26 August 2005


I've been called to another part of the world, where (1) there's no opera, (2) computers remain largely a mystery, and (3) islands don't have reliable phone connections. Therefore, no Sieglinde for a couple of weeks. (She'll be working on some sort of a tropical tan.) See y'all on opening night.

23 August 2005

Aprile Rock Concert Update

Ron Delsener finally acknowledges his association with La Millo. Since Sunday, he's adds two events to his busy October 14 schedule: Foo Fighters & Weezer at Continental Airlines Arena and Aprile Millo at Carnegie Hall. Details in the way of tickets prices have been settled (ranging from $35 to $75), but anything regarding the musical program remains a mystery (much like no one knows what Foo Fighters will sing, or if they sing, or who they fight, and what they fight for, and which one's Foo, etc.) Rock concerts are chaotic things. Ask Courtney Love.

Opening nights

Sieglinde skips a few lunches and purchases a $75 seat to the Met prima featuring Met diva-in-waiting Angela Gheorghiu in Act II of Tosca. (Other aspects of the evening aren't worth mentioning in the same blogbreath.) Meanwhile, we hear from the ever reliable Met Futures page (run by Bradley Wilber) that dear Aprile Millo will open the Met's next season. (Millo-Giordani, more specifically, amidst a post-Three-Tenors three tenors configuration.)

(Dear Renée, that's 0 for 2 for you.)

Interestingly, we learn from the Met Opera Database that Aprile has opened the season only twice before: in an Aida in 1989 and as a "surprise" guest at Prince Orlofsky's wet 'n wild bash (singing perennial party favorite "La mamma morta"). We only wish that they lined up Act IV of Manon Lescaut for next year instead of Act III, but like starved peasants we'll take what we can get. Meanwhile, Angela hasn't opened for us, nor has she sung the Tosca in New York, so Act II (the opera's balls) shall be some sort of a thrill. Then later in the season, we are treated to a Violetta we've waited years for, followed next year by the Donna Elvira. There have been signals that Angela's being groomed to be our next Norma (for season 2007-08), but firm plans have yet to materialize (cf. Aprile's Carnegie Hall rock concert). Oceanliner Maria Guleghina's deliriously wishful website once listed Norma in her 2007 schedule, but after last year's laxative Abigaille, not anymore.

(Dear Renée, now's your chance to banish all pretenders off the realm. Demand the Norma for yourself. Cure the Met's phobia of this master opera, and open season 2007-08 as the priestess. Erase painful memories of Renata Scotto and Jane Eaglen.)

Met Futures Page [Brad Wilber via metmaniac]
Metropolitan Opera Archives Database [Met]

Poster Girls

Via the NYCOF, librarian of worship and poster girl for Vicodin, comes an alluring poster of La Diva Renée, librarian of stretch and poster girl for amphibian diversity. Buy it now before they "sell out". (You know she got lots of fans.)

22 August 2005

This may (or may not) explain a few things

Lost in translation. "American chat show host Jerry Springer struggles to understand the majority of guests on his British TV show because of their regional accents. The Springer Show--which looks at relationship issues--attracts guests from a variety of backgrounds from all over the UK, and Springer has difficulty translating the diverse native tongues ... 'They have all these really low class Brits with 'chav' accents and some of them are form Scotland and half the time he's like 'What? What did you say?'"

Springer can't understand British guests [contactmusic.com]

Someone tell Sieglinde what a w**ker is

A transsexual bus driver, an ex-lesbian ex-lover, bead strings, flying wigs and broken stiletto heels. Expect these to follow shortly. For now, we got a legitimate Jerry Springer segment on Jerry Springer v. "Jerry Springer." Jerry Springer (the person) is now pulling support from "Jerry Springer" (the opera), saying he believed its contents to be blasphemous. More bad news to Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas, creators of the work, after the Arts Council refused to provide financial support for a planned tour. News reports attribute Springer's 180-degree shift to intense pressure from Christian fundamentalists.

Any of this making sense to you? (If yes, call doctor to decrease dosage of percocet). Anyway, Sieglinde was told by a report from contactmusic.com that Lee and Thomas called Springer a "two-faced w**ker." Wtf is a w**ker? Worker? Wicker? Wacker? Walker? All sounds like Cosí fan tutte to Sieglinde's still-virgin ears.

