Who was the most tempestuous diva of all? And where would grand opera be without coloraturas who erupt? After all, the diva radiates excitement, spreads magnetism, and creates argument…
Solo curtain calls have given managers more headaches than almost anything else. They are verboten at the Metropolitan, but the fans get around the taboo by applauding their star’s first entrance, often at a very unsuitable moment, ignoring the program note that states “the audience is respectfully, but urgently, requested not to interrupt the music with applause.” What is known in Met history as the Great Curtain Call Clash happened one night in the 1920″s when Maria Jeritza and Beniamino Gigli were trying to steal each other’s curtain calls. At last Mme Jeritza lost her patience and behind the curtain kicked Gigli in the shinbone, whereupon the chivalrous tenor slapped the diva’s face. Mme Jeritza went out crying and confided to the audience, “Mr. Gigli has not been nice to me,” which was the understatement of the evening.
As is known, all prima donnas have a healthy predilection for money, the squeaky wheel gets the oil routine. Hector Berlioz once calculated that a tenor who appeared seven times per month and made about 100,000 francs per year, was being paid at about the rate of one franc per syllable.
It is easy to make light of the prima donna, but behind the flash and star power is perfectionist quest and a profound engagement with the art:
(see link at end)…I am naturally active. Yet in a season of fifteen weeks I have set foot upon the street for a short walk just once. The chief part of the time it was driving from my residence to the opera house for rehearsal or performance and back again to my residence for study or rest.
Society? How fond I should be of it if I could enjoy its entertainments with a free mind! But the functions I feel I can attend during a season without fear that my so doing will interfere with my obligations as an artist, you can count on fewer fingers than those of one hand. I had an opera box at my disposal. I doubt if I occupied it more than three or four times in fifteen weeks….
…Some people think a prima donna has a chance to rest in her dressing-room between the acts. Let me dispel that illusion. When I sing Valentine in “Les Huguenots,” I do not appear until the second act, but in order to have time to dress and to “warm up” my voice, I am at the opera house at seven o’clock. As for rest between the actsthe Valentine costumes are elaborate, and all my time. when not on the stage, is occupied in dressing. For Donna Anna in “Don Giovanni,” I get to the opera house by half past six, for I am obliged to be on the stage soon after the raising of the curtain. As soon as my first scene is over I hasten to my dressing-room and hurry into the black costume which I wear later in the same act.Read More:http://music.yodelout.com/opera-and-thsk-of-the-prima-donna/
(see link at end)…Angela Gheorghiu
Without a doubt, Angela Gheorghiu (1965- ) has one of the most beautiful voices in the world. Her rich soprano is as soft as velvet and has lovely dark colorings. However, Gheorghiu also has one of the most difficult personalities the opera world has ever known. Her notorious diva behavior has earned her the unenviable nickname “Draculette”.
Gheorghiu is notorious for missing rehearsals and often insists on having new costumes for revival productions. She is constantly getting into arguments with conductors, directors, and other opera bigwigs. In fact, she has been dismissed for “unprofessional behavior” from both the Metropolitan Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago.Read More:http://voices.yahoo.com/5-most-notoriously-difficult-divas-history-6186682.html