Cher Public

I heard the world end

Before La Cieca departs on holiday from her podcasting duties, allow her to introduce The Podderdammerung Page. Once again, La Cieca scoops the universe: here on you can now listen to (or download) the entire Ring cycle, as featured on this month’s Unnatural Acts of Opera. What sort of Ring will you hear there? So glad you asked!

Das Rheingold:

  • Festspielhaus Bayreuth, August 11, 1951. Conductor: Herbert von Karajan. Wotan: Sigurd Björling; Donner: Werner Faulhaber; Froh: Robert Bernauer; Loge: Walter Fritz; Alberich: Heinrich Pflanzl; Mime: Paul Kuen; Fasolt: Ludwig Weber; Fafner: Friedrich Dalberg; Fricka: Ira Malaniuk; Freia: Paula Brivkalne; Erda: Ruth Siewert; Woglinde: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf; Wellgunde: Lore Wissmann; Floßhilde: Hertha Töpper

Die Walküre:

  • Act 1. Festspielhaus Bayreuth, 1967. Conductor: Karl Böhm. Siegmund: James King; Sieglinde: Leonie Rysanek; Hunding: Gerd Nienstedt.
  • Act 2. Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, April 4, 1955. Conductor: Josef Keilberth. Brünnhilde: Martha Mödl; Wotan: Hans Hotter; Fricka: Georgine von Milinkovic; Sieglinde: Gré Brouwenstijn; Siegmund: Wolfgang Windgassen; Hunding: Josef Greindl.
  • Act 3. Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York, November 1945. Artur Rodzinski, conductor. Brunnhilde: Helen Traubel; Wotan: Herbert Janssen; Sieglinde: Irene Jessner; Helmwige: Doris Doree; Gerhilde: Maxine Stellman; Ortlinde: Irene Jessner; Rossweisse: Doris Doe; Grimgerde: Martha Lipton; Waltraute: Jeanne Palmer; Siegrune: Herta Glaz; Schwertleite: Anna Kaskas.


  • Act 1. Covent Garden, October 1, 1957. Rudolf Kempe, conductor. Siegfried: Wolfgang Windgassen; Mime: Peter Klein; Wanderer: Hans Hotter.
  • Act 2. Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma della RAI, November 14, 1953. Conductor: Wilhelm Furtwängler. Siegfried: Ludwig Suthaus; Mime: Julius Patzak; Wanderer: Ferdinand Frantz; Alberich: Alois Pernerstorfer; Fafner: Josef Greindl; Waldvogel: Rita Streich.
  • Act 3. Festspielhaus Bayreuth, 1980. Conductor: Pierre Boulez. Siegfried: Manfred Jung; Brünnhilde: Gwyneth Jones; Wanderer: Donald McIntyre; Erda: Ortrun Wenkel.


  • Act 1. Festspielhaus Bayreuth, 1967. Conductor: Karl Böhm. Brünnhilde: Birgit Nilsson; Siegfried: Wolfgang Windgassen; Hagen: Josef Greindl; Gunther: Thomas Stewart; Gutrune: Ludmilla Dvoráková; Waltraute: Martha Mödl; 1. Norne: Marga Höffgen 2. Norne: Annelies Burmeister; 3. Norne: Anja Silja.
  • Act 2. Festspielhaus Bayreuth, August 4, 1951. Conductor: Hans Knappertsbusch. Brünnhilde: Astrid Varnay; Siegfried: Bernd Aldenhoff; Hagen: Ludwig Weber; Alberich: Heinrich Pflanzl; Gunther: Hermann Uhde; Gutrune: Martha Mödl.
  • Act 3. Teatro alla Scala, Milano, April 4, 1950. Conductor: Wilhelm Furtwängler. Brunnhilde: Kirsten Flagstad; Siegfried: Max Lorenz; Gunther: Josef Herrmann; Hagen: Ludwig Weber; Gutrune: Hilde Konetzni; Woglinde: Magda Gabory; Wellgunde: Margherita Kenney; Flosshilde: Sieglinde Wagner.


UPDATE: the podcast of Das Rheingold is now online!

La Cieca is delighted and not a little bit frightened to announce that Unnatural Acts of Opera will present the first-ever podcast of Wagner’s tetraology Der Ring des Nibelungen beginning Friday, June 2 and continuing through the last weekend of the month. The series will consist of ten podcasts, each of a single act of the mighty work, and each act from a different live recording.

