Archive for the ‘la traviata’ Tag

Giddy With #OperaPlot Nods & Early Booty

Wow, the pleasing aftershocks of #OperaPlot have proven to be just as fun as the contest itself. Here’s my latest happy news!

Short Lists & Nods


#OperaPlotter extraordinaire, and former winner muzicbizkids posted Highlight Reel, featuring his favorite “top 3%” on his blog ambling with i am. Two of my entries were included:

Her name was Violet, she was a call girl. With camélias in her hair & consumption in the air. At the AH-PRAH! Don’t fall in love!
[La Traviata]

My head says Turandon’t! But my heart says Turando! [Turandot]

Then, musicvstheater posted How to write an #operaplot, on his blog Music vs. Theater. It’s a fascinating “semi-scholarly taxonomy” of entry trends and categories. My above “Copacabana” Traviata entry was included under “The Lyrics.” I jokingly told him that I’m really a dramatic coloratura trapped in a lyric’s body.

MMmusing has created a genius audio version of my winning entry, using text2speech.org. Thanks MM!!!

Premature Booty & Glory


It only gets better!

Next, blogger opera-toonity announced her top 4 results from the #OperaPlot Don Giovanni entries. I was thrilled to discover that my Right Said Fred entry received 2nd Place:

I’m too sexy for amor—too sexy for Seville. I’m a charmer—I shake my lil tush on the piazza. I’m too sexy for this opera. *burns*

Finally, I fell off my chair when Decca sprang a surprise on the eager proceedings, and offered 5 early, unexpected prizes. My “Copacabana” entry landed Best Pop Culture Reference,” and a copy of Jonas Kaufmann’s latest CD (Thanks Decca and Miss Mussel)! Just a CD, you ask? Well, it’s more about the glory and pleasure of winning than the prize itself. ;-) Boy, I’m going to owe a lot to Barry Manilow for this!

Or, perhaps being chauffeur for 3 different Violetta’s, including Anna Netrebko in SF Opera’s Traviata last season rubbed off on me? What a wonderful way to start my 40th birthday festivities! The fun of it all was alone worth the participation, but I’m no closet competitor, so this has me positively giddy. It looks like pop references might just be my calling card.

[UPDATE: Jonas has spoken! His picks have been announced. Congrats to all the winners! No more glory for me...but I'm not complainin'. Til next time!]

jcm’s Best of #OperaPlot

In attempting to peruse all 907 entries of #OperaPlot, I realized that there are so many great ones, taking so many diverse approaches that the result is and will be HIGHLY subjective. Honestly, there are probably 20-30 deserving tweets. But, it will all come down to Jonas’ particular funny bones ;-)

Well, as far as my own take, these are the best of those that were posted by midday today on T.O.M.! Hopefully, at least a few of these (and my own!) will make the prize list. My top favs by “chickenfeet2003″ and “patty_oboe” are proof that simple can be better. Also, interestingly, very few bel canto operas were tackled…perhaps proof that they are indeed all about the beautiful singing.

The Best of Other’s OperaPlots


villa_lobos Be vewy qwiet, I’m hunting wabbits – Oh Bwunhilde, you’w so wuvwy – stwike da wabbit! [dead] What do you expect, a happy ending? [Die Walküre]

chickenfeet2003
Batter my ears three noted score [Dr. Atomic]
Witch son was that? [Il Trovatore]
Hunchback ticks off boss. Get’s the sack. [Rigoletto]

Patty Oboe She dances just to get a head. [Salome]

musicvstheater Ego Rex,yo! With my mad flow. Tiresias be hatin on my bling tho. Cuz I’m the king, aint no other. Is my ho fly? Word to my mother! [Oedipus Rex] (This entry was accompanied by an amazing rap audio track!)

pschleuse Though cigarettes can be a killer, they’re nothing to a Seguidiller. As Don Jose’s been known to quip, love can really be a gyp. [Carmen]

devoncestes Cougar on the prowl, her cousin shows up. Random Italian Tenor. A silver rose later, prey finds a girl his own age. Time flies. [Der Rosenkavalier]

Bonnie Situation Alb. makes a ring, Loge & Wotan plan a sting. Erda: give up the bling! Fafner: Ka-ching! [Das Rheingold]

DrGeoduck Their relationship was doomed from the beginning. Elsa wanted a champion, but he preferred swanning about. [Lohengrin]

musicbizkid WhenCleverDalilaFinesses/MightySamson,HeDumblyConfesses/
SourceOfHisStrength/IsInHisCoiffure’sLength/&DameColdlyHacksOffHisTresses [Samson & Dalila]

gtheule Cigarettes are unwise and bullfighting is nuts, but a mezzo has them beat for crazy any day of the week. [Carmen]

