October 16, 1998 |
What's it take to be a diva nowadays? Webster's defines a diva as the leading female singer in an opera or concert organization, and suggests she is often a "prima donna," plagued with a difficult temper. For decades, the tempestuous Maria Callas was synonomous with the term. Today, we're more accustomed to hearing the word applied to a pop superstar - someone with a high-powered voice, personality-plus and (hopefully) a unique take on the world. And yeah, a diva also enjoys a huge claque of devotees, many of whom could be convinced to follow her off a cliff.
August 30, 2001
JUDGING by Janet Jackson's cancellation of her First Union Center concert last night due to "flu," the answer is: HARDLY!
August 12, 1988 |
Diva offers flashy, winning and totally unpredictable proof that a French connection can exist between the opera stage and the underworld. Part police thriller, part offbeat love story - between a diva (Wilhelmenia Fernandez) and a smitten postal worker - it keeps the viewer off balance with its dash and many surprises. Diva is a tale of two tapes. One records the voice of a prima donna and the other the last words of a murdered prostitute that could incriminate various powerful figures.
December 23, 2001 |
Though much of the entertainment world feverishly aspires to divadom, Betty Buckley, one of a handful of pop singers who command a large concert hall with voice, presence and talent, finds that it's a distinctly annoying pedestal on which to be placed. Onstage, she fears that audiences will expect some variation on her Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard. If so, they'll miss some of the more varied and subtle things she's out to do. "The [diva] expectation involves a level of showmanship and glitz," she said.
October 22, 1999 |
On getting past the flak: "I'd like to set up a brief phone interview with Bette Midler. Tomorrow OK?" "Sorry, she's got two already. Bette only does two a day. " "Next day?" "Next day she's got a show. Bette never talks on days she sings. " "Next?" "Weekend. " "Monday? I only need 15 minutes. " "I can get you 10. " For which, of course, she's 20 minutes late. Some divas are born to it. Midler's first album, 1973's The Divine Miss M (Atlantic)
October 29, 2008
GOV. SARAH PALIN a diva? That's what an adviser for Sen. John McCain called her. Since my eyes are still rolling because of those wildly misleading comments she made this past Monday about how Sen. Barack Obama would not only "raise taxes" but also "punish hard work," I would have let this decidedly sexist diss pass. (For the record, Obama is proposing to raise taxes only on those who make more than $250,000. That's just 5 percent of the country. So, Joe the Plumber, who makes far less, has nothing to fear.
January 11, 2008 |
A light-headed, fleet-footed French caper, Jean-Jacques Beineix's ultra-stylish Diva stormed the art houses when it was released in 1982, and it's still a lot of fun now - though its hip patina feels more quaint these days than cool. A neo-Hitchcockian bouillabaisse about a young Paris postal worker (Fr?d?ric Andr?i) who is obsessed with a beautiful opera star (Philadelphia's Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez), secretly records her concert, and then finds his tape mixed up with a prostitute's cassette exposing an international crime ring, Diva has beautiful women, sinister mobsters, crooked cops, and a great chase scene up, down and through the Paris Metro.
February 16, 1992 |
Sopranos long to sing the courtesan Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata. She is opera's most touching and tempestuous heroine. The singers will also tell you, though, that the character may be the all-time toughest to perform, because of a long, difficult first-act aria. "Callas never thought she solved it," says Nelly Miricioiu, Romanian soprano, who, like La Divina, the late Maria Callas, has performed the role countless times, and adores it. Miricioiu will sing Violetta again in the Opera Company of Philadelphia production that opens tomorrow at the Academy of Music and runs Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.
December 5, 2003 |
My guess is that the drag comedy Girls Will Be Girls, a tale of Hollywood bottom feeders, was originally titled All About Evie. Like a certain Bette Davis classic, the story revolves around an aging Queen Bee who has lost her stinger but not her sting. She's named Evie (Jack Plotnick), was once the star of grade-Z movies such as Asteroid!, and is shamelessly courted by an ingenue, Varla (Jeffery Roberson), who wants her career - and probably her Bob Mackie minidresses, too. Intermittently amusing, the film (written and directed by Richard Day)
October 31, 1993 |
OK, hold onto your seats. Or, better yet, get ahold of a seat. Beverly Sills is coming to dinner. Sills, the longtime diva who is general director of the New York City Opera, will be here Wednesday to launch Cherry Hill's latest cultural event. She'll be the first speaker for the Star Forum, a subscription-only series that will also feature New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and, later in the season, the Capitol Steps. But first things first. Like dinner. Before Sills takes the stage, she'll be sitting down to supper with Bette and Bill Tomar of Cherry Hill.