parsifal (Act 1), a short film by Kopernikus1618 demonstrating what happens when "Andy Warhol meets Richard Wagner."

Speaking of Unnatural Acts, La Cieca is once more setting a precedent by offering an alternative to the current program of Wagner's Rienzi, a live performance from Vienna in 1997. Since the Vienna Rienzi is heavily cut and catches Siegfried Jerusalem on an off night vocally, La Cieca has decided to make available the most nearly complete version of Rienzi available, based on a 1976 radio performance of the work conducted by Edward Downes. These mp3s were encoded by the ineffable Mike Richter for one of his invaluable Audio Encyclopedia CD-ROMs. You can download a .zip file containing the five acts of Rienzi here.

If you like what you hear (and why should you not?), you should note that this complete recording is now available in excellent sound on a 4 CD set released by Ponto, and the whole thing will set you back less than a Jackson.

Oh, and did La Cieca mention the video currently on the Unnatural Acts page, a short film in which five divas offer their "regrets" for their non-attendance at the Met's 1983 Centennial Gala? You will be overjoyed (we hope) to hear that this clip includes the celebrated Renata Scotto X-ray Story!

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03 July 2007

Beverly Sills: Podcasts and YouTube

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02 July 2007

Video vixen

Natalie Dessay and Rolando Villazon in the St. Sulpice scene from Manon, as telecast from Barcelona Saturday night.

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27 June 2007

Gia i biscotti adunansi

14 June 2007


A glimpse of beloved soprano Gabriella Benackova in an unusual role: Emilia Marty in Vec Makropulos. Tete-de-peau tenor Roman Sadnik is Gregor.

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09 June 2007

Stella for star

Just a few quick words about the magnificent soprano Antonietta Stella, the "tie-breaker" in our recent quiz. She is perhaps not quite so familiar to some of La Cieca's readers as the more celebrated divas also heard on the track such as Tebaldi and Price. La Cieca will quote her dear colleague Enzo Bordello, who wrote eloquently about this singer in 1998:

". . . her 1957 broadcast performance [of Tosca] with Tucker and Warren is sensational. The voice is confidently produced, with plenty of healthy, glowing tone. She tosses off the role's many high B's and C's like they were child's play....

"The long and the short of the matter is that I simply adore Antonietta Stella. What did she do well, you ask? Well, I would reframe the question this way: what did she NOT do well? Although I never saw Stella in the theater, I can honestly say that few singers have thrilled me as much as she on records and video. At its best, the voice represents the highest standard of Italian lirico-spinto singing. There is a morbidezza in the sound that is ravishing. In addition to producing focused high notes, Stella sang with unforced resonance in the lower register. The legato is melting and her pianiszimo singing ranks with the best of anyone."

Antonietta Stella sings "Vissi d'arte"

Stella on YouTube

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08 June 2007

"Life is like an opera"

Who, La Cieca asks, could disagree with this sentiment? Particularly when it is expressed so, well, expressively by the divine Jacqueline van Quaille in Tintin, the Musical (Kuifje de musical). The scene opens as Bianca Castafiore, the Milanese Nightingale, prepares to go onstage for a performance of Faust. She pauses a moment to read a telegram from Captain Haddock informing her of his adventures with Tintin and Snowy as they search for the Temple of the Sun.

La van Quaille may be heard elsewhere on YouTube singing Isolde in 1970!

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06 June 2007

Entendez ma voix!

Alexandrina Pendatchanska summons the spirits!

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24 May 2007

Onegin, you're pissing on my shoelace

La Cieca is distressed to inform you that her YouTube account comprising 90 videos has been suspended. The cause of the action was a series of DMCA complaints from someone called "ByOnegin S.L." who claimed "infringement" from three videos featuring Mariella Devia and Montserrat Caballe. La Cieca is naturally distressed that all these favorite videos of hers should be unavailable on YouTube, but she pledges she will re-establish her presence there, thanking you in advance for your patience and support. In the meantime, she reminds you that there are some favorite clips still available at Google Video.

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21 May 2007

Trema, vil schiava

Although the cult TV hit Gilmore Girls has just ended its run after seven seasons on the CW, La Cieca thought you might enjoy a video featuring the "missing" Gilmore Girl (Miss Gail, that is.)

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14 May 2007

Happy (belated) birthday Giulietta Simionato

The legendary mezzo-soprano celebrated her 97th birthday on May 12. In this clip she is seen rehearsing with Franco Corelli for a 1963 production of Cavalleria Rusticana, and then in an interview from 2003.

