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Furs in Opera

Worker 11811

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If there's one place you count on seeing people wearing their furs it's at the opera. But, how often do we see fur IN the opera, on stage?


Well, maybe not that often but if you watch you'll see some.


Check out the Metropolitan Opera's production of Turandot. Samuel Ramey and Marcello Giordani both wear fur in the first act.


Giordani wears a Tibetan Lamb cape over his shoulder with a fur trimmed hat. Ramey wears a long sheepskin coat with fur trim and a fur trimmed hat.


They weren't super great but you also have to consider that these are costumes in a production. They aren't something you'd necessarily wear in public. The furs are a little shabby because the characters are shabby.


If you watch for the upcoming Met Opera production of Simon Boccanegra, you'll see Placido Domingo wearing an ermine trimmed robe.


This one isn't super great either but I think it's nicer than the ones in Turandot.


Tell you what I'd REALLY love to see!


Anna Netrebko in a full length sable!


P.S. - Hit the gallery for more opera pics. I just uploaded five of them.

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If there's one place you count on seeing people wearing their furs it's at the opera.


Cha-Ching! I concur. When you see someone at the opera in full length raccoon and it's above 60 F out, you can be purt durn sure they support both the opera and a local furrier.

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I don't see furs when the temperature gets warm in these parts but when it gets cold, they do come out. I see a few at the movies too.


Whenever I am working I keep an eye out to watch for fur. I get my work done in the projection booth then I hang out by the railing at the top of the stairs leading into the booth. I have a bird's eye view of the entire lobby.


We don't open the balcony for every show. It's only open when the main level gets crowded then we let customers overflow to the balcony. If the balcony is empty, I can hang out at the balcony rail and look down into the audience and see who's there.


If I don't get called to help do anything else, I can hang out until about 10-15 minutes before the show starts. That's when I have to go to the booth and make final checks on my equipment. If something goes wrong at the last minute, I will only have that long to fix it! There's always a window where I don't get to do "fur patrol" before the show starts.


After the show gets rolling, I put my students in charge of the operation. I can go downstairs and check the coat room.

Yes, our coat room DOES accept furs. I'd be peeved if we didn't. I wouldn't get to go check them out if we didn't.

We do have a coat room attendant, full time. Whenever there isn't anybody there, the customer window is shuttered and the doors are locked. (BTW - It's strictly "Look but don't touch!" That's other peoples' property we're talking about!)


It's gotten to the point where I can sometimes tell who is at the show by looking in the coat room to see what furs are there.


It's fun to watch for furs before the show and to see them again when people are leaving but it's always a pleasant surprise to see people actually IN the opera wearing fur.

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The opera is one of the places in this part of the country where I wear fur and often see a few others doing the same. Unfortunately, this year's winter season is dark in January, February, and March ( from an overall average of 12 different operas down to five) due to the sour economy and the expense of putting on Wagner's "Ring". I've never thought of looking for furs on stage, however. Thanx for helping me think "outside the box".

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I don't know what your appetite for opera is. It's kind of odd, though. Once you see one you can get hooked. That's kind of what happened for me.


Now I can also have fun being on "fur patrol" while watching the operas too!


The place where I work shows the Metropolitan Opera HD broadcasts via satellite.

Check it out here: www.metopera.org.


It's actually pretty cool. They broadcast the operas in 1080 resolution via satellite and you can go to a local movie theater and see them on the big screen.

You might think it's kind of lame at first but they really do a good job of it. There are 20 cameras all around the opera house and they put on a professional production. You get close-ups and reverse angle shots just like you expect to see in a movie, etc. They also do back stage interviews with the performers during the intermissions so you are getting to see things on the screen that you wouldn't see if you were at the Met, in person.


Many commercial theaters like AMC, Regal and Cinemark show the Met HD broadcasts right in their theaters. You can buy a ticket and go right in as if you are going to a regular movie. They have Hi-Def digital projectors and it's all hooked up to their surround sound systems.


You probably won't see so many people wearing fur to the movie theaters but there are several independent theaters that show the Met Opera too. I work in one of those independents. On a good, cold day I can count on seeing at least a few furs. If there is an independent theater in your area, I suggest checking them out.



