Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Soprano saves the day

Out There

Soprano Melody Moore takes her bow to grateful ovations at opening night of San Francisco Opera's Tosca. (Photo: Kristen Loken/San Francisco Opera)
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What a wild ride at the opera it was last Thursday for the opening night of San Francisco Opera's Tosca. After a first act with renowned diva Angela Gheorghiu in the title role, SFO General Director David Gockley announced from the stage that La Gheorghiu had become stricken with intestinal flu (TMI!) and was being rushed to the hospital. Her cover Melody Moore would step in for her, in her very first time essaying the role, to complete the performance. Of such drama are operatic legends made.

Out There's week was full of such operatic occasions. The culinary highlight was definitely a media luncheon held at the elegant restaurant Spruce, at which vintners Paula Brooks and Bob Cook and winemaker Andy Erickson presented their complex and soulful Mad Hatter Napa Valley Red 2009 and Dancing Hares Vineyard 2009, wines crafted in the style of right-bank Bordeaux. They discussed their approach and philosophy in winemaking and blending varietals. The fruit of their grapes washed down a menu of Cinderella pumpkin soup, bavette steak with turnips, radishes, foraged mushrooms and oxalis, artisan cheeses, and chocolate devil's food cake with carmelia mousse and cocoa nibs. Urp.


T party

Sundance Channel revealed its scripted development slate for 2013-14 earlier this month, five new dramas including projects from Robert Redford, Steve Buscemi , Stanley Tucci, Wren Arthur, Ira Glass, Dan Futterman and Anya Epstein . Among the series in development is T, described as "a deeply personal look at Terrence, a transgender male who has recently undergone gender reassignment surgery and is beginning to live life as a man. The series cuts between Terrence's emotional struggle in the present and his past as Thora, a lesbian activist at Mt. Holyoke College circa 2005 struggling to find her true self." The writers are Epstein (In Treatment) and Futterman (In Treatment, Capote), the producers, Glass & Alissa Shipp (This American Life ), high-wattage names all.

Bully pulpit: Stars of Broadway hit musicals including Kinky Boots, Wicked, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Ghost The Musical will gather for Broadway Against Bullying, a one-night-only holiday cabaret benefiting No Bully and their efforts to bring solutions to bullying and harassment in schools, on Mon., Dec. 3, 7 p.m. at Club Fugazi. Performers will include Nick Adams , Annaleigh Ashford , Ellyn Marie Marsh , Billy Porter, Tory Ross and Constantine Rousouli. Tickets ($50, $100: reserved seats, post-performance reception with cast): call (415) 421-4222 or go to


Fall into the app

We were most interested to read the press release about a new app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, an evolved e-book format for a novel we'd enjoyed, History of a Pleasure Seeker, Vol. 1 by Richard Mason. With the app, readers can "step between hearing and reading at will, by tapping any paragraph to hear Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens read to them; hear the characters sing and play the music of Chopin , Bizet, Bach, Mozart and Puccini as they seduce each other; tap page illustrations to open windows into scenes of Amsterdam and New York in the early 20th century; learn about the story's historical context from essays on the banking panic of 1907, the history of Holland and Amsterdam, and the pleasures of the Belle Epoque; make notes in the eLume which can be shared on Facebook or Twitter; ask the author questions about the creation of the book and app, and watch as he answers them; and share opinions with friends via e-mail, Twitter or Facebook."

Well goodness, with all that, who has time to actually read the book?

Finally, here's the anecdote to go along with the DVD review of Johnny Guitar in this week's issue. Joan Crawford rued making the movie and shooting at Republic Studios. She said about her poodle, "He loved it when I worked at the glamorous studios, like MGM and Warners. He nibbled on the carpet at Republic, and got sick."


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