Sam Neuman The Princess is double-parked, so she has to be succinct: kid’s dead, sister’s engaged, love the habit, sign here, kthxbye. [Suor Angelica]


My Five Best


“Ice Ice Baby” [Jenufa]

My head says Turandon’t! But my heart says Turando! [Turandot]

I’m too sexy for amor—too sexy for Seville. I’m a charmer—I shake my lil tush on the piazza. I’m too sexy for this opera. *burns* [Don Giovanni]

Her name was Violet, she was a call girl. With camélias in her hair & consumption in the air. At the AH-PRAH! Don’t fall in love! [La Traviata]

TwoMenWageToProveWomenFickle/LandingThemInQuiteAPickle/
AsAlbaniansTheyKnew/BothSistersThey’dWoo/AudiencesAgelessHijinksDothTickle. [Così fan tutte]

The 2010 #OperaPlot Twitter Contest Begins!

Today, The Omniscient Mussel launches her second annual “OperaPlot” contest. The goal? To synopsize any opera in 140 characters (including the hashtag #operaplot), and post up to 25 on twitter.com, before midnight EST, friday, April 30th. Anyone can enter, so hit her with your best shots!

T.O.M. scored a major coup, landing the biggest hunken-tenor on the intl. scene Jonas Kaufmann as arbiter! It was tempting to tailor my entries to his repertoire (ie: Werther, Tosca, Die Walküre, etc.), but I maintained my integrity! My entries milk song lyric adaptations, current mainstream celebrity fixations, whimsical text icons, and my love for the melodramatic side of the art form.

(Photo by Johannes Ifkopvits, 2006)

Follow all submissions here. Here are the Rules and FAQs, the 2010 Prize Pool, and the 2009 Winners & Prizes.

My First 12 Entries


I’m too sexy for amor—too sexy for Seville. I’m a charmer—I shake my lil tush on the piazza. I’m too sexy for this opera. *burns* [Don Giovanni]

Her name was Violet, she was a call girl. With camélias in her hair & consumption in the air. At the AH-PRAH! Don’t fall in love! [La Traviata]

Irish ♀ + Breton ♂ x ♪ leitmotifs in ♠s = ♥ death [Tristan und Isolde]

(Inappropriate for Children) “Je-rry! Je-rry!” A chick with a *BLEEP*. Commercial break. Satan/Jesus fued *BLEEP*! Final Thought. [Jerry Springer: The Opera]

All that stands between Turandot and her man: a millennia-old feminist grudge, “Hope, Blood, Turandot,” slave girl and frigidity. [Turandot]

The primacy of words or music? Inseparable! A poet or composer’s heart, and whose operatic ending? Hmm…what’s a Countess to do? [Capriccio]

Shadow chasing ensues, proving Her Heart Belongs (nicht) To Daddy, but to hubby. Next up: “Empress & Kaiser Plus 8″ or Octomom? [Die Frau ohne Schatten]

3 protagonists enter. 3 cries of “Turandot.” 3 gongs. 3 riddles. 3 correct answers. 3 ministers lament. 3 “Vinceròs!” 3 Acts end. [Turandot]

1) Death by strangulation on a barge on the Seine in Paris, 2) by poison in a convent near Siena, 3) and by old age in Florence. [Il Trittico]

The Don’s Hectic Calendar: Seduce. Rape. Duel. Kill. Flirt. Lure. Flee. Regroup. Accuse. Swap. Fool. Invite. Revel. Refuse. BURN! [Don Giovanni]

The Empress needs what the mortal woman has, decides she doesn’t want it badly enough, but gets it anyway. Typical daddy’s girl! [Die Frau ohne Schatten]

“Questo è il fin di chi fa mal!” So, don’t seduce, rape, accuse, fool, desert, lure, beat, or kill, lest you be dragged to hell! [Don Giovanni]

Perhaps I’ll be inspired to generate a second phase of entries! This is VERY addictive, and I wanna win!

Stéphane Lambiel to Debut New Competitive FS

Lambiel Takes On Opera

I was ecstatic when I read the following update from Stéphane Lambiel, regarding his competitive long program.:

“Lambiel says he is….only (interested) in impressing the judges with his new free program set to music from the opera La Traviata.”

(Read the complete article here.)

What an exciting prospect this is…the perfect melding of opera and skating, if done well. The score of Verdi’s opera La Traviata offers a sweeping and contrasting range of emotion, rhythm, tone, and melody: festive to tragic, grand to intimate, loving to vengeful, lilting to mournful. I hope his program music captures that breadth, and that he includes a portion of the atmospheric overture. I believe Europeans next week will be the debut of this program. The only other La Traviata programs I can recall are Cappellini and Lanotte’s FD, from the ’07 season, and Slutskaya’s FS, from ’03.

