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July 14, 2009

A little more on the Rufus Wainwright opera

La Cieca, the indomitable voice of the entertaining, ever-so-bitchy blog Parterre Box, makes an astute comment about Prima Donna, the first opera by moody-voiced singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright:

A piece like 'Prima Donna' is exactly the sort of thing (or at least one sort of thing) that the New York City Opera ought to be offering. It would sell like crazy, foster the most intense debate both online and in the meat universe, and just generally be scandalous.

That the leading role seems to have ...

'Lauren Flanigan' written on it in letters of fire doesn’t hurt either. Lauren as an insane camp opera singer? That’s what Ethan Mordden calls 'Gable as Rhett casting.'

Given how little (so far) outright bashing from the press Prima Donna has generated, it seems that the piece may well have legs and could certainly be a box office boon in several places. Hmmm. Maybe one of the existing or planned operatic troupes in Baltimore will take the risk. We could use some "intense debate" and scandal.

Posted by Tim Smith at 6:15 PM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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