Cher Public

Outskirts

Has anyone made Balzac’s “Sarrasine” into an opera? That’s the tale of a French artist in Rome falling in love with an opera diva—who turns out to be a castrato en travestie. (Women were forbidden the stage in Pope-land.) The story is simple, an anecdote, but the MacGuffin of gender is kept writhing in the air by the diva’s fear of her lover’s fury should he learn that the appealingly feminine creature he loves is, in fact, a man. Kind of like M. Butterfly. Roland Barthes wrote a charming structuralist analysis of the possible improbabilities of this tale, S/Z, and it has been given as a play, with two women, one melodramatic, one hilarious, and a drag performer (the great Bette Bourne), all playing the diva. At once.   Read more »

Billy’s club

When Winston Churchill was First Sea Lord, the story goes, an indignant admiral accused him of violating British naval tradition, to which Churchill replied that the only traditions of the British Navy were rum, sodomy and the lash. Churchill later denied he’d ever said this; he did say he wished he had. Certainly that had been the tradition of the navy in 1797, as depicted by Benjamin Britten in Billy Budd, his opera of 1951, now being superbly performed (twice more: Tuesday and Thursday) at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House in a snappy Michael Grandage production touring from the Glyndebourne Festival.  Read more »

Hooterdämmerung

Is there anything more essentially operatic than the suffering of women? Degraded by men, oppressed by society, killed by improbable plot contrivances, the women of opera suffer endlessly for our amusement.   Read more »

The private life of implants

“The queen of tabloid TV arrived at BAM Tuesday night in Anna Nicole, an opera brimming with wit and good taste. In other words, they got Anna Nicole all wrong.”

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Take the plunge!

La Cieca now would like to extend a special offer to performing arts organizations in the Greater New York are who would like to join the parterre.com family of advertisers.

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Love is only love

Of the two love stories that unfolded at David et Jonathas Wednesday night, it’s hard to say which was more moving.

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Boys to men

You have only until Sunday to catch the most heart-breaking moments seen on New York City operatic stages this season.

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The boy friend

Since its life-changing Atys first arrived in 1989 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (where the Lully returned one last time in 2011), Les Arts Florissants has presented works there which have challenged many perceptions about 17th and 18th century opera.

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