His comment means he is replacing his previous Tango FS, “Otoño Porteño” by Astor Piazzolla (arr. by Ensamble Nuevo Tango). It was a fine program, but not a real Olympic-stage grabber, and although passionate, too rhythmically monotonous for my taste, and a bit too much more of the same, considering his latin programs of the past. Thankfully, he will be keeping his William Tell Overture SP. It is one of my favorites!

Counting Him Out? Watch Your Back!

It seems most podium predictors thus far are counting him out for medal contention in Vancouver. Although Europeans will be the moment of truth on whether he is in top competitive form or not, he is too great a skater to ever count out.

The “only” in his comment was in regards to meeting Plushenko head-to-head for the first time since the 2006 Torino Olympics. He noted that “he is not interested in their rivalry”. It’s so hard to believe that that much competitive time has passed, and that they’re both back in the game now!

Go Stéphane!!!

Violetta à trois

Netrebko, Pérez & Futral: A Study in Contrasts

Part of the fun of experiencing multiple divas in a single role, particularly in the same production run, is drawing up comparisons. Sometimes the differing quality of an “A” and “B” cast can be seen from a mile away, but in the case of the recent run of La Traviata at the San Francisco Opera, all three Violettas offered equally worthy performances. Anna Netrebko can sell tickets like no other, but the goods delivered by the other divas were not disproportionate. And, can you imagine a more beautiful trio of divas? I can’t.

I enjoyed portions of performances and dress rehearsals (sometimes vocally “marked”), from on-stage, backstage, as well as over the dressing room speakers! Perhaps this is not the most complete, or un-biased manner in which to judge a performance, but is a very broad and diverse one. I had some fun comparing and contrasting this wealth of riches, especially as I don’t imagine this opportunity will come again soon.:

NetrebkoAnna Netrebko:

Voce: Dark and throaty

 

Presence: Brooding and tempestuous

 

Diva comparison: Moffo and Vischnevskaya

 

Libiamo: White Russian (pardon the pun…rich and creamy, but with a kick)
 

Violetta traits: Embodied true glamour, and launched vocal climaxes with a surprisingly spinto-scaled soprano.
 

Best Act: Act III, delivered a deeply felt sense of tragedy

 

 

 

PérezAilyn Pérez:

Voce: Round and buoyant

 

Presence: Vulnerable and feminine

 

Diva comparison: De los Angeles and Scotto

 

“Libiamo”: Cosmo (contemporary and chic)
 

Violetta traits: Created a sympathetic, verismatic characterization, and elicited real pathos. Brought refulgent, unforced tone in the middle voice. Wooed with her bright, expressive eyes.
 

Best Act: Act II, rendered heart-breaking tenderness

 

 

 

FutralElizabeth Futral:

Voce: Bright and flexible

 

Presence: Gamine and lithe

 

Diva comparison: Albanese and Sills

 

“Libiamo”: Champagne (sparkling and light)
 

Violetta traits: Offered free and flirtatious movement, and really worked the entire stage. Hit pin-point accuracy in coloratura, as if played on a keyboard.
 

Best Act: Act I, reigned in “Sempre Libera”, with the lone high E flats in the run (much appreciated, despite being interpolated). Her use of mezza voce were also masterful and well modulated.

 

 

Addio, Addio Violetta!

Here’s one of my favorite photo moments from the run. Sadly, my service to Violetta comes to an end with today’s matinee (tear). Signing-off Violetta…

Me as Chauffeur, with Anna (post-Act I)

Me as Chauffeur, with Anna (post-Act I)

Pinch Me! A Diva Tale

Here’s a neat little side dish to my (jcm’s alter ego Paul’s) current experience as a “Super” in San Francisco Opera’s current production of Verdi’s verismo masterpiece La Traviata. Cindy Warner, a SF Examiner writer included my story of working with/around Anna Netrebko as a part of her review article about opening night. My contribution starts about midway through.:

Anna’s chauffeur talks: Paul Ziller’s super story

Act I, Scene I Entrance: Chauffeur, Violetta, and Doctor Grenvil

Act I, Scene I Entrance: Chauffeur, Violetta, and Doctor Grenvil

What is a Super, you ask? As the official Supernumerary Handbook states, it “is a nonsinging actor (extra)…As a supernumerary volunteer you are a valued member of the Opera Company…”

8 performances, and 2 more Violettas to go…

— “Chauff”

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