25 February 2005

Met-iquette, part I, Q/A

Sieglinde, thy mailbag overfloweth

1. Dear Sieglinde, this past month I was pressed to choose between Lawrence and Esperian for my annual Met Butterfly pilgrimage, but in the end my boosted Zoloft prescription decided I should go to some Britten thing at Avery Fisher instead. There are just too many to choose from, all these alternate casts. What/who to see? OK, first, you're annoying me. Buy a one-way ticket to a Three Sopranos soiree and end it all there. Second, you're the subbest of sub bottoms to even think to ask me that. Let's put it in a more tangible perspective: it's like Sieglinde asking you which among your 14 cats ought to get his weekly pedicure. Ever see Sophie's Choice? Same thing with Sieglinde: she can't/won't ever, ever bring herself to choose between Stingo and Nathan. Even after 19 viewings. So attend them all.

2. I don't agree with the particulars of rule # 2. Will La Portaméenta's Manon next year sell out, really? You see, you're not sensitive to the other meanings of the idiom "sell out". Try looking it up, and you'll see what Sieglinde means precisely. As the mezzo-soprano Madonna Ciccone likes to tell the sushi chef, it ain't the kabbalah, lil'star. Now let's stop speaking about the La Portaméenta, Inc.; Sieglinde doesn't like the word litigation.

3 Regarding rule # 3, don't you forget Teresa Zylis-Gara, bitch. Dear titmouse, didn't it occur to you that the omission may be intentional? I know you're president of her fan club and hatemail is part of your pledged duties, but I mean just look at her. But more to the issue, she had a real career. Among wide-eyed opera newbies, you're absolutely forbidden to spew out names of singers that had real careers.

4. I have an old Marantz cassette recorder from the 80s, but it doesn't seem to be picking up all of La Portaméenta's frequencies. Which recording equipment do you use and/or would recommend? No, no, no, no, no, you must not misunderstand Sieglinde's words. She would never, ever do anything even remotely illegal in her life. Sieglinde also hereby complies willfully with the following declarations of action: 1) she will immediately cease and desist from any further suggestion in association with magnetically or digitally recording live performances and from distributing or in any other way exploiting such recording(s) recorded at the Opera House or alleged to be recorded at the Opera House, 2) she will immediately remove from her website any overt reference to the Opera House in connection with the production or distribution of any magnetic or digital recording(s), 3) she must confirm in writing within three (3) business days that she has taken the foregoing actions and will refrain from further unauthorized pronouncements on her website. So you see, little sparrows, by "recording equipment", Sieglinde just means pen and paper, to be used only to instantly record your impressions on paper, lest you forget crucial details for your post on rec.music.opera. However, be sure tell your seatmates you're not Anthony Tommasini (or, if you're seriously tattoo'ed, Anne Midgette). It's a dangerous place for print critics, Sieglinde knows. The New Yorker critic and hottie Alex Ross even goes so far as to take a bunch of faggot friends (he sweetly calls opéramanes) to view "Jose Cura's goods" just to shield him from his "public."

5. For a few years now, I've been wearing my Opera-L pin every time I'm at the Met, but no one has yet come up to introduce themselves to me. Is there a new pin edition I should be wearing? And where the f* is the Millo pole? I've searched all the bathrooms. Peaches, they don't like dykes, didn't you know? The L in Opera-L ain't for lesbo. (Unless you're suitably femme, then maybe they'll overlook the chest hair.) As for the Millo pole, I was just told by my gerbils at Met management that during their latest emergency meeting (called to manage the Jose Cura's wardrobe "malfunction" situation and is it worth the fines), someone put the Millo pole issue on the floor. Even after a personal plea by the diva herself (she showed up!), a thin majority pushed the decision to rename it the "Cura Pole" for the time being. (And oh, it's the thickest pole at the Opera House, it's not easy to miss.)

6. Dear Sieglinde, I would like to be your friend and sit beside you. Where do you like to sit? Depends on your "stats," really. But let me tell you this. Back where the ushers hang out and "smoke," they got a picture of Sieglinde posted on the wall, so I like to mix it up, sit in different sections, wear different heels and eyeliner color schemes, use various pseudonyms. But any seat in the house is fab. And each section has its own charms. For instance, the "family" circle standing room is always close to my heart. One truly memorable Saturday matinee at Dialogues des Carmelites, I was there and by god, it was stickier than an East Village backroom on a Sunday morn.

7. On behalf of the thousands devoted to the NYCO, how about us? Sieglinde has been there quite a few times, and sure, the boys are cuter and more affordable, and the Jasper Johns is more her style than the Marc Chagall, but in truth she's never sure if she's at the ballet or the opera. Singers who look the part, singers who could be ballerinas, no one can sing, it all sounds amped, Lauren Flanigan is aging, it's all really hard to tell from opera. In any case, she recognizes that the City Opera serves the purpose of mounting lesser-known works, so uhm, yes, it does serve the purpose for academic freaks among us who take opera as legit art. Apologies, but Sieglinde's Diaries isn't about that, though cheer up, I hear someone has put up a blog specific to your devotions. And wait, while I have you on the line, lemme ask you this: a friend told me that you could hear Met curtain calls from the NYState Theater's 4th ring. Even Valayre's?

8. So I was at the Samson last night, got my scalper by the balls, dressed appropriately, clenched and pee'd at recommended locations, followed your every rule, had the pen and paper on "record" mode, etc., but then the curtain rose and I was lost. When's Part II coming out? I can't say just yet. However, I will confirm that there is indeed talk between the gray ladies of the Met Guild and Jose Canseco's agents about possibly doing a two-for-one pay-per-view event very soon. As he's administered a polygraph to prove his tell-all book's veracity, Sieglinde will be asked to divulge what she knows about backstage steroid use. Because these things tend to travel faster than the Marina Mescheriakova meteor, I've already heard from Jane Eaglen's internet posse that she's drafting her own version of things, in case the issue reaches court. I guess she's triply entitled to any right, so I won't stop her. (Really, who can?) But I got other leads. For instance, I have already sent apprentices to Krakow to dig around for Ewa Podles' birth certificate. It's a start, I think.

Send real questions here; or hatemail here.