And now on a lighter note…
This is going to be a blog about the wonderful website/blog, not known to everybody, Parterre Box. It is the celebrated, naughty, bitchy, opinioned and FUNNY queer opera zine.
Based in New York, it mainly writes about the Opera Scene there, full of scandalous news and gossipy tit-bits about opera life in the Big Apple. But it is also a treasure trove of interviews, reviews and an extensive library of truly extraordinary live recordings.
It started life in 1993, under the editorship of La Cieca (aka James Jordan) and was initially only available in print form. Eventually, of course, the internet and modern life caught up with it, and it is now available entirely on line.
Fortunately, all the print issues, 48 of them, can still be found in their archive. The first issue contained, among other things, an interview with Thomas Hampson and an article entitled Cavalleria Suburbiana.
Over the years other topics included the Kathy Battle scandal, Patti Lupone as Callas, Catfights at the Met, Interviews with Gwyneth Jones, Renee Flemming, David Daniels etc. further contributions from regular contributors Dawn Fatale, Fils de Brahma and Gertie Dammerung… you get the picture!
The other, invaluable section is called “Unnatural Acts of Opera”. This is an archive of some truly remarkable live recordings dating back to the 50s. A real treasure trove of wonders, it contains things such as a Forza del Destino with Milanov and del Monaco, Adriana Lecouvreur with Olivero, Corelli and Simionato, Lulu with Silja conducted by Böhm, Grace Bumbry singing scenes from Salome and Elektra, a Rosenkavlier with Novotna, Reining and Gueden, Tito Gobbi as Don Giovanni, a Trovatore with Leontyne Price, Corelli, Simionato, Bastianini under Karajan, the first ever podcast of the Ring, entitled Podderdammerung! And so on, and so on, and so on.
Please do visit this wonderful site. It’s not for the faint-hearted or those who are easily offended, but if you after real in-depth knowledge of opera served up with a bit of spice and bite, then this is the site for you.