"Topolino" (literally: "mousie") is not only the Italian name of that ubiquitous Disney character "Mickey Mouse", but it's also the Italian name of a Disney comic book that contains the adventures of Mickey, Donald ("Paperino"), Goofy ("Pippo") along with the rest of Walt's zoo.
Coming soon to an Italian newsstand near you (or not), the December 3rd issue of "Topolino" will feature a story where Donald Duck goes to la Scala's opening night (see cover above).
The outline? Donald Duck's doppelganger "DoubleDuck", a sort of ducky James Bond, goes -- all dressed up in black tie -- to the opening night to protect the conductor "Felino Felynis" from a possible spectacular kidnapping during the opera "Carlone e Beppina".
omg indoctrination! We already downloaded a leaked copy of it. DoubleDuck gets wasted on a hidden flask of Jager during the first intermission, passes out in the coatroom, and gets locked in the theater overnight. And Rosebud is the freaking sled.
Utzon drew up the design for the opera house in 1957 but quit seven years before it was finished after scandals about cost blowouts and design arguments. Government-appointed architects took over and the interior was not completed to Utzon's original plan.
Not to be upstaged in this childish pointless foodfight, instead of letting it slide, Ioan Holender -- Vienna's Staatsoper director -- shot back with all the ammo he could find:
"This (attack) is unprecedented between opera
houses: it is very embarrassing to engage in a dispute with someone who
cannot read music but I understand Lissner needs to distract the
Italian press from what is happening -- or better yet, not happening --
at la Scala".
"To cancel a new production (ed: the Andrea Chenier Opera Chic wrote extensively about)
because the director and almost all of the cast have vanished is quite
unusual and unbelievable for a opera house. With such attacks against
my work Lissner disqualified himself, since he knows that I have been
leading for 16 years the glorious Vienna opera with more than 60 operas
in repertoire and more than 300 shows every season. Monsieur Lissner's
envy is understandable when one sees that these days on the Vienna
podium we have Christian Thielemann, Seji Ozawa, Riccardo Muti and
Zubin Mehta, who are among the world's greatest conductors. They are
not at la Scala where, unfortunately, there is only Lissner: this is
Nine months of frozen silence between the two managers followed; but now, in a honorable attempt to patch things up, Lissner has invited Holender to la Scala for the Dec. 7 prima of Don Carlo.
If unruly unions sink the show (Opera Chic wouldn't bet on it, even last year's Tristan was similarly threatened and the wildly overpriced show -- that makes la Scala about 2 million euros in a single night -- regularly went on), Herr Holender will have the chance to go shopping in the Quadrilatero and sample himself some tasty seasonal Milanese cuisine (cassoeula a special favorite of the pork-eating gourmets here).
Opera Chic seldom joins the legions of haters of poor Tony Tom, mostly because she's a live-and-let live kind of a girl, and now the New York Times is not even her local paper anymore -- Corriere della Sera ftw! -- but sometimes TT's shenanigans move us to action.
But the bel canto melodies that most captivate me are those that spin
out in long, elegant, endless lines that almost disguise the phrase
structure of the melody. For a modern equivalent, think of the Beatles’
If you check out the story, there's much worse in there.
Oh, and he also writes that opera presentations are about to "bone up".
(Above: Fidelio as immortalized in comics by Vancouver Opera's OperaLive!)
Opera sometimes needs a kick in the pants(role) every now and then to resuscitate the sluggish soup and get the blood flowing to all those necessary & lovely extremities. We want to tingle, we want to sweat...let's all agree that we like our opera rugged & raw.
We've found an unpredictable & successful mix between opera and pop culture via OperaLive!, the media-filled sister website of their more serious parent site, Vancouver Opera, who has already moved onto Plan B while everyone is cruising along with predictable Plan A.
Combining condensed versions of libretti with anime & manga, Vancouver Opera has created a slick promotional and education tool, the perfect elixir to sway the under 30-something prospective opera fans, and elucidate opera's timeless tales as a sweet chaser.
We hate to gush with lust for the VO, but this is one of the most innovative culture jams we've had for opera since the Opera Chic blog O_o We're just down on our knees thankful that they did just straight up manga. We don't want to see Fidelio in a little schoolgirl's outfit attempting physically impossible ~things~ with tentacles.
Via the always awesome Vancouver Opera blog, you can find anime/manga versions of productions past & present, and almost all are a collaboration between editor Roy Husada and Fiona Meng's artwork.
Go visit for full comix of Eugene Onegin, La Boheme, Fidelio, Cavelleria Rusticana, L'italiana in Algeri, Pagliacci, and Tosca. [Click on "READ" from the main menu ---> Click on "MANGA" from secondary menu]
Daniel Barenboim, the 66-year-old conductor of many nationalities will settle into the orchestra pit at the Metropolitan Opera on Friday, November 28 for his first public appearance conducting Wagner's Tristan und Isolde.