Springer opera writers hit back at chat show host [contactmusic.com]
Springer opera tour under threat [BBC]

21 August 2005


Carnegie Hall is keeping Aprile Millo's concert a little secret. Their flash-website lists only that La Millo is occupying their Isaac Stern Auditorium on October 14, while their text-only website gives us an additional bit of info: "presented by Ron Delsener." Ron Delsener, of course, is the preeminent rock promoter, whose past and current clients include every imaginable major pop act of the last quarter century (from the Beatles and Barbra Streisand to Coldplay and U2). Meanwhile, in breaking-news fashion, La Millo's own intrepid promoter wrote an eager post on opera-l confirming that Delsener is organizing the "unique and historic" event, details of which "have yet to be finalized." But wait, a check on Ron Delsener's official website lists three Delsener concerts that evening (The Fiery Furnaces at Town Hall, Stephen Lynch at Westbury, and U2 at Madison Square Garden) but no mention of Millo, Carnegie Hall, or "rock." Sieglinde, hungry for diva and for more details, shall nonetheless purchase tickets (available August 26) to this mysterious event, are you kidding me (but checks her Visa card account online, just in case ...) Unique and historic, indeed ... probably other adjectives too.

Money Pit, 2005-06

First ticket purchased.

15 October 2005
Carnegie Hall
Daphne, Richard Strauss
concert performance
WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne
Semyon Bychkov, Music Director and Conductor
Renée Fleming, Soprano (Daphne)
Johan Botha, Tenor (Apollo)
Anna Larsson, Contralto (Gaia)

Thought I'd snatch front row dress circle seats before this thing gets sold out. Later today, Met tickets for the first few weeks of the season. (And tomorrow, Progresso split pea soup and VISA cash advance.)

19 August 2005

Goetterdaemmerung: Baseball Edition

Sieglinde's not all opera all the time. She's crazy 'bout baseball too. This weekend, Sieglinde predicts the Yankees will sweep the White Sox in Chicago, and take sole possession of ... the wild card. Now Sieglinde's depressed.

Hey MLR, sister in blog and balls, what shall we do if we don't win the division? Sieglinde takes comfort in the fact that the three most recent World Series champs came from the wild card position (Red Sox, Marlins, Angels). Also in the fact that the Yankees aren't the Mets.

Yanks or Joe, one must go [Lupica, NY Daily News]
Yankees still can't find their way [Chass, NYT]

UPDATE [8/20]: Yanks won Friday and Saturday games. Now we need Oakland to do their part and lose to ... uhm ... the Kansas City Royals ... who ... uhm ... have the lowest winning percentage in all of baseball and ... uhm ... have lost their last 19 games. "Hope springs eternal," indeed? Or, would "there's no crying in baseball" be more appropriate at this juncture?

UPDATE 2 [8/21]: Last night, Kansas City popped the champagne and broke their 19-game losing streak. Do you believe? So, with the loss, the Oakland A's reduce their wildcard lead over the Yankees to just 1/2 game. This means that in order for New York to take sole possession of the wildcard lead, they have to win today's game ... and ... at the same time, have Kansas City ... uhm ... extend their winning streak to 2. To put in more accessible terms, the bliss would be akin to-- the diva hitting the high D-flat fabulously, your minidisc is recording, and no one else's is.

UPDATE 3 [8/21, evening]. Kansas won in extra innings (half a miracle), but it's all irrelevant, since the Big Unit once again imploded and sank the Yankees today (the other half of the miracle, missing in action). Oh well. (Believe me, minidisc recording is just as tough.)

Target: Schreker

My copy of the New Yorker arrives in Florida a few days after everyone else's does. The first thing I read is Alex Ross's piece on Franz Schreker's operas. (I could have read it online, but I like to savor good things on printed pages.) With his customary rare style and elegance, Alex sells me Schreker, and I'm buying. (He can sell me anything, even La Gioconda if he wished.) Last night, to bed, I read more of Andrew Porter's accounts of opera in the 70s. That age's important New Yorker music critic had none of Alex's delicious restraint, none of the kind of control of words that allows a piece to breathe and glide miraculously. (As far as style, Porter is a queen when it comes to his opera criticism.) What a contrast. I'm looking at my thousands-strong record collection, and I realize I have no Schreker. (Alex asks, what about Schreker?) OK, OK. My excuse is, I'm barely midway through life expectancy. I know that my later years will be occupied by such things. What's your excuse?

All about Schreker [New Yorker]
What about Schreker? [therestisnoise]

Meanwhile, Target buys up all of this New Yorker issue's ad space. Read about the chatter surrounding the stunt. I thought the ads were cute. Though I prefer spending my money elsewhere.