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I never did come across too many furs in places like CBGBs, the Roseland, Hasmmerstain or Bowery Ballrooms when I lived in the New York City area. Guess my tastes in music tend to draw less of a fur wearing crowd!



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  • 1 month later...

More opera! More furs! This time it was both on stage and OFF stage!


I was working in the lobby before today's broadcast of the opera, "The Tales of Hoffmann" when I saw two women in line at the box office wearing furs. The first was a full length mink. The other was a fitch. Both were very nice.


When the weather is cold, furs come out at the opera!


And, on stage wasn't too bad either! Russian opera star, Anna Netrebko, wears a chinchilla trimmed coat in the third act of this opera!

It looked very nice and, during the back stage interview, she made it clear that she liked wearing it!


The interviewer, Deborah Voight, asked Netrebko what was one of her favorite things about playing this part. She said, "I get to wear a chinchilla coat." When Voight joked with her about it being a "fake", Netrebko delightfully insisted that it was real chinchilla.


Yes, folks, Anna Netrebko digs fur!


Here are some pics I just uploaded to the gallery:





Full size versions available therein!

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I saw the Met production of Tales of Hoffman today starting at 10 AM ( LA time - ridiculous hour to go to a four and half hour opera )

Anna was flat out Stunning. I can not even begin to describe how utterly riveting she was.

You could see tears flowing down her exquisite face as she sang her dying aria as Antonia.


She has expunged any other diva singing Antonia from my mind - ever.

My God is she beautiful in furs !


Did you see her second intermission interview she was - Ebullient,Charming ,Wonderful, Engaging and fur advocating ! Telling her interviewer that she loved singing at the met "The Chinchilla is real" she cried and the Prada shoes too !"


I don't know how you got the pictures but MAJOR KUDOs !!!!!



Some of my favorite "Anna in furs" images



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I wonder what donors to the Metropolitan Opera think about their money going to productions that use real fur and authentic chinchilla at that. I don't think many of them have a problem with real fur, but they might have a problem with using really expensive real fur. The Met could have used dyed rabbit and saved a bunch of money.



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Dude! You probably can't get tickets to the "nosebleed" seats at the Met for less than $50! Orchestra and first level balcony seats can go in excess of $300 -$400! This does not include their sponsorships and endowments. They have enough money to buy a brand new sable coat for every production and throw it in the garbage when they are done with it. Trust me, the Met has money! To them, a fur coat doesn't even rise to the level of chattel.


As far as professionalism goes, a company as prestigious as the Met wouldn't be caught DEAD using fake fur in a production unless it was germane to the character or the plot. In which case, fur critics MUST accept fur as part of a professional opera production. Otherwise, the $400+ tickets to that production would be a waste.


I bet 90% of the people who attend performances at the Met don't care about fur, one way or the other. Those who do have a problem with it know to keep their pie holes shut in polite company.


During the shows (satellite broadcasts), at intermission time, the performers give backstage interviews. During this show, Anna Netrebko gave an interview with Deborah Voight. When Voight asked Netrebko what was one of her favorite things about her part in this opera she said, "I [get to wear] real chinchilla coat and real Prada shoes." Voight said, under her breath, as an aside to the camera, "No, it's really a fake chinchilla coat..." Netrebko jumped in and said, "No! It's not!" At which time, Voight turned and "shushed" her. Both of them clearly laughed at the end of the exchange. They were clearly joking the whole time.


If you want proof that Anna Netrebko digs fur, take a look at this picture again:


I wish I could show you the live footage from that scene in the opera! She clearly snuggles the fur and rubs it against her face. Yes, Netrebko is a professional actress but, as an actress, she knows how to make it look like her character digs fur. Add in the kidding around she did with Deborah Voight during her interview and I can tell you it is CERTAIN that she loves fur! We have lots of pictures of Anna Netrebko wearing fur in our gallery. Go check it out!


If you haven't seen a real opera at a world renowned opera company, it is one of the things you should put on your "bucket list!" If you can't get to an opera in person, many companies are broadcasting their shows via satellite so you can view them in your local theaters. The performances are broadcast in "1080" high definition. Plus, the satellite broadcasts have backstage interviews and shots of the crew working behind the scenes during the set changes. Attendees at live performances of Met operas dont' get to see these things.


