The world needs a lot of things: health care, happiness, homo marriages, peace, prosperity and butterflies. What it doesn’t need is a mediocre “budget” recording of a contemporary opera already satisfactorily recorded with the original cast.

on November 04, 2009 at 12:55 PM

I need to state right off the bat that I have never been one to worship at the altar of Maria Callas. While I can acknowledge her greatness, there are many other singers whom I prefer in the Bel Canto repertoire. So I was skeptical when I began watching Callas Assoluta from ArtHaus Musik.

on November 04, 2009 at 10:25 AM

The response to the critic auditions post has been something more than gratifying, cher public, with over 30 of you competing for entry into one of La Cieca’s limited number of slots.

on October 30, 2009 at 11:14 AM

La Cieca is holding auditions this week, looking for a few good reviewers of opera CDs and DVDs. 

on October 29, 2009 at 12:06 PM

La Cieca should know by now that any think piece that kicks off with the locution “I have from time to time wrestled with this conundrum” is just going to piss her off and she should just close the tab. But she didn’t, and this is what she found a little lower down (in more…

on October 03, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Our JJ‘s review of the Met’s revival of Le nozze di Figaro didn’t make it into today’s New York Post for reasons that you should be able to figure out once you’ve read the piece. At the suggestion of his editor, La Cieca is publishing it here. 

on September 28, 2009 at 10:32 AM

Dear Alex Ross (though he sure as hell didn’t like it) is not quite ready to join the “sky is falling” chorus. Opera being a delightfully paradoxical medium, this whole debacle left me in an upbeat mood. The Met is refusing to repeat itself and is seeking, by trial and error, a new theatrical identity.…

on September 28, 2009 at 8:06 AM

La Cieca shudders to think that Hugh Canning may be indulging in a trifle more anatomical detail than is absolutely necessary: The few touches of colour make big statements: the hostess’s red camellia at the Act I festivities, or her scarlet and her friend’s pink one at Flora’s gambling party.

on September 26, 2009 at 5:39 PM

[Karita Mattila] “was also remarkably unsexy, which made one wonder what Scarpia was so excited about.” [Wall Street Journal]

on September 23, 2009 at 12:10 PM

Here’s an entertaining essay in which the author acts as a sort of Netflix queue algorithm for pop music fan who think they might want to dabble in the hard stuff. [Time Out New York]

on September 15, 2009 at 11:29 PM

Now, La Cieca believes in turning a gimlet eye on everyone and everything, you know that. But even your doyenne finds this latest Zinta Lundborg screed, well, harsh is the only word. … the company’s funereal new logo is a black circle, which evokes thoughts of the deficit or even oblivion. Presenting four performances of…

on August 24, 2009 at 9:55 PM

Classical Beatnik Anne Midgette, obviously still reeling from the experience of The Letter in Santa Fe, addresses a problem we’ve been seeing more and more of in opera: even those who supposedly love the art form, and who are involved in putting it on, are increasingly laboring under the delusion that it is inherently over-the-top,…

on August 13, 2009 at 3:44 PM

What impressed La Cieca at the Caramoor concert of Semiramide on Friday was not so much the quality of the performance (though that was on a solidly high level) but the magnificence of the work itself.  This magnificence stands out now in even greater relief after the comparison with Les Huguenots later in the weekend. 

on August 04, 2009 at 4:21 PM

“Natalie Dessay … in a fuchsia dress and lace-up high boots, flaming red hair piled high on her head …. swung her arms above her head, stretched, and then literally screamed out what sounded like wild joy and barely bridled lust.” [Santa Fe New Mexican]

on July 05, 2009 at 6:30 PM

“Il trovatore was premièred in January 1853 and Traviata a couple of months later in March. The wonderful duet at the end of La traviata Act I brings to mind clearly the ‘Miserere’ from Act IV Il trovatore, and when Alfredo sings ‘Dei miei bollenti spiriti’ there is something of ‘Di quella pira’ about it…

on June 23, 2009 at 11:50 AM

In the almost four years since La Cieca pointed out Anthony Tommasini‘s curious penchant for “strapping,” the NYT scribe has been forced to reach, well, a bit farther back on the shelf for his modifiers. TT’s current pet adjective, as La Cieca is sure you all have noticed, is “earthy.” 

on June 10, 2009 at 11:49 AM

“…if only Oprah had been alive and writing librettos in the 1940s. She’d have stood up to Britten and gotten a much better opera out of him.” David Patrick Stearns reviews The Rape of Lucretia [Philadelphia Inquirer]

on June 09, 2009 at 8:22 AM

“Instead of pondering moral issues, the audience marvels that styrofoam can be made to look so much like granite.”  Our Own JJ reviews the Met’s Ring in the New York Post. For the convenience of the cher public, La Cieca will point out that the Post has a section for comments following the review.

on May 04, 2009 at 8:18 AM

As Peg, the boozy, washed-up screenwriter (Kathleen Turner) in Charles Busch‘s play The Third Story explains, I told you the third story is often the best. The first is the genesis of an idea, but usually completely off the track. The second is when you go overboard with flights of imagination. The third story is…

on April 01, 2009 at 10:56 PM

Which opera company may find itself the target of criticism since they are requiring singers to fly to New York to audition for their new stage “director” — a big name who has never directed anything more complicated than a runway show?

on April 01, 2009 at 11:40 AM

It’s been nearly a month since the last spurt of news about the New York City Opera, which, for those of you with not particularly long memories, is or was an opera company just off to the side of the Met at Lincoln Center.  Well, now the first big story of March has crossed La Cieca’s desk.…

on March 23, 2009 at 12:25 PM

When la Cieca’s dear friend and chief flunky around JJ shlepped out this morning to fetch a copy of the New York Post, he seemed oddly keyed  up.  “With what I got in me, I could have been better than any of you,” JJ muttered. Flinging the tabloid down on the breakfast bar, he…

on March 04, 2009 at 8:48 AM

[Our Own Gualtier Malde (along with a few thousand other people) attended the public dress rehearsal of the Met’s new production of La sonnambula this morning. Here is his report.] Innocence, rustic naiveté and virginity just don’t get no respect no more. I should know, I grew up way out in central New Jersey and…

on February 27, 2009 at 5:26 PM

If Florida Grand Opera can survive the critics, the company need have no fear of the recession! Singing, direction sink opera Leah Partridge provides fleeting sparks in lackluster “Lakme”

on February 23, 2009 at 8:17 PM