Discount retailer goes to the New Yorker [Slate]
The Odd Couple [OGIC, About Last Night]
Just to be clear [Maud Newton]
The New Yorker's Target audience [gothamist]
Target's BuyBlue rating [buyblue.org]

Hey, Jersey's nuttin to be ashamed about

Opera queen Alberto Vilar's trajectory: Metropolitan Opera (fanatic, patron, and Savior), Metropolitan Correctional Center (bunked with Bruno a.k.a. The Princess), Metropolitan Transit Authority (no more limos, now it's buses and subways).

But the real shocker is that Alberto Vilar isn't really Alberto Vilar. He's actually Albert Vilar, born not in Cuba but across the Hudson in Jersey. This, according to the British gossip tabloid Opera. He allegedly altered his persona into one Alberto de Cuba (pineapple daquiri in one hand and cigar in the other) in the early 90s as he built his Amerindo empire. Plot thickens: we also learn that on top of his many technical crimes, he may also be guilty of losing a comma. Apparently, Amerindo Investment Advisors Inc and Amerindo Investment Advisors, Inc (get those reading glasses out, girls) are officially two separate entities (one based in California and the other in Panama), all designed to fool comma-challenged investors. Sieglinde was almost fooled too.

Vilar bailed [Opera: click on news in lefthand column]
Sailing to New Jersey [Alex Ross]

In other gossip/news, Aprile Millo is really, truly, absolutely, no kidding (I swear on a stack of Caballe LPs)-- Aprile Millo, not April Miller. However, she was born also in Jersey, not in New York (as per press release). It's a technical issue, really, not a fault of hers at all. The state demarcation line in the Lincoln Tunnel wasn't clarified till 1954, years after she was born under the Hudson on the back of a pickup truck (or, as per press release, 4 years before she was born). Kidding aside (i.e., preceding is all a joke), we adore Aprile on Sieglinde's Diaries, and will not hesitate to lie for her about anything to anyone ever.

Aprile Millo's "biography" [some fan, who says: "I am NOT Aprile Millo! I am just the person who made this page."]
Aprile Millo ends Sieglinde's Met Season [Sieglinde]

18 August 2005

High Blogging

Was it the Sudafed finally kicking in, the whiff of "smoke" on your way to work that morning, or something else? Let's ask Abhirup Roy, of etalkinghead (an online "news" magazine), who shows us why we can't give up on Wolf Blitzer and cable news just yet.

"Wagner: the quintessential embodiment of Germanic nationalism. Britney Spears: the quintessential embodiment of consumer pop allure. A marriage. A house on a hill. Kiddies. Inconceivable? Well, yes, as such a marriage must literally be a match made in heaven. But heaven is exactly where both personas reside; Oscillating up in the skies, with a sway on the destinies of men and the ebbs and tides of emotions."

What if Richard Wagner and Britney Spears had a baby? [etalkinghead]

(Someone tell Sieglinde what the f* it's all about.)

While I was away

My mother's been hogging the blogspotlight. Now she's even speaking to me through my iPod and my Gateway laptop. I think I'm gonna ask Orest to come rescue me again (and again and again ...). Or should I do it myself? Chrysothemis, the pretty one (but perhaps no longer, thanks to chicken pox), thinks I should simply shut up about it. Meanwhile, in my other life as Bree Van De Kamp, I have Hunding, adultery, incest, pregnancy, abandonment, and death due to childbirth to worry about. Anyway, you get the picture. Hand me the medication. And who erased my show on TiVo?

17 August 2005

The Leather "Ring"

Is this the face of a leather daddy? You tell me.

Summer Opera: The Ring in Seattle [ionarts] (NOTE: scroll down to comments link.)
The Seattle Eagle Bar: Real Guys, Real Events, No Attitude! [official website]
The DC Eagle: If You're Man Enough... [official website]
(James) Levine off the leash ... [Gramophone] (in the interest of balance)

Mozart Babes

Kenneth Branagh has picked three of our "hottest" talents for his Magic Flute film. René Pape (left) will play Sarastro, Joseph Kaiser (center) will be Tamino, and Ben Davis (right) will be Papageno. Because the Queen of the Night has been cast (Lyubov Petrova), Sieglinde shall try out instead for Erste Dame, or at least for the Zweiter Knabe. Or even towel boy. Anything.

Quintet set to play Branagh's "Flute" [Reuters]
René Pape [official website]
Joseph Kaiser [IMG]
Ben Davis [official website]

Is he or isn't he

Is this the face of retirement? You tell me.

Tenor Domingo 'close to retiring' [BBC]
Domingo says rumors of his retirement were a misunderstanding [PlayBillArts]
Men face up to facts of aging [AP] (i.e., moisturize!)