To help you digest your turkey leftovers and soothe your Black Friday consumer angst, you can still find *plenty-o-tix*. WTF NYC? It's the Thanxgiving weekend, ok, and it's not the cool new Chereau staging we saw last year in Milan, but is everybody so stuffed with turkey buttz and gizzard gravy that they have more important things to do than witness Barenboim's Metropolitan premiere?
Also making their premieres are Swedish soprano Katarina Dalayman and hard-of-hearing German heldentenor Peter Seiffert, singing the title roles but apparently this gave NYC the lawls. René Pape, he of all things awesome will sing King Marke, reprising the role which he sang in the inaugural 1999 Dieter Dorn production.
We peeked on the page for la prima, and it looks like NYC has other plans tomorrow night...
We've got a nice assortment of production photos just for you!
(Above: Peter Seiffert as Tristan, Katarina Dalayman as Isolde, and Michelle DeYoung as Brangäne)
(Above: Seiffert as Tristan, Katarina Dalayman as Isolde)
**click on the link below for a handful of more shots!!**
Rolando was spotted earlier tonight hanging out with Placidone The Dominger, Pink, Britney Spears, Keanu Reeves, Meg Ryan, Karl Lagerfeld, Tommy Hilfiger, Maria Furtwaengler, and lots of other German d00ds for Germany's 2008 Bambi Awards.
[UPDATE]!!! MOAR FOTOS!!
Placidones & Villazon...so cute!
(Above: Placidone with Claudia Cardinale and Hardy Krueger)
There's no better day to give a Style Icon shoutout to that Milanese (ok she was born near Varese, but she's been living here since like forever anyway) icon of cool, la signora Rosita Missoni, designer of multicolor, multilayered talents, creative mind of museum-grade greatness, pioneering businesswoman since the early 1950s, classical music lover who, together with her husband (of 55 years this year!) Tai and a bunch of adorable grandkids, is a constant presence at Scala concerts and operas.
La signora Rosita just turned an incredibly youthful and active 77: OC hereby states she can only hope to age, one day, half as beautifully as la signora Rosita is doing.
Here, courtesy of Oprah.com three generations of Missoni women, Rosita with daughter Angela and granddaughter Margherita:
Break the piggy bank, sell your house, pawn a kidney, do anything (legal) that's necessary to ensure that you place a solid bid for the American Ballet Theatre's charity auction that runs from December 1 to December 15. And a dinner with Roberto Bolle can become a reality and not just one of your naughty, naughty, naughty dreams.
o hai who's that secksay girl with the razor? Once in a while an opera promotional campaign comes along that just clicks...and leaves you wondering why no one had thought of it before -- nay, why you hadn't yourself. We're sorta getting that vibe from the playful new ads created for Opera Tampa's upcoming Barbiere di Siviglia.
Modeled after that famous 1993 Vanity Fair cover, shot by late/great Herb Ritts, our two young singers pose in homage to the gender-bending vignette of K.D. Lang getting a shave by Cindy Crawford.
"Here in Tampa, we have a very short rehearsal period before the performances. They scheduled a photo shoot for the second day we were here, and since we didn't have the costumes yet, the PR guy had the very clever idea to copy a former Vanity Fair cover of Cindy Crawford shaving K.D. Lang who was reclining in an old time Barber's chair.[...]"
"[...]I am soooooo not a sexy vixen in real life, so this photo shoot was a big stretch for me, but he finally got some good expressions at the end of the shoot when I just gave up and stopped trying.[...]"
Please, girl...the secksiness has liftoff -- destination: Jennifer Rivera. Frankly, we wish that wardrobe & make-up could have been a bit fiercer (like smokey, sultry eyes/red lips for la Rivera paired with a couture/vintage dress & accessories) but we give it A+++ for effort for rubbing us in all the right places. We understand we're working with a limited budget here.
We hope to find Ms. Rivera in 2011 @ Teatro Communale di Bologna's La Clemenza in the reprisal of Graham Vick's masterful production we saw last May in Torino. We thoroughly lauded Monica Bacelli's Sesto (La Rivera was the secondary cast's Sesto), but are looking forward to sampling her skillz. Maybe like, a sultry Sesto? hmmmm...
"But during rehearsals for the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Wagner’s 'Tristan und Isolde,' which opens on Friday night, the German tenor singing Tristan, Peter Seiffert,
has been using a personal electronic prompter: an earpiece through
which he can hear the cues directly. The only previous time a performer
at the Met has used such a device came last season in a speaking role
for the new production of Donizetti’s 'Fille du Régiment.' Mr. Seiffert
has sung several major Wagner roles to acclaim, including Tannhäuser
for his Met debut in 2004. When he sang Tristan in Berlin two years ago
he also used an earpiece. A Met official said yesterday that Mr.
