Introducing: “Vinyl Divas”
I just discovered the most potent porn for any opera, LP, or LP cover design lover or fanatic: Vinyl Divas! If you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting the site, sprint there now. It’s a true well of greatness, an opiate for opera queens. For long-time aficionados, it will take you WAY back…for newbies, it will introduce you to some of THE golden and notorious recordings and singers.
I had so much fun perusing V.D. that I’ve gathered up my favorite covers out of the lot (this isn’t about the recordings themselves), and compiled them for you here. BUT, be sure to visit the site, as this is just the tip of the immense iceberg, and my aim is to honor and spread V.D.! I’ve categorized the covers here differently from the original site. (Click on the thumbnails to view them larger.)
Flawless styling, lighting, composition, depth of field, and Régine in her prime: slam dunk!
Worship at the Altar of Diva
These put us in a sort of trance, through the beauty, allure and irrestistability of the diva. Never have Elisabeth, Edita, or Elena looked more “like buttah.” Leontyne’s art song LP was recorded when she was a young Julliard graduate.
These show a restrained, pure, almost virginal diva in the classical vein. Here, Maria presents herself at her considerable Audrey Hepburn best.
These cast an indelible iconic image, and prove the power of workin’ a sassy or regal pose, and dramatic gown (ala Project Runway Diva).
It’s no surprise that two of these portray characters from Elektra. This unhinged diva is what we miss and crave, in these days of the “diva next door” syndrome.
Perusing the designed covers was a true pleasure, and reminded me a bit of the recent Warhol exhibition at the DeYoung Museum. This mid-century aesthetic is one of my favorites.
Just as a fanatic loves the beauty of opera, they also have a big appetite for the trashy side. These are priceless filth.
Elena seems to be saying: “What’choo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?!”; Vera: “I’ll cut a bitch!“; Rina (yes Beniamino’s daughter): “Daddy made me do it!”.
Eat Your Heart Out Eleanor (Roosevelt)
None of these gals sold records with sex appeal. In fact, they seem to be sellin’ Eleanor’s homely worst.
Fire My Stylist!
These provide some of the best laughs. Who convinced them they looked good? Cristina’s wig, and Helen-Kay’s and Eleanora’s outfits are undeniably tasteless.
The psychedelic ’60s got even the opera world high. June, Anja, and Felicia all “Let the Sunshine In.” Felicia’s autographed inscription reads: “It ain’t Salome.”
Rita flirts with a potted plant in one the most stagey studio shots to ever grace an LP cover, Anna bears her bosom and Cher-braids to woo Athanaël (and buyers), and Montserrat rests on the “Rock of Gibraltar” (I borrow that joke from Vinyl Divas).
These should be titled (from left to right): 1) “Movin’ On Up: Grace Bumbry Does TV Sitcom Theme Songs”; 2) “Anneliese Rothenberger: Songs of Connie Francis, including ‘Where the Boys Are’ and ‘If My Pillow Could Talk'”; 3) “Precious, the Opera, featuring Jessye Norman.”
Looks like Christmas for Renata is winter in Minsk, for Kiri poinsettias are bustin’ out all over, and for Kathleen it’s ALL about gold lamé!