50 kgs. > 80 lbs.

According to Asian news sources, the amount of body mass Deborah Voigt has now lost, courtesy of gastric bypass surgery, is 50 kgs. For the metrically challenged, that's 110 lbs., significantly greater than the 80-odd lbs. we estimated a few months ago. The first time New Yorkers see Debbie this season is in the "Debbie and Ben Show" at Avery Fisher in November. Linear extrapolation suggests she may have to give up a limb if she is to fulfill minimum nutritional demands and survive to Dich teure halle us all.

American obese resort to extreme surgery [DAP]
80 lbs? [Sieglinde]
Beethoven/Wagner concert at Lincoln Center [Great performers; November 9, 2005]
"Da Debbie and Ben Show" [Voigt]

In related news, it is confirmed: Jane Eaglen is a belcher.

And elsewhere in the food section, a Rhinemaiden becomes violently ill after eating fish for lunch. A freshwater babe should have known better, we all agree. Rituals, rituals, rituals! Sieglinde, for instance, eats only soft fruit (e.g. bananas, but no prunes) before listening to any Scotto tape, eggplants before sitting down with the latest issue of The Advocate, and Cheetos (w/ diet Coke) before previewing any Falcon/Jocks/Mustang flick (Tristan Paris, anyone?).

16 August 2005

For Sondra, proceed to paragraph 7

In a 9-paragraph review of a recent "smoldering" Bregenz Il Trovatore, Sondra Radvanovsky, center of our Verdi constellation, figures quietly in paragraph 7. What makes opera smolder? It's why Sieglinde blogs her opera.

Smoldering Verdi on a floating stage
[Herald Tribune]

Someone help us find Mozart in this pile of crap

roadies on a rap tour, School4Lovers, nipple rings, graffiti, breakdancers, Cosí fan tutte, hip-hop, pulsing bass lines, hiphopera, sampled drum beats, f-words, promoter, tattoo, opera is doomed ...

Rapping out Mozart as Glyndebourne stages hiphopera [Guardian]
British opera institution to stage "hiphopera" [AP]

We love pictures

Nick from trrill doesn't like Jane, but we love him anyway.

The Gheorghiu effect

In an interview article that began by exploring connections between"(anti)diva," "mundane," and "Jennifer Larmore," Sarah Jones of the Scotsman reveals she really wanted to do an interview with her diva Angela Gheorghiu instead. Jones was so bored she had to make an emergency phone call to one Christine Brewer, to add considerable "mass" to her wilting article. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the early diva headline in Gotham is Angela opening the Met season while housewine diva Renée cowers into the second evening with a Manon recycled from her Paris CD/DVD. And no, we're not fooled by the "all-star" casting of the prima gala. We know the evening's all about Angela, like we know the evening's not about Isabel Bayrakdarian. Angela rises for Act 2 of Tosca, which should just about eliminate any residual urge to stay for Act 3 of Samson (yet another recycle job) with Bush friend Denyce Graves (who sings nothing but) and Placido Domingo (who'll sing anything, given time and make-up). It gets juicier. Later in the season, Angela makes peace with Franco Zeffirelli. We'll be there to cover that too.

15 August 2005

My birthday wish

Götterdämmerung. Margaret Jane Wray catches Asian bug; I am her cover. Ewa Podles on left ear and Stephanie Blythe on right ear blow the Norn out of me.

Not quite back

but Alex Ross dangled something juicy, and (ahem) we couldn't resist. Slate says Tom "tough as teflon and as cancerous" DeLay is an "opera buff." By opera buff, they mean the garden variety, three tenors "nessun dorma" kind, which we agree is a salacious secret worth keeping. Oh but there're quite a few layers of irony, too hairy sort in the three minutes we have (before we sink back into manuscripts and such), we thought it best to just outline the vertices and let your mind make up the most intriguing connections: 1. DeLay knows from "spintos," "verismos," and "ariosos." So does La Cieca, we're told. 2. Sugarland, Texas. (Ranked 46th of best places to live in nation. Other best places to live: #40 Colleyville TX and #48 Boerne TX. NYC and Jersey City didn't rank.) 3. Article subtitled "I'm not making this up. I swear." (i.e., can't be opera buff and criminal at same time) 4. Three tenors = "putting on airs" (i.e., opera is fucked) 5. $185,000 (= 3.5 tickets?). (i.e., the "trickle down" finally reaches the "arts") 6. Three tenors with Skybox seating = DeLay rewarding big donors of Americans for a Republican Majority. (I'm not making this up. I swear. Ask FoxNews.com.) Back again in a few ...