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12 May 2007

Before they were famous

A couple of weeks ago we had the chance to see and hear what Juan Diego Florez looked and sounded like at the age of 16. And now, again through the magic of YouTube, here's a rare clip of Rolando Villazon as a boy soprano!

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11 May 2007

Dear Abbé

La Cieca's favorite baby hunkentenor Stephen Costello is back on the YouTubes, this time singing Des Grieux in Manon.

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01 May 2007

Sweet and low

Gender-bending diseuse Zarah Leander crosses over into opera to sing "Che farò senza Euridice" in this scene the 1938 film Heimat.

It may be noted that the sub-contralto Leander chooses a lower key for this aria than the written C major David Daniels will sing tomorrow night! For more about the iconic Zarah, see Ben Letzler's appreciation of the androgyne goddess.

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29 April 2007

Sixteen Candles

Before he was famous, tenor Juan Diego Flórez was already puppylicious. Here at at age 16 he sings a pop song on a 1989 televised music festival. (La Cieca can't quite make up her mind if he reminds her more of Duckie in Pretty in Pink or Slater from Saved by the Bell.)

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19 April 2007

Fuzzy logic

Of course you've all heard of the Afro, the Jewfro and the Gayfro. So allow La Cieca to introduce you to the latest variant of this curly coiffure: the Castratfro, as modeled by countertenor Philippe Jaroussky in the opera Agrippina.

In the interest of fairness, La Cieca should point out that the big hair was probably not the countertenor's idea any more than the "Pippin" makeup. In fact, as himself, Mr. Jaroussky is quite the cutie!

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18 April 2007

Kitty Carlisle Hart, 1910-2007

Actress, singer, arts advocate, socialite, TV personality (and New Orleans native) Kitty Carlisle Hart has died at the age of 96. La Carlisle made her Broadway debut in 1933 in the musical Champagne Sec (a version of Die Fledermaus), then went to Hollywood for a brief stay highlighted by her turn as "Rosa Castaldi" in A Night at the Opera. (To die-hard opera queens, no performance of the "Miserere" from Il trovatore is complete without the interpolation of "the Kitty Carlisle high C.") In 1948 the mezzo-soprano starred in the New York premiere of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia; later she appeared on the "Straw Hat Circuit" in Carmen and The Merry Widow as well as classic American musicals. On New Year's Eve 1966, Ms. Hart made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Prince Orlovsky in Fledermaus, a role she reprised for the company's Parks performances in 1973, and again in 1980 at the New York City Opera for Beverly Sills' farewell gala.

A more detailed obituary may be found at broadwayworld.com.

Here's Kitty Carlisle Hart in a scene from A Night at the Opera, with Allan Jones (and, of course, the Marx Brothers!)

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05 April 2007

The Bartered Bra?

Is it just me, or is Lucia Popp's left nipple peeking out at us?

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03 April 2007

Funny Lady

Sempiternal Montserrat Caballe, erstwhile Verdian, bel canto specialist, Straussian, lyric soprano, coloratura soprano, dramatic soprano and pop singer, reinvents herself once more as character comedienne.

Presenting La Superba as La Duchesse de Krakenthorpe in La Fille du regiment.

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02 April 2007


Anna Moffo in a non-operatic facet of her career, as leading lady in the Italian film Una storia d'amore (released in the United States as Love Me, Baby, Love Me!) In this melodrama, La Moffo seems to be playing the "Lana Turner" role, a sexy matron involved with a good-for-nothing pretty boy gigolo.

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28 March 2007

Près des ramparts

Opening tonight at Manhattan's Film Forum: U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha, a 2005 film adaptation of Bizet's Carmen updated to the present and transplanted to an industrial community near Cape Town, South Africa. The score, somewhat abridged but otherwise not altered, is sung in the Xhosa language. The NYT's reviewer isn't completely bowled over by the film, but he does admit "the overall conception is so original that even when the movie falters in the moment, it dazzles in the memory."

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26 March 2007

Met Barbiere on YouTube

... though not the one from last weekend!

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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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23 March 2007

Mary Dunleavy joins in the fun

La Cieca has just been informed that soprano Mary Dunleavy will participate in tonight's panel discussion "Opera and Technology" at The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America at Columbia University. No word on whether La Dunleavy replaces or supplements the previously announced Lucy Shelton. Our own JJ will be there of course, along with a veritable constellation of opera pundits: Elena Park, Editorial and Creative Content, The Metropolitan Opera; Beth Greenberg, stage director, New York City Opera; Wayne Koestenbaum, poet and writer; and Anne Midgette, critic, The New York Times. That's tonight at 7:30 PM, 1161 Amsterdam Avenue (between 116th and 118th Streets), second floor.

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