Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Drama Drop-

#1- What do you do when you're a world renowned opera star in the later days of your career and you've basically fallen off the radar without actually "announcing" your retirement? Well... you stage a comeback to announce your retirement, of course.

For 40 years, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa [L.] has sung in front of opera audiences around the world. In 1981 she was heard by 600 million people when she sang at the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. Now, after not having appeared on the operatic stage since Vanessa at LA Opera in 2004, she is coming back to take a few turns as Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier at Germany's Cologne Opera. After that, she will appear at the MET as the Duchess of Krakenthorpas in La Fille du Regiment. You'll remember that the Duchess is a spoken role, but Te Kanawa says she will surprise her audiences by singing some.

Although she complains that the operatic discipline is “exhausting”, she says she never retired. According to an article in the Telegraph Dame Kiri says: "The press retired me ... I have not been singing opera very much but I still sing a lot of concerts." She goes on to say, "I’m extremely busy with all sorts of things." Much of her time as of late is dedicated to training what she calls the “future stars of opera”, through the Solti Academy and her Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation.

#2- In the last Drama Drop, I spoke about Anna Netrebko's cancellation of her La Traviata contract at the MET. In addition, I sort of dropped a little idea: I feel there to be a competition between La Netrebko [R.] and a certain Angela Gheorghiu [bottom L.] over who is the "new" Maria Callas. As you can see, both have been photographed in extremely retro styles that harken back to certain iconic pictures of Callas.

Well, not to be topped by La Netrebko's "Callas-like" cancellation ("I do not do routine"), Gheorghiu has announced, with deep regret of course, that she has to withdraw from the first 6 performances of the MET's Carmen for "personal reasons". Let's not forget that Callas refused to sing Carmen, also due to personal reasons - which were actually steeped in vanity. Callas didn't want to show off her "cankles" during the gypsy dance.

It would seem that Gheorghiu's personal reasons have less to do with vanity and more to do with a certain Mr. Angela Gheorghiu (tenor Roberto Alagna) who was to sing the same six performances as Don Jose? The only performances that Gheorghiu has remained committed to, are the performances which star Jonas Kaufmann as Don Jose. Take from it what you will.

#3- Also posted here previously was a bit about the Emmy revamp. Due to slumping ratings, producers were going to give the production a little nip-tuck. Mainly, they had planned to prerecord and edit the presentation of eight awards to allow for more time to celebrate shows that are popular with the public but which might not have been nominated. “We’re going to try and connect the show more to the big picture of television,” Don Mischer, the executive producer of the Emmy telecast, told a meeting of the Television Critics Association.

John Schaffner, the president of The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, said he believed the change would be “quite fun” for those in the prerecorded categories. “Not only do they get to go up onstage and win,” he said, “then later in the evening they can sit in the audience and watch themselves win again.” In a word: ridiculous.

Well, the television academy and the producers of the show have all done an about-face saying it would present all 28 awards during its live broadcast on CBS on Sept. 20. Because, again, who in their right mind would want to watch a star... watch themselves... win an award that they just won earlier that evening?

I'd like to thank the Academy....

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