Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|La Gran Scena - Opera Company di New York|
Actor: Ira Siff
Genres: Comedy, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
The funniest take on opera since Spike Jones and PDQ Bach
R. C. Walker | Encinitas CA, United States | 11/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OK, picture this: 6 people, 5 in diva outfits and 1 in true Brunhilde get-up, come onstage and belt out the Ride of the Valkyries. The catch is that these hammy but real sopranos are men. Yes, it happens.
Those who hold opera irredeemably sacred will need to run. Now. Good; now those of us not stuck in the mud can sit back and enjoy. ((Boy! Talk about mixed metaphors!))
La Gran Scena, as might be surmised, is an opera company composed entirely of male singers. Its emphasis is of course upon the fact that most of them are natural male sopranos and the fact that opera is such a wonderful target for parody. This is the company's 1985 performance in Munich., along with some welcome extras.
After the Valkyries comes the performance of an aria from Handel's Semele. The performance is actually very good, with a few subtle deliberate gaffes thrown in. However, the subtext of glance and gesture is another matter. Watch Emily Post-Morddem as Iris. By the way, all of this is presided over with commentary by hostess, the retired diva Sylvia Bills wearing a retired Traviata costume. Most viewers may tire of Ms. Bills' delivery after a time, but mostly he's genuinely funny.
This is followed by a performance of a duet from La Boheme, featuring the world's oldest diva, Tonnoziti Casseruole (then 105). After that, the evening's first psycho-sexual treat, the Mad Scene from Lucia de Lammermoor, starring Mme. Galupe-Borszkh. You know you're in for a treat when she comes out carrying a knife and ... well, anyway it's all downhill from there and hilarious.
The intermission is followed by an extensive bit from Act I of Carmen (mostly the Seguidilla) with Philene Wannelle in the title role, Luis Russinyol as Don Jose, and a chorus of 4. Mme. Wannelle makes a wonderfully hammy Carmen and the whole performance is definitely designed for Easter or breakfast.
Last (but not least) (gad, I love literary originality) is the second psychosexual treat, Act IV of La Traviata with Galupe-Borszkh again in the title role. (Mme. Bills tells us it's Act III, but as everyone knows, divas can't count.) This is not only Easter and breakfast, it's leftovers for sandwiches. Such passion! Such sorrow!! Such kitsch!!! Handcuffs?? Watch Emily Post-Morddem as Annina.
Other videos of La Gran Scena exist, according to their web site, but I've not seen any of them nor encountered any for sale outside the site. Price is $50, 3 for $100 -- why 6 for $200 is billed as a special deal I can't fathom. If any of the other tapes is the equal of this one, it's a bargain. There's considerable overlap of contents, however (different performances on different dates, though).
Not suitable for children of any age: they wouldn't understand. There are no special effects, so I rated the special effects really high. For opera, where people usually just stand there and sing, there's abundant action. Don't watch this video alone: it's lots more fun with friends -- especially if one of them is (a) unsuspecting and (b) a dedicated opera-is-sacred buff."
R. Keith Wilkinson | Rehoboth Beach, DE United States | 10/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a fan of La Gran Scena for several years and was very happy to find this excellent video recording."