When Elena Glurdjidze, a senior principal dancer with the English
National Ballet, dropped by a Chanel couture salon earlier this month
for a final fitting of a costume Lagerfeld designed for her, she gave
him an impromptu dance from “The Dying Swan.” He filmed it and the
three-minute video, shot in grainy black and white, went live on
I had a pretty clear view of the whole process, Not so very
different from the display of 'cripples', 'freaks' or 'exotic
foreigners' in nineteenth-century spectacles (or from gladiatorial
shows, for that matter), this was another version of mass-market
exploitation of the disadvantaged. How could people -- or a parent --
subject a 10 year old child to that?
So it was with the intention of enjoying some righteous indignation that I switched on.
By the end of the show, I decided I would vote.
Still, ταυρομαχία sounds more fun than that -- Opera Chic would have voted for Mithras.
“But [the opera] is a matter of portraying emotions. And how can we
relate to those emotions if we forget about ourselves? How can we even
pretend that we can ever forget about ourselves? Maybe we wish it,
because then time would disappear, and we would be frozen and never get
old. But even when we sleep and dream, our lives are going on. We never
truly forget about ourselves.”
He's thinking of "Don Giovanni"; Opera Chic would love to see him take a crack at La Clemenza di Tito instead.
This year, though, she's staying home, because as yummy as Demel's Esterhazytorte, as historically informed Tomaselli's coffee is, between the fact that Jommelli's musical talent is not on the same level of Paisiello's absolute genius and that Demofoonte, no disrespect intended, is simply not as engaging as Calandrino's crazy antics, OC chose to sit this edition out.
A few shots from HRH Angela Gheorghiu's appearance at the Colosseo benefit concert, earlier blogged about here. As guest of Andrea Bocelli, the two sang in a benefit concert on May 25 to aid the victims of the Abruzzo earthquake. Click below for another picture...
Hey y'all! It's Anna! Yesterday, the Russian superstar was in Munich (where she's currently banging out Mimi at the Bayerische Staatsoper) to chat about her upcoming concert, Das Klassik Open Air Des Jahres. The open air concert will be held at Munich's Königsplatz on July 10, where she'll be singing in duet with Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Gergiev and his Mariinsky Orchestra.
Though dressed simply in black & tan, Anna brought out her nouveau riche side with a gold Versace purse and a Chopard ladies watch, which also matched her gold laquer manicure.
Click the link below for a couple more pictures...
It is, as we already knew, a very conservative season made essentially of hugely popular titles -- a new Carmen (twice, in December 2009 under Barenboim as season opener and as a reprise in October-November 2010 under Dudamel, directed by newcomer Emma Dante, with Erwin Schrott, Jonas Kaufmann and the baffling choice of absolute beginner Anita Rachvelishvili -- see video above), an old Rigoletto (with the eternal Leo Nucci, and conducted by our dear James Conlon), the already-seen Peter Mussbach production of Don Giovanni (with Erwin Schrott/Peter Mattei), a new Faust (conducted by the young talented Stéphane Deneve, a Opera Chic favorite, and directed by our dear nut Eimuntas Nekrosius, the cast: Giordani/Lungu), Pelly's Elisir (allegedly with Ronaldo Villazon and Netrebko surrogate Nino Machaidze), Ponnelle's old Barbiere (with Juan Diego Florez, Kate Aldrich, Joyce di Donato), a new Boccanegra (directed by Federico Tiezzi, conducted by Barenboim, with Domingo/Carlos Alvarez as Simon, Furlanetto and Anja Harteros). Two Wagners: Tannhauser under Mehta directed by the crazy guys from La Fura, Rheingold (directed by Guy Cassiers, la Scala's Ringmaster) under Barenboim. Only two operas from the 20th Century: a new Lulu conducted by Daniele Gatti and directed by Peter Stein, and Chereau's production of From the House of the Dead, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen (who, bless him, for this Janáček asked and obtained a whopping 7 weeks of rehearsals: with Willard White and Peter Mattei and John Mark Ainsley, and this is the one opera this season that Opera Chic does not want to miss for anything in the world).
(Above: A scene from the new biopic, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky)
Since the Coco Chanel biopic thing has already been milked to death in the past year (Audrey Tautou in "Coco Before Chanel", Shirley MacLaine in the made-for-TV "Coco Chanel"), why not dissect another aspect of the French fashion icon's life? In steps film director Jan Kounen, whose previous films (1997's Doberman and 2004's Blueberry) are filled with gun-toting bank robbers and Wild West violence. He's toned down the angst for his newest film called, "Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky", where the two legends share a brief love affair in 1920s Paris.
Paris 1913. [...] Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is about to be performed. [...] Coco attends the scandalous first performance of The Rite in a chic white dress. The music and ballet are criticized as too modern, too foreign.
Paris 1920, Coco is newly wealthy and successful [...] Igor, following the Russian Revolution is now a penniless refugee living in exile in Paris. Coco is introduced to Igor by Diaghilev, impresario of the Ballets Russes. The attraction between them is instant and electric. Coco invites Igor along with his wife - now sick with consumption - together with his four children and a menagerie of birds to stay at her new villa, Bel Respiro, in Garches.
(Above: A scene from the new biopic, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky)
Music is scored by Gabriel Yared (who won an Oscar for The English Patient and was nominated for The Talented Mr. Ripley and Cold Mountain) and the screenplay is based on Chris Greenhalgh's book, liberally adapted from the hazy historical facts.
