We're huge fans of Cincinnati, that most musical of cities -- the Orchestra that introduced Mahler 3rd and 5th to the American public, the orchestra once led by Thomas Schippers, that American genius, and frankly, we just like to say "Järvi" a lot.
OC also loves the Cincinnati Opera, with their clever performance descriptions (Gounod’s Faust is commodified as "devilishly good" = teh loals), their endearing opera-centric events (Opera Dogs = kawaii), and the tremendously baffling -- but awesome -- contact sheets for PR shots. We also have the highest respect for Opera Chic readers that come to us from the Greater Cincinnati home base, not to mention the lovely, endless comedy fodder when it comes to the craptastic legacy of the Cincinnati Reds and Mark Twain’s couched barbs. And we will always have a soft spot for the ambitious programs of the Cincinnati Opera, especially regarding a recent fundraiser...
On Thursday, June 14, an opening night cocktail, gala dinner and auction was organized by the Cincinnati Opera in celebration of this year’s 87th Summer Festival, followed by la prima of Charles Gounod's Faust. (and btw fyi memo to Gelb: We heard that Ruth Ann Swenson has been rawking the house with her performance of Marguerite, bravely appearing in the final act in her post-chemo, shorn hair sans wig.)
But the part that makes OC squeal in delight?: an auctioning-off of everyone’s favorite shirtless baritone, "that big lumberjack of a sek-say baritone," Teddy Tahu Rhodes (although lately he seems to be in a tie with Erwin Schrott’s London Don Giovanni among opera's h0rniest gourmets of sexy select cuts, we still think Teddy has an edge -- I mean those abs are just inhuman, and he also dripped oceans of testosterone all over the stage with his Streetcar performances, making it difficult for the other performers to negotiate that messed-up-floor).
At $100 per person, Artistic Director Evans Mirageas held the auction block mast at full attention. With items ranging from a Christian Dior makeover (which fetched $450) to a Tiffany & Co. pearl necklace (fetching $1,150), from a Kentucky Maker's Mark Distillery tour (a sweet, drunken $850) to a random supernumerary role for next season (a cool $750), there was only one item that made us giddy: While Mirageas himself fetched two winning bids of $2,500 with the promise of a home-cooked meal of his own design, the *real* winning bid of the evening (not in monetary value, but in super h0tt, pulsing, invisible currency) was a $1,400 dinner TBA with Teddy Tahu Rhodes at a restaurant PhoParis, described as “French cuisine with a Vietnamese accent”. More like "New Zealand home slice with a hotornot.com rating of 10." Or "10+++AAA would do dinner again!"
We haven’t heard yet if he is required to dine shirtless or not, but we’re guessing not, since the bidding would have gone up to like 100 million dollars if that was the actual stipulation.