Seiffert was still deciding whether to use the earpiece on Friday, when
the conductor Daniel Barenboim would be making his Met debut."
Orchestras playing too loud are one thing; singers going deaf for it are entirely another.
The world knows him as the operatic bass with the monstah powah and the spotless resume, the talent discovered by Herbert Von Karajan in the 1970s, the first and only Italian to ever sing Boris Godunov at the Mariinsky, an impeccable gentleman in an increasingly less and less gentlemanly business such as the opera.
But not many people know that Ferruccio Furlanetto's opera work is, actually, just his hobby.
The Beautiful Voice, Miss Fleming (if ur nasty) is warming up the hectic holiday social season a little on the early side. We're proud that an ambassador from ~the world of opera~ is making the rounds and reprezentin the dying habit of the old skool diva, who would flutter her golden butterfly wings from party to party.
Earlier this week, Renée was a guest of Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden at the Waldorf Astoria's Mentor Foundation Royal Gala. She joined mainstay NYC gala scenesters such as Martha Stewart & Russell Simmons, and looked the part in a burgundy strapless gown.
Tickets didn't come cheap, ranging from $150,000 (for 2 tables for ten) to a measly $1000 single patron ticket, tho entry guaranteed a night of VIP treatment, and a chance to rub shoulders with luminaries like Queen Noor.
Next one of these functions, Renée should demand to be called "Her Excellency Majesty Royal Queen", and hire a retired jockey to hang out at her side, twirling his Fu manchu moustache and fingering his monocle.We ♥ you, Renée!
Opera Chic likes and doesn't like René Jacobs, that historically correct Belgian potato, a sweet man, a better countertenor than a conductor, a relentless nostalgic of museum-ready musical dogma who irritates us almost as much as the vinyl LP geeks who in 2008 still insist that CDs sound "flat", not to mention René is a staunch supporter of criminal endeavors such as slapping Sussmayer's recitativi in the middle of a Mozart opera (as if the Requiem wasn't enough bootleg Sussy-posing-as-Wolfie to last us for a lifetime). But oh does René have a long list of redeeming qualities: among them, his devotion to Alexandrina Pendatchanska, the dark-colored fearsome voice that lately haunts many of Opera Chic's favorite opera-listening moments (and who boasts a pretty bada$$, even if Flash-heavy, website).
Valladolid seems to have gone down extremely well already. OC has a weakness for Idomeneo because, even more than La Clemenza, it tends to be overlooked and not get fully recognized as a masterpiece, because obviously the splendor of the Mozart/DaPonte trilogy can be blinding at times, and we are all in love with that crazy bird-catcher Mozart himself loved so dearly.
But Idomeneo nevertheless soars; and it's nice to have la Pendatchanska in charge of that, this time.
He realized he was destined to be a composer when he was 19, and first heard Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring
at Carnegie Hall in 1928. “I thought it was the greatest thing I’d ever
heard and thought to myself, I’d love to write something like that.” He
laughs as he adds, “I remember half of the audience walked out and
that’s what I liked, too.”
“It’s rather touching for me to see
the halls packed today with people because there were times when I was
lucky if I could fill one row at a big concert hall,” he recalls.
Queen Latifah, Queen Kathleen Battle, and Queen Alicia Keys sang at the 2008 American Music Awards in Los Angeles last night. So full of win! loooooooool what is this, any of this??? Watch the performance below! OMG PLZ GIVE IT UP FOR THE ~INCOMPREHENSIBLE~ KATHLEEN BATTLE:
**CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW** to be transported to magical KathyLand where tons more photos await to fulfill all your wildest Kathy paparazzi dreams!
It's crunch time at Teatro Regio di Parma because the 08-09 season is about to start: Claudio Abbado on Dec. 1 will lead the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in a sweet all-Beethoven night, the Eroica and the Violin Concerto in D Major op. 61, Isabelle Faust soloist. To be followed two days later by a Radu Lupu piano recital, Beethoven/Schumann.
The new opera season begins in the name of their local hero Giuseppe Verdi: the season opener on Jan. 13 will be I Lombardi alla prima crociata, with Dimitra Theodossiou, Francesco Meli & Michele Pertusi, conducted by Daniele Callegari; the staging is by Lamberto Puggelli (dir), Paolo Bregni (sets), Santuzza Calì (costumes).
Lucia di Lammermoor (opens on Feb. 19) will be directed by Denis Krief, Dèsirèe Rancatore as Lucia, Roberto Aronica & Gabriele Viviani. Alberto Fassini's staging of Tosca will open on April 2 with Marcelo Alvarez, Michela Carosi & Marco Vratogna under Massimo Zanetti's baton.