Tickets are only about $20. A "Met Opera Live in HD" broadcast is well worth seeing!

Even if you're not an opera lover, it's something you should do, at least one time!


Damn! Anna Netrebko is hot as hell! She sings like an angel! To top it off, she loves fur!


Who could ask for more?!

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I have been to see opera performances in person, all at the San Diego Opera in downtown San Diego. These are the operas I've seen, starting in May 2003:


Madama Butterfly


Kátya Kabanová

Don Carlo

Così fan tutte

Simon Boccanegra

La Bohème

Giulio Cesare

Il trovatore

Maria Stuarda


Madama Butterfly (different Cio-cio San)



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I saw several of these operas produced by the Met:


Madama Butterfly = No fur.

Turandot = 2 X fur.

La Boheme = 1 X fur.


Simon Bocanegra is coming up in March. Placido Domingo will wear an ermine trimmed robe in that one.


I can't remember any of the other Met operas from last year that had fur in them except La Boheme.

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As much as I love fur, when it comes to a live opera performance, the quality of the singing is the most important. Sitting through an opera performance with bad singing is excruciating. Sitting through an opera performance with great singing is a heavenly experience.


I'm not one to bad mouth singers, but hearing Richard Leech and Fabiana Bravo wobble their way through "O soave fanciulla" in La Bohème was painful to listen to. San Diego Opera hires some astonishingly mediocre talent.



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Agreed! If the singing and the production is boring there's little that will make it worth sitting through four hours of opera.

(Isn't it odd how people only use the phrase "sat through" when the performance was bad? )


However, a nice fur on stage is always a little ray of sunshine!

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I'm too young to have heard the likes of Birgit Nilsson or Franco Corelli in Turandot in person, but I can enjoy them on recordings.


Imagine sitting at the Met listening to these two gigantic voices in Puccini's last opera!


There are so many great opera singers who are dead or retired that I was born too late to hear live.


I heard Sondra Radvanovsky as Elisabetta in Don Carlo at San Diego Opera in April 2004. The voice was huge and rock steady in her big aria "Tu che le vanità" in the last act. Her tenor, the now deceased Sergei Larin, was sub par. I could not believe my ears when she unleashed the full power of her voice in that aria. It was the largest, unamplified sound I have ever heard from a human throat. Her timbre is a bit strange, but the voice is a major one. I'm excited that Anja Harteros will be singing Mimì in La Bohème this coming January at San Diego Opera. She will be partnered with the excellent Polish tenor Piotr Beczala. Thank goodness Richard Leech won't be singing Rodolfo in this opera. His voice has been shredded by years of singing heavy Puccini roles. The wobble in his voice is now so bad that he really should think about retiring.



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Or he could do like Placido Domingo is doing. He is known as a tenor but, with his role in Simon Bocanegra, will be singing baritone.


First, Domingo started singing baritone but became famous as a tenor. In reality, he is only going back to they way he started. But, second, as he ages his voice changes which makes him more suited for different roles that he would not have played in his younger days.


Maybe singers should retire when their voice changes (or gives out) but they should also consider changing their style.

Too many people just don't think out of the box.

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The thing that separates Domingo and Leech is that Domingo's voice is still in good shape, even though Domingo is around 69 (there has been some debate about Domingo's true birth year in operatic circles), but Leech's voice is in horrible shape, even though Leech is just 52. Domingo took care of his voice. Leech sang out of his Fach, and is now paying the price. If your voice is Beverly Sills size, you cannot expect to sing a heavy role like Gioconda or Brünnhilde for long before your voice is wrecked.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Remember days when it was "the norm" for opera divas to be shown on the record cover -- so often wearing fur? Montserrat Caballe (wonderful voice and such great breath control and phrasing!) was always in mink...

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The DVD documentary Montserrat Caballé: Beyond Music features her in several furs. The footage showing her in furs is very clear, shot near the turn of the new millenium. Only some of the archival footage of her singing is a bit grainy. Yes, her voice is indeed heavenly. I'll take her any day over Renée Fleming, whose voice I find annoyingly sweet and cloying, not to mention all her vocal mannerisms.



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