Drama Queens Retain Their Thrones

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Saturday, February 09, 2013

Divas are the stars of opera and the stuff of legend. They are full of tantrums and tears. They are separated from ordinary mortals by a whole tradition of extravagant and occasionally un-team-like behavior. But divas – or drama queens – are what keeps opera interesting.

This week, American mezzo Joyce DiDonato talks to Marilyn Horne about the fun of being a drama queen on stage.  Plus: Washington Post classical music critic Anne Midgette tells us about some real-life drama queens. Below is a special preview.

Anne Midgette's Top Five Off-Stage Drama Queen Moments in Opera Lore:

5. Soprano Angela Gheorghiu works with Georg Solti and refuses to sing portamento
4. Soprano Zinka Milanov disses tenor Kurt Baum during an Aida duet
3. Soprano Jessye Norman says: "this baby don't do no #@&!?! recits"
2. Soprano Kathleen Battle and the limousine driver
1. Two words: Luciano Pavarotti

On February 23, Operavore will be looking at uses of opera in film, in advance of the Academy Awards. Beforehand, we'd like to hear from you: What is your favorite use of opera in film? Take our poll below or leave a comment:

Comments [5]

Alicia Santomauro from New York

Listening to Callas singing is always a magnificent and unique experience, no matter where. But in this particular case the touching and beautiful aria of Andrea Chenier "La Mamma morta" contributed greatly to the pathos in the film.

I believe that it also surprised audiences that have never listened to opera before and they felt transported by such music. It was great to see how popular this aria became.

Feb. 11 2013 02:36 PM
DonQ from Brookfield, CT

How about the Tosca scene from Quantum of Solace?

Feb. 11 2013 09:12 AM
Paul from Brooklyn, NY

Someone seems to have been missing from this edition of Operavore. I was wondering how long that would take.

Feb. 09 2013 01:02 PM
Annamaria and Sergio stefani from New York City

Thanks for eliminating La Cieca!

Feb. 09 2013 01:00 PM

Please, Naomi Lewin, don't talk so much during the Operavore program particularly for interviews such as Marilyn Horne/Joyce DiDonato. We don't need you to tell us what we're going to hear, and then tell us what we heard, and then what we're going to hear after a break. Chopping up an interview is apparently a necessity, but please limit yourself to the absolute minimum necessary to introduce a segment.

Feb. 09 2013 12:59 PM

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