The film opens with a recreation of Stravinsky's infamous ~classical riot~ at the Champs Elysées theatre in 1913 for the premiere of The Rite of Spring.
Anna Mouglalis plays Coco Chanel, while Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen gives a tepid performance as Iggie. The film just closed the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, and while early reviews praise the costume & scenery (all in Art Deco style), there is clear lament over the sterility of the actors' performances. In addition to our two main characters, Elena Morozova plays Catherine Stravinsky and Grigori Manoukov plays Sergeï Diaghilev. Let's just pray they don't turn this one into an opera. Written by Rufus.
You just have to click on the link below to see images from the 62nd Cannes screening at Palais De Festivals, and a chance to see Coco & Iggie & Catherine out of costume!
Falstaff, as Tim Page once wrote, memorably, "has the metabolism of a hummingbird". Sir John is the fattest man ever to take flight, effortlessly -- thanks to Verdi's magic musical carpet. And, a bit like Le Nozze di Figaro, even a bad Falstaff is better than no Falstaff at all -- a reason why, hearing of a new production of Verdi's final opera makes Opera Chic just swoon a little, every time. Now it's the turn of the new Glyndebourne Falstaff, directed by Richard Jones, conducted by Vlad Jurowski, with Christopher Purves as the fat man, It's also nice to read that the supercool Adriana Kučerová is part of the cast -- as Nannetta.
Christopher Purves, one of our most versatile singing actors, cleverly
suggests that while the pounds have piled on, this Falstaff will never
abandon keeping up appearances. He’s still light on his feet, he’s still
piss-elegant, he’s still - in his imagination - that lissom pageboy to the
Duke of Norfolk. And, yes, he still believes he’s sexy enough to carry off
the Safari Suit and shorts even when the mirror should have told him
In the history of cinematic cool, few images can beat Gerard Philipe's sad eyed lover in Devil in the Flesh -- a rebel without a cause when James Dean was still playing basketball (and being mentored by a paedophile pastor) in Fairmount High School, Indiana. Remaking the Autant-Lara masterpiece without Gerard Philipe is a bit like remaking Casablanca without Bogart; and even worse,the director chosen for the project is, of all people, Gérard Corbiau -- the Belgian who made the 1994 film Farinelli about the famous Italian castrato. Corbiau is therefore taking a crack at turning Raymond Radiguet's 1923 novel Le Diable Au Corps into a filmed opera,this time.
Fay Weldon (ummm?) is writing both the libretto and screenplay, and the music has been
composed by Alain Jomy.
The leads haven't yet been designated, but the main character's parents will be sung by José van Dam and Frederica von Stade.
Last night at Teatro dell'Opera di Roma the heavy-hitters (?) of Rome's social set trussed up their sagging bits, aired-out their wardrobes, injected some fillers, and headed for the theater to fete Franco Zeffirelli's production of Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. To Rome's distinctive crowds, Maestro Gianluigi Gelmetti was on the podium, Myrtò Papatanasiu sang as Nedda, and Stuart Neill as Canio.
Dagospia was there (photos by the awesome Umberto Pizzi, Italian heir to Diane Arbus), and caught the madness. In addition to Frengo, Nicoletta Mantovani made an appearnce, as did Carla Fracci and her director/choreographer hubby Beppe Menegatti.
(Above: Ain't no party till designer Renato Balestra shows up!)
(Above: Marisa and Mario Stirpe)
If you dare keep perusing the pictures, click on the link below!
In one part of downtown Milan last night, people were falling out of their seats and tearing out their hair in utter boredom. And we're not talking about a lecture on Biochemistry Engineering at Università Bocconi. Rather, we're talking about Teatro alla Scala's open rehearsal of Ildebrando Pizzetti's Assassinio nella Cattedrale (it opens this coming Friday, and OC heard that it was an absolute snooze-fest). As an antidote, there was something rather unique happening just a few blocks away at Milan's Conservatorio G. Verdi, as Società del Quartetto presented a concert version of F.J. Haydn's burletta per musica, L'infedeltà delusa, an endearing & quick opera-lite in two acts for 5 soloists and a small orchestra.
OC chose wisely the latter of the two events, and can report an evening of much needed Haydn opera love.
Haydn's rather obscure opera -- scored to Marco Coltellini's libretto for the Eszterházy court where Haydn was biding his time as composer, and whose royal family, namesake of the tasty dessert, the work was written for -- was premiered in July 1773 and was only heard on three occasions during Haydn's lifetime. It was written for a party in the royal Eszterházy palace to honor the saint day of the princess Maria Anna Luisa, widow of Paul II Anton.
While the recitative is full of snappy, witty retorts, the arias instead are sumptuous, descriptive, gorgeously harmonic, and gallop the plot throughout Haydn's theatrical narrative. This is the inception of opera buffa and undoubtedly paved the way for the later genre, and the framework of Rossini's patented convergences.
There's a harmonic purity throughout the opera, scored in a major key
(with just one aria in a minor key). The arias are well-distributed (with
the exception of Vespina's) between the five singers, and the opera is an
absolutely fluid, organic work where the language of the music forms
the traditional narrative we're already accustomed to in Italian opera
Clicky the linky to read the review and to see cast photos!