Artists featured include Bernd Aldenhoff, Sigurd Björling, Gré Brouwenstijn, Annelies Burmieister, Ludmila Dvořáková, Kirsten Flagstad, Ferdinand Frantz, Walter Fritz, Josef Greindl, Marga Höffgen, Hans Hotter, Herbert Janssen, Irene Jessner, Gwyneth Jones, Manfred Jung, Hilde Konetzni, James King, Peter Klein, Paul Kuen, Max Lorenz, Ira Malaniuk, Donald McIntyre, Georgine von Milinkovic, Martha Mödl, Gerd Nienstedt, Birgit Nilsson, Julius Patzak, Alois Pernerstorfer, Heinrich Pflanzl, Leonie Rysanek, Anja Silja, Thomas Stewart, Rita Streich, Ludwig Suthaus, Helen Traubel, Herrmann Uhde, Astrid Varnay, Ludwig Weber, Ortrun Wenkel and Wolfgang Windgassen.

Sharing duties am Pult will be Karl Böhm, Pierre Boulez, Wilhelm Furtwangler, Herbert von Karajan, Josef Keilberth, Rudolf Kempe, Hans Knappertsbusch, Clemens Krauss and Artur Rodzinski.

Clothing not optional

Actress/model/skank Carmen Electra will live up to her dual-barrelled operatic name tonight when she attends the Vienna Opera Ball. Curvy Carmen is the date of Viennese entrepreneur/socialite/reality show star Richard Lugner, who annually throws money at a celebrated piece of arm candy in hopes of attracting publicity.

La Electra (oh, La Cieca thinks that is just so much fun to say!) raised eyebrows at a press conference earlier today when she insisted that she intended to remain fully clothed during tonight’s ball, which is the most important event on the Viennese social calendar. The former Playboy covergirl will wear a black and white designer gown to the event, and will at no time during the evening strip out of it.

Lugner first pulled this paparazzi-friendly stunt in 1993, when he squired Joan Collins accompanied him to the ball. In recent years the level of “star” Lugner attracts has spiraled from B-list to D-cup: Grace Jones, Sarah, Duchess of York, Raquel Welch, Faye Dunaway, Farrah Fawcett, Andie MacDowell and, last year, Geri Halliwell.

Viennese grande dame Christl Schoenfelt, who organized the first Opera Ball in 1956, sniffed, “These women are horrible. Their presence damages the event’s distinguished image.” And then Lugner sued her.

In other opera-related news, La Cieca presents a 1986 recital by Carlo Bergonzi and Piero Cappuccilli on the current Unnatural Acts of Opera.

Sacred monsters!

Too late, I’m afraid, for a holiday gift, but what looks to be the must-have CD of the season has just become available. It’s a “new” Elektra, — actually a release of a live 1990 performance with the Valhalla-level pairing of Dame Gwyneth Jones and Leonie Rysanek as daughter and mother. (This is of course the same team that La Cieca has raved about incessantly for a decade now, whether in their 1995 Met or 1991 Orange performances.) This Claves release, in what appears to be superb sound, is from a staged performance of the opera at Grand Théâtre, Geneva, […]

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To dye for

The only thing better than knowing that a singer has had the greatest Sternstunde of her career is having that performance documented. Montserrat Caballe‘s Norma at Orange, for example, which is one of truly must-have DVDs for any true opera fanatic. Now, Dame Gwyneth Jones has had many great nights in her amazing career, but it’s hard to imagine she (or anyone else!) could ever top her performance as the Dyer’s Wife in this 1980 Frau ohne Schatten from the Paris Opera. Voice, commitment, acting, and La Jones’s remarkable physical beauty are at their peak: this is a definitive Faerberin. […]

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Name brands

Il Gran Teatro della Cieca proudly presents Above the Title: Operatic Superstar as Protagonist. This program features five complete live performances: La Fille du Regiment (Beverly Sills), Salome (Gwyneth Jones), Don Carlo (Franco Corelli), Die Walkuere (Kirsten Flagstad) and Madama Butterfly (Montserrat Caballe). Listen to the program Read more details

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Don’t touch that dial

Coming up this weekend on “Il Gran Teatro della Cieca,” an all-new, all-recorded-live program of opera. You’ll hear complete performances of La Fille du regiment, Salome, Don Carlo, Die Walkuere and Madama Butterfly, with the title roles taken by Beverly Sills, Gwyneth Jones, Franco Corelli, Kirsten Flagstad and Montserrat Caballe (respectively!) In the meantime, do take this final opportunity to catch “The Art of Virginia Zeani,” continuing until early Friday morning.

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