How lucky for O.C. that she didn’t have to travel back
in time and enroll herself in college again just to hear the world’s foremost expert
on Italian opera, Dr. Philip Gossett (Jr, jr) do his thang. So no time travel
in the DeLorean back to University of Chicago, where Uncle Phil currently lectures as the Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor of Music…that is, when
he’s not traveling around the world, researching centuries-old scores in
guarded tombs, compiling critical editions -- we like to call him the Indiana Jones of classical music. And with the possible exception of the latest issue of Vogue Nippon, of Lorenzo Da Ponte's Memorie, and Hans Werner Henze's autobiography, there's no book more often present at Opera Chic's bedside table than Gossett's "Divas
Conservatorio di musica “G. Verdi” (you know, the ones who didn't accept young Giuseppe because he had apparently flunked his admission test, a slight he never ever forgave, and probably rightly so) wooed the elusive Herr Doktor as oratore for their weekend-long conference, which is the fourth & final
stop of a 6-month touring conference, organized for the 150th anniversary
of Giacomo Puccini’s birthday. The conference circuit spanned from Milan (where he studied and lived for many years and worked) to Lucca (where he was born) to Torre del Lago (where
he lived & built his villa), and brought in experts from every field to
discuss all things Puccini. Philip Gossett treated the audience to a hour-long
discussion, all in Italian language, on his vast work in the critical editions of
With a Steinway to his back, Gossett highlighted
many musical examples by sight-reading passages with a theatrical flair. Gossett explained all the variables that go into common, accepted versions of scores being passed around, and how even stylistically, alterations to the original scores were done simply to ease certain interpretations, to adapt them into something that's generally considered more agreeable to the ear. One cool example that particularly caught OC's attention? In the opening notes of Puccini's Madame Butterfly overture, for example, the composer noted the violins with much less connectivity and legato, diverse from the way we've come to know it today.
Puccini had different phrasing, implementing a disconnected, staccato notation, which carried a much heavier, drowsier sense -- a sense of doom, of impending disaster. And frankly more modern -- much less "classical" -- to our 21st Century ears. But the legato simply was the way it was marked in the Ricordi version, and thus becomes the standard.
OC deems Philip Gossett a scholar worthy
of his rock star status, as he wooed the audience and panel alike. After his presentation,
he fielded a spontaneous Q&A session, also in Italian language. Young and
old stepped up to the microphone, praising the doctor for his work.
Another highlight of the conference was the work
of Ms. Gabriella Biagi Ravenni, President of Centro studi Giacomo Puccini, who
displayed many of Puccini’s handwritten letters to his family, which were
written in a very curious style. Young Puccini was terribly poor -- a Bohemian, really -- and therefore would only buy postcards to
write to his family so he could save on postage rates. Because of space
confinements, he would actually write his letters in two directions:
first in a normal horizontal way as this post is written, but then he
would write over it vertically.
The week's early rehearsals had gone marvelously, he continued,
speaking with occasional help from a translator. The trouble began on
Wednesday during a rehearsal break, when the conductor and his wife
took a stroll around Symphony Hall. They came upon a promotional poster
that gave the week's soloist, the cellist Lynn Harrell, top billing,
both with large print and a photograph. Rozhdestvensky's name appeared
in smaller print as part of the program announcement.
afterward, the conductor came across a copy of the orchestra's season
brochure, a marketing tool designed to entice potential subscribers. He
found a page with the heading "Artists who inspire" and a smaller
section devoted to "Distinguished Conductors." That section, while
including the names of two little-known conductors, did not mention his
name. It appears only in a third section on the page under the heading
"The Cello Shines," in connection with Harrell, this week's cello
Live on Radiotre, Italian listeners have been treated earlier tonight to a live broadcast of the premiere of La Bohéme from Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova. Cristina Gallardo Domâs was supposed to be Mimì, only she fell ill a few hours before the show was supposed to start. Alerted in the late afternoon, young American soprano Elaine Alvarez -- who only fourteen months ago had never sung in a major opera company -- as Cristina's understudy came to the rescue the way she did when Angela Gheorghiu was fired from Chicago's Bohème last year and Elaine A., her understudy, stepped in and made critics swoon.
La Alvarez barged ahead with her trademark warm colors, displaying her blooming powerful soprano and -- judging by the audience's reactions, since we obvs had no visuals -- her knack for raw, emotional acting that made her Chicago Mimi such a treat.
After coming in from the wings to pwn first Gheorghiu, then Gallardo Domâs, we have only a piece of advice to sopranos she'll end up in the same production of Bohéme with: worry.
Audio update: download the first act of last night Bohème by clicking here
"I was trying to read in English, like, (as) exercise for me."
Shakespeare in the original?
original Shakespeare. I hope it was one, because it was a very old book
that my wife have, and she speak perfect English. Yes, because she was
living in London. And this is also